Marriage Preparation Project Presented to Pope

Pontiff Affirms Importance of Task

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Pontifical Council for the Family presented to Benedict XVI a project for developing a new handbook for marriage preparation.



Cardinal Ennio Antonelli made the presentation of the plan for this "vade mecum" in a meeting with the Pope on Monday, the first day of the council's three-day plenary assembly.

He thanked the Pontiff "for this meeting, from which we will surely receive energy, joy and inspiration for our work in favor of the family and of the Church in the world."
 
L'Osservatore Romano noted that Benedict XVI has often given "special attention to problems of the family," with his "frequent and incisive references to it," often recurring in "his illuminating interventions."
 
In the Holy Father's address to the assembly participants, he underlined the need for a period of catechesis and activities for couples preparing for marriage, so that this sacrament will be perceived as "as a gift for the whole Church, a gift that contributes to its spiritual growth."
 
He continued, "Moreover, it is good that the bishops promote the exchange of the most significant experiences, that they offer stimuli for a serious pastoral commitment in this important sector, and show particular attention so that the vocation of the spouses becomes a richness for the whole Christian community and, especially in the present context, a missionary and prophetic testimony."

The Pontiff called this project of the elaboration of a vademecum for marriage preparation an "important task."

World Meeting for Families
 
Cardinal Antonelli also addressed the Pope, giving a presentation on the activities carried out by his dicastery after the 6th World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico City in January of 2009.
 
He noted that "the principal conclusions of Mexico City were in line with the instruction 'Disciples and Missionaries' of Aparecida, which highlighted the fact that the Christian family is called to be today, with particular urgency, a subject of evangelization in the ecclesial aspect and a subject of socialization in the civil aspect."
 
Consequently, a pastoral program is needed "for and with families and a policy for and with families," the cardinal added.
 
The Holy Father acknowledged various initiatives being carried forward by the council is planning two specific projects that correspond to these perspectives, to "raise awareness of the fundamental value of the family for the life of the Church and of society."

"Among these," he said, "are the project 'The Family, Subject of Evangelization,' which intends to collect, at the world level, valid experiences in the various areas of family pastoral care, so that they will serve as inspiration and encouragement for new initiatives; and the project 'The Family, Resource for Society,' which intends to make evident to public opinion the benefits that the family brings to society, to its cohesion and its development."

The council is also working to organize the 7th World Meeting for Families, scheduled to take place in 2012 in Milan, Italy.