Tuesday, March 13, 2007


EUROPE/ITALY - The family in Europe is in danger. Highly aggressive anti-Christian legislation and groups refuse to recognize the family as a value and a juridical good to be protected. The transcendent dimension of the human person is ignored.

Rome (Fides Service) - "The Family: the Future of Europe" was the theme of a European Conference on the Family organized by the Institute for Higher Studies on Women of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome 8-10 March (see Fides 5/3/2007). Fides interviewed Conference Directress Patricia Martínez Peroni who teaches Anthropology and Psychology of the Personality and Individual Differences at San Pablo University Madrid.

The Conference discussed the situation of the family in Europe and the difficulties facing the family, what were its findings?
Participants agreed that because it has chosen to ignore its Christian roots, Europe is losing its identity and the continent's directing criteria and policies today are having a worrying not to say negative effect on various aspects of the human reality including the family. These policies cut the human person in two, restricting the transcendent dimension to the sphere of private life and expecting people to live in social groups where citizens have rights but no rights are recognized for God who is the author of Europe and all humanity. These partial, reductive and functionalist policies aim only for material wellbeing. But the human person is also transcendent and can never be happy unless this is realized. Europe's identity is Christian and it must be rediscovered and valued.

Could we say the family in Europe is ailing?

I would not say it is ailing but that it is threatened by anti-Christian ideologies and groups for which fail to see the family as a value or a juridical good to be protected. The family is endangered by legislation which attacks rather than protects and supports the family.

What ideas emerged from the Conference?

The Conference discussed human identity, the identity of a family consisting of a married man and women, open to life. Therefore Europe's social and political good must respond to the human identity of the person and the identity of the family. The conference discussed the family at the economic, political social, cultural and religious level to make practical suggestions to help people rediscover the importance and value of the family, for example publicizing alternatives to abortion. In a situation of de-Christianization Europe is again a field for evangelistic. Like the prodigal son, the continent would seem to have squandered its heritage and must now be re-evangelized so it may rediscover its roots.

What fruits do you hope from the Conference?

It emerged that in certain European countries the Christian identity is budding again and that it would be good to network in concrete con-social-activism to make the family recognized. The participants agreed on the importance of effective articulation in view of effective social presence. It is clear that we must defend the family, first of all our won and then striving to influence society. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 12/3/2007; righe 45, parole 617)

"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"