General Articles

Family Defended at Global Mexico City Conference

Amy DeRosa, C-FAM

(NEW YORK – C-FAM) The Sixth World Meeting of Families, held in Mexico City, concluded this past Sunday with a message from Pope Benedict XVI delivered by video link. In keeping with the theme of this year’s event, “The Family as Educator in Human and Christian Values,” the Pope spoke of the family as the “indispensable base for society and for peoples, as well as an irreplaceable good for children” and as the “true school of humanity and perennial values.”

Cardinals, bishops, clergy and lay speakers from around the world attested to the primacy of the family during sessions and round table discussions throughout the week. President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, who helped open the conference, said that the family is “the first and most decisive source for education, it is where cultural, ethical, spiritual and political values are forged.” Though he spoke about the family in general terms, the President’s participation was viewed by some in Mexico as signaling where he stood on divisive Mexican social issues, given that Mexico City’s socialist government has legalized same-sex unions and first-trimester abortion within the federal district.

While the overall tone of the conference was celebratory, the Pope himself struck a note of caution, warning that the family is increasingly threatened by a “deceptive concept of liberty” built on individual choice rather than on God’s truth. He called for the promotion of family rights through legislative and administrative measures and noted that the family is “founded on the indissoluble matrimony between a man and a woman.”

Several speakers explicitly warned of an anti-family agenda promoted by international institutions such as the United Nations (UN). Martha Casco, a Honduran parliamentarian, along with her husband Leonardo, spoke of the hijacking of human rights carried out by unelected UN bureaucrats who attempt to turn UN treaties into vehicles for promoting abortion and weakening the traditional family.

Piero A. Tozzi, Executive Vice President of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), publisher of the Friday Fax, followed up on this theme by explaining how the Yogyakarta Principles on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were being promoted by unaccountable UN officials and members of radical non-governmental organizations at the expense of a true understanding of human rights protective of the family set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Tozzi also noted that France and the nations of the European Union (EU) recently sought to promote the Yogyakarta agenda at the UN General Assembly, offering a non-binding statement calling for acceptance of novel non-discrimination categories for sexual orientation and gender identity under international law.

The role of the EU in promoting an anti-family agenda was also referenced by Edmund Adamus of the United Kingdom, who spoke of the recent resolution passed at the European Parliament to pressure member states to accept homosexual unions.

Pope John Paul II, who viewed the family as the “school of love,” originated the first World Meeting of Families in Rome in 1994. Held every three years, the 2012 encounter will be held in Milan, Italy, with the theme “Family, Work and Celebration.’’