22 April 2021

Church-Family: the challenges of the dominant culture

The address of Undersecretary Gambino at the 9th specialized course in Church Communication sponsored by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

On 16 April, Gabriella Gambino, Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, gave a lecture at the 9th specialized course in Church Communications, which was held via the platform of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

Taking its inspiration from the “Amoris Laetitia Family Year” open by Pope Francis on the Apostolic Exhortation’s fifth anniversary, her lecture focused on the importance of promoting, through the media, a positive and realistic image of the Christian family. That is, the Christian family should stand out as a proactive and regenerative force within society, even amid the “suffering, fatigue, pain, and limitations” which are part of the human condition.

The family must be at the heart of any projects of development and of the promotion of a pedagogy of solidarity and peace across new generations. “We must learn to think of the family,” she explained, “as the common thread which spans all legal, economic, cultural, and societal questions. If we strengthen the family, if we reinforce the family as a place of stability and trust, then this is conveyed to the children, and the family thereby becomes a place for the generation of hope. Because given the right conditions, it is from within the family that little ones learn about dialogue, respect, looking for the good in people, and forgiveness.”

With this in mind, her reflection focused on two elements which communications should promote in order to foster an effective “family culture”: family stability, which is the necessary condition for the development of a human and Christian sense of identity for each member of the family; and trust, which in family life must be concretely realized in the marital fidelity of the parents. These themes are rarely discussed today—they have become almost taboo—but they reference destabilizing challenges, especially for children and especially in the context of the “culture of the provisional” of which Pope Francis often speaks.

In the context of a cultural fragility which “weakens [...] the stability of personal relationships and distorts family bonds,” “today it is increasingly difficult for love to have a history, for it to become a home for men and women. Yet to love means to give time, even time in terms of giving the duration of one’s whole life [...]. And love’s time is called fidelity, a stable adherence to what has come before so as to truly understand it, to give it ever-new meaning, to allow it to continue to exist.”