Alan Schreck concludes his summary of the vital teaching document of Blessed John Paul II on family life and family catechesis.
As we approach the thirteenth anniversary of Familiaris Consortio (Nov. 22, 1981), Blessed John Paul II’s concerns and direction for the family appear even more relevant and urgent today. As he taught in 2001 (NMI, 47), ‘At a time in history like the present, special attention must also be given to the pastoral care of the family, particularly when this fundamental institution is experiencing a radical and widespread crisis.’ In FC, John Paul presented four major tasks for the family in the modern world:
- forming a community of persons;
- serving life;
- participating in the development of society;
- sharing in the life and mission of the Church (no. 17).
In the last Sower, we discussed the first task, so now we must ask: ‘How does the family serve life?’ This is ‘the fundamental task of the family’ (no. 28). Echoing Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter Humanae Vitae, FC teaches ‘that love between husband and wife must be fully human, exclusive, and open to new life’ (no. 29).