With marriage and natural family relationships in decline, Pope Francis invited leaders from different faiths around the world to gather at the Vatican this week. This historical interfaith conference titled, The Complementarity of Man and Woman brought religious leaders from 23 nations, and representing 14 different faiths together to discuss something they all agree on: the natural family.
We hope that this conference will assist religious leaders around the world in strengthening marriages and families everywhere.
These are some of the wonderful things spoken about during the first two days of the conference:
Pope Francis opened the conference calling the family one of the “fundamental pillars that govern a nation.” He urged young people not to “give themselves over to the poisonous mentality of the temporary,” but to “be revolutionaries with the courage to seek true and lasting love, going against the common pattern.”
The Pope declared that:
“Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis.
The crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well, slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic Church. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.”
Discussing the complementarity of man and woman, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, said, “The difference between man and woman [is an] essential element to understand the human being and his journey towards God… The human body, in its sexual difference, is not a chance product of blind evolution or an anonymous determination of elements.”
On Tuesday, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Lord Jonathan Sacks, declared that “the family, man, woman, and child, is not one lifestyle choice among many. It is the best means we have yet discovered for nurturing future generations and enabling children to grow in a matrix of stability and love.”
Henry B. Eyring, from the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said that unselfishness is the key to “complementary marriage between a man and a woman,” and that, “we know what we must do to help create a renaissance of successful marriages and family life.”
“We must find ways to lead people to a faith that they can replace their natural self-interest with deep and lasting feelings of charity and benevolence. With that change, and only then, will people be able to make the hourly unselfish sacrifices necessary for a happy marriage and family life.”