Pope Highlights the Family as Key to "Civilization of Love"

Meets Officials From Rome and Surrounding Region

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 15, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II stressed the need for political and administrative options that support the family because it is the primary place "to realize the civilization of love."



"The way to defeat and prevent all forms of violence is to commit oneself to constructing the civilization of love," the Pope said today when he received the authorities of the Italian region of Latium, and of the municipality and province of Rome.

"Love, in fact -- I have underlined it in the message for the recent World Day of Peace -- is the highest and most noble form of relationship of human beings among themselves," the Holy Father said.

He was addressing Francesco Storace, president of the assembly of the Latium region; Walter Veltroni, mayor of Rome; Enrico Gasbarra, president of the province of Rome; and administrators of these municipalities, on the occasion of the traditional exchange of greetings for the new year.

"How can one not think of the family as the primary locus to realize the civilization of love?" the Pope asked. "The family represents the human realm in which the person, from the beginning of his existence, can experience the warmth of affection and grow in a harmonious way."

"Precisely because of this, political and administrative options are favorably received that are directed to sustain the family nucleus, considered as a 'natural society founded on marriage,' according to the dictate of the Italian Constitution," the Holy Father said.

In this context are framed the measures introduced by these administrations in regard to families and their role in educating children, an objective in which "the school has a fundamental importance," he said.

"The Church is happy to contribute with its educational institutions, which carry out a valued social role and which have, because of this, a right to be supported," the Holy Father reminded his listeners.

John Paul II mentioned, moreover, the need for assistance in situations of great need, such as lonely elderly people, abandoned minors, immigrants and other weak social sectors, and youth, "who expect to be educated in justice, solidarity and peace."

"Parishes, religious communities, Catholic institutions, and volunteer workers will continue to offer in Rome, in the province, and in the whole regional territory their joint contribution, putting every human and spiritual resource at their disposal," the Pope concluded.