Vatican expects 1 million to attend World Meeting of Families Papal Mass

The World Meeting of Families is held every three years in different cities
around the world – this year in Milan.

BY Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

VATICAN CITY, May 22, 2012 ( – As the Vatican gears up
for the World Meeting of Families in Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the
archbishop of Milan, told media at a Vatican press conference today that the
family, based upon the marriage of a man and a women, is still “the best
way to generate and raise children.”

For this reason, he said, and because of the ongoing attacks on that basic
paradigm of the family, the Vatican has committed itself to holding as one
of its highest priorities the World Meeting of Families, held every three
years in different cities around the world.

The preparation for the meeting has been going on for three years since the
2009 meeting in Mexico City. Those preparations have included the conference
in Rome in 2010 on the “Rights of Infancy” and an international private
academic seminar with pro-life associations.

Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the
Family, said that subjects to be covered in the catechesis at the event,
already translated into 11 languages, will be “inter-religious marriage,
regulation of fertility, demography, the ethic of life from conception to
natural death, the ethics of health, the rights of minors.”

Officials expect at least a million to attend the Papal Mass launching the
event, and at least 300,000 to attend the Feast of Testimonies.

Bishop John Hine, head of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and a delegate to the
meeting, told Vatican Radio today that the trend to redefine marriage in
many countries is one of the greatest threats to the family, calling it a
move toward “destroying the home and the family.”

The World Meeting of Families is a major project of the Vatican and a
favourite movement of Pope Benedict XVI who has mentioned it twice in public
speeches in the last two weeks. From May 30th May to June 3rd, officials and
family-promoting NGOs and groups will discuss the theme, “The Family: Work
and Celebration”.

Calling the family a “major issue,” Bishop Hines noted that the British
government’s current consultation on “gay marriage” excluded the
possibility of discussing whether the definition of marriage should be
changed, allowing only submissions on how it will be changed.

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales, he said, have raised with
politicians the fact that “this was never in any party’s political
manifestos; they didn’t get elected to do this and yet they’re suddenly
foisting it upon us.”

Bishop Hine endeared himself to Catholic pro-life campaigners across Britain
when he attended a highly publicized rally outside a busy London abortion
facility at the end of March, catching some heavy public criticism from the
abortion lobby and the media by doing so.

Michelle Joseph
t. 011 648 5860
m. 082 609 6919

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