Pope Francis on May 25, 2018, stressed the importance of families and affirmed the support of the Church for the “first community”.
His remarks came during a talk to the management and staff of the Rome Police Headquarters and Central Health Department, who gathered in Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. The group included the families of those who died in service to the community.
“The family is the first community where one teaches and learns to love,” the Holy Father said. “And it is the privileged environment in which one teaches and one also learns the faith, one learns to do good…The good health of the family is decisive for the future of the world and of the Church, considering the many challenges and difficulties that today arise in everyday life. In fact, when we encounter a bitter reality, when we feel the pain, when the experience of evil or violence breaks in, it is in the family, in its communion of life and love that everything can be understood and overcome.”
The Pope admitted that the family – like all human institutions – experiences suffering. He cited the examples of Cain and Abel, the quarrels between various family figures in the Old Testament, the failings of David, and the suffering of Job. Even the Holy Family experienced threats and had to flee to Egypt.
“Following the example of Jesus, the Church, in its daily journey, knows the anxieties and tensions of families, generational conflicts, domestic violence, economic difficulties, the precariousness of work,” Francis said. “Reflecting each day in the Gospel, the Church is led by the Holy Spirit to stay close to families, as a travel companion, especially for those who are experiencing some crisis or experiencing some pain, and also to indicate the final goal, where death and pain will disappear forever.”
Francis concluded by stressing the importance of the family not only in passing on religious faith but civil values:
“Faith is handed down as a family too. Here we learn to pray: humble prayer, simple and at the same time open to hope, accompanied by joy, the real one, which comes from a harmony between people, from the beauty of being together and supporting each other on the journey of life, while aware of all our limits…A good family also transmits civil values, educates to feel part of the social body, to behave like loyal and honest citizens. A nation cannot stand if families do not fulfill this task.”