The Family: A Resource of Society

Round Table Discussion on Research Regarding the Family

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MILAN, May 31, 2012, (Zenit.org).- “The ‘standard-constituted family,’ which is understood as the union between a man and a woman united in marriage with two or more children, is what ensures most satisfaction to its components because it creates greater human and social capital.” This is the result of Pierpaolo Donati’s research “Family: Resource of Society” (Il Mulino, Bologna, 2012), promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Family and presented during the first day of the Pastoral Theological Congress.

The research, carried out by a representative sample of the Italian population between the age of 30 and 55, explains that the family is a resource not only for the individual but also for the whole of society and is not an obstacle to emancipation. Religiosity also enhances solidarity between members of the family as well as with those outside of it.

Speaking at the World Meeting of Families in Milan, Pierpaolo Donati spoke of the need to “completely rethink family policies, which must be geared above all to the creation of the family. Today, in fact, the ‘standard-constituted family’ represents the majority of those existing; however, their number is being reduced, putting social cohesion at risk,” he said.

“If the state and the economy cannot do this, it is because the family has not been helped to function,” Donati said. The round table discussion was coordinated by Bishop Carlos Simon Vazquez, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Donati’s research disproves the clichés of post-modern culture due to the fact that emerging data today reveals that the expectations of the majority of people are those of a stable family. “The challenge is that of fulfilling this ideal where the difficulty consists in governments’ lack of recognition of the family, because the family is not in need of charity today, but rather of fairness.”

Francesco Belletti, director of the International Center for Family Studies and national president of the Forum of Family Associations, recalled the benefits of family, not only ecclesial but civil associations as well. “Obtaining policies of subsidiarity is easier if the families unite. The objective is to make the rights of the family valid in a unified way, and this is a challenge for all of us, for society and also for the Church.”  

‘The Family: Work and Celebration’ is the theme of the World Meeting of Families this year. For this reason, Giovanna Rossi, professor of Sociology of the Family and director of the Family Studies and Research Center of Catholic University of Milan, concentrated specifically on the balancing of family and work. “Emerging in Italy, above all, is a strong desire to be dedicated to the care of children,” she said. “It is a request addressed to public institutions and to private authorities. However, despite virtuous initiatives, the road to follow is still long and uneven.”