At the same time, the Pope encouraged this pro-life and pro-family mobilization endeavor, which, in Italy, embraces 36 organizations and 20 regional committees, representing millions of families.
"Unfortunately, attacks on marriage and the family are every day stronger and more radical, both from the ideological as well as the normative point of view," the Holy Father told his 150 guests Saturday.
"Whoever destroys this essential fabric of human coexistence causes a profound wound to society and often irreparable damages," he said.
The Pope continued: "The attempt to reduce the family to a socially irrelevant private emotional experience; of confusing individual rights with those proper to the nuclear family constituted on the bond of marriage; of equating forms of living together with marital union; of accepting and, in some cases, favoring the suppression of innocent human lives with voluntary abortion; of altering the natural processes of the procreation of children by introducing artificial forms of fertilization, are just some of the areas in which the subversion of society is taking place.
"Civil progress cannot derive from the social devaluation of marriage and from the loss of respect for the inviolable dignity of human life. What appears as the progress of civilization and scientific conquest, in many cases is, in fact, a defeat for human dignity and society."
"The truth of man, his vocation since conception to be received with love and in love, cannot be sacrificed to the power of technologies and the equivocation of desires on authentic rights," John Paul II warned. "The legitimate desire to have a child or health cannot be transformed into an unconditional right capable of eliminating other human lives.
"Science and technologies are genuinely at the service of man only when they protect and promote all human individuals involved in the process of procreation."
"Catholic associations," the Pope said, "together with all men of good will who believe in the values of family and life, cannot give in to the pressures of a culture that threatens the very foundations of respect for life and the promotion of the family."
The Holy Father described the Forums of Family Associations as one of the necessary "forms of mobilization," which he himself encouraged in his apostolic exhortation "Familiaris Consortio," so that "families will grow in the awareness of being 'protagonists' of 'family policy' and assume the responsibility to transform society."
In this undertaking, the Pope highlighted as their guide the Pontifical Council for the Family's 1983 "Charter of the Rights of the Family."