On October 5, 2014 Pope Francis called for a Synod on the Family in Rome. Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, in issuing a statement for the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, said “Today more than ever, we need witnesses who live out the Gospel of the family to the fullest and with joy, and who show the world that it is a beautiful and fascinating way of life, a source of happiness for spouses and children.” These witnesses are needed, he says, even if the voice of the Church is “often contested, rejected and even ridiculed by the media.”
The family is the most basic and most important unit in society everywhere in the world. Wherever there are strong, secure and healthy families, there are strong, secure and healthy societies.
However, families have been greatly weakened everywhere in the Western world because of the growing influence of secularism. When people are more influenced by the world and what it has to offer than by faith in God and what He has revealed to us through the Scriptures and the Church, we have a crisis.
Secularism has led to individualism and the selfishness that leads to (among other things) divorce, uncontrolled passions, greed, and the loss of concern for the good of the other.
St. John Paul II said the root cause of the “culture of death” is preoccupation with efficiency, which is a product of secularism. We want what we want right now, even at the expense of our own good and the good of others.
The family is meant to be an environment where parents and children grow in love with each other and with God. For this to happen there must be an emphasis on prayer and worship. Spouses should pray with each other every day and with their children. It gives children a great sense of security to know their parents love each other and that they pray together.
Also necessary is the discipline which is a dimension of love. Even as parents must discipline their own lives – “You must deny your selves, take up your cross and follow me” – they must also provide the discipline for their children that will prepare them to live a life close to God, so they will discover their true dignity and the great plan that the Lord has for them.
When we have healthy, faithful families, we will have an increase in priestly and religious vocations needed for the life of the Church.