06 Nov Love and Mercy: Our Greatest Tools in the New Evangelization
“I was there.”
It’s the current slogan being worn on pins and t-shirts by some of the almost 20,000 participants at the World Meeting of Families and over a million attendees at the papal mass on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway last month. Catholics — and Americans of all backgrounds — are still reveling in the aftermath of Pope Francis’s first visit to the United States. But they’re more than just excited about seeing the man himself. It’s his message that lingers long after his return to Rome.
From his arrival in Washington, D.C., the Holy Father made clear that the primary reason for his visit was the World Meeting of Families, a Catholic celebration of family life held in cities around the world every three years’ time. “Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive” was this year’s theme. And to celebrate the vibrancy and attractiveness of family life, the Philadelphia event was more than just a pep rally for families, although the joy and energy present certainly felt like one: It was also a moment to discuss the challenges families face so that more of us can better understand what the Church has to offer in support of marriage and family life.
And that’s why Pope Francis did not mince words in both assessing the greatness of the family, but also the reality of sin and how it corrupts even the most ideal designs:
All the love God has in himself, all the beauty God has in himself, all the truth God has in himself, he entrusts to the family. A family is truly a family when it is capable of opening its arms to receive all that love. Of course the Garden of Eden is long gone; life has its problems; men and women — through the wiles of the devil — experienced division.
In the past few weeks, Catholic bishops and cardinals from around the world gathered in Rome for the Synod on the Family to continue exploring the same themes discussed at last year’s synod and last month’s meeting.
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Christopher White is associate director of Catholic Voices USA. To request an interview with Chris, email firstname.lastname@example.org