Cardinal Franciszek Macharski explained in his opening address that the strength of a country depends on the strength of its families, and, conversely, weak families spell trouble.
Addressing 5,000 participants in the theological-pastoral congress, which precedes the closing meeting this weekend, the Polish cardinal emphasized that the true family, based on the conjugal union of a man and woman, is the only one that can fulfill its function as the fundamental cell of society.
Because of this, it is the state's duty not to give in to laws that are contrary to natural and revealed law, falling prey to the temptation of modernism, which favors permissiveness in matters as critical for society as marriage and the family, the cardinal said.
Some of the participants in the Congress gave direct testimonies, including Kiko Argüello, founder of the Neocatechumenal Way; Salvatore Martínez, leader of Charismatic Renewal in Italy; and Danilo and Annamaria Zanzucchi of the Focolare Movement.
A congress is also being held simultaneously for 1,100 children and adolescents. Today they received a visit from the papal legate, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The cardinal prayed with them for peace in the Middle East.