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Pope says family today 'despised, abused' yet essential

Pontiff opens meeting of cardinals considering role of home

20 February, 12:49
Pope says family today 'despised, abused' yet essential (ANSA) - Vatican City, February 20 - In today's world, the family is often "despised, abused" despite the fact it is essential for the future of humanity, Pope Francis said Thursday.

Speaking at an extraordinary meeting of the College of Cardinals, which will be discussing the topic, Francis said the family is "essential" to the world and to God's plan for humanity. "Our reflections must keep before us the beauty of the family and marriage, the greatness of this human reality which is so simple and yet so rich, consisting of joys and hopes, of struggles and sufferings, as is the whole of life," Pope Francis said. "Today, the family is looked down upon and mistreated," he added. "We are called to acknowledge how beautiful, true and good it is to start a family, to be a family today; and how indispensable the family is for the life of the world and for the future of humanity".

The council is considering family issues as it prepares for the next Synod in October, which will be devoted to the family. The Vatican has been asking its priests around the world for input on controversial issues ranging from same-sex marriage and surrogate motherhood to polygamy as its prepares for the extraordinary meeting on the family.

The 38-question survey, sent to national conferences of bishops all over the world, seeks input from local officials to help the Vatican as it prepares for an unusual assembly of bishops designed to develop new directions for the Church on issues of family relations.

The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization is the official title selected for the third extraordinary general assembly of the synod of bishops to be held in the Vatican from 5 to 19 October 2014.

This event will be only the third such assembly since the synod's creation in 1965.