The document of the “Charter of the Rights of the Family” came as a response to a request made by the Synod of Bishops held at the Vatican in 1980. The theme of this synod was, “The Role of the Christian Family in the World Today” (see Proposition no. 42). Pope St. John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio, welcomed the request of the Bishops and gave them the task of preparing this magnificent document.
Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, reintroduced this Charter (which celebrates its 32nd anniversary) in Vatican City on March 21, 2013, declaring that the Document “still remains relevant today and is addressed to families themselves, and to all men and women of good will who commit themselves to do everything possible in order to ensure that the rights of the family are protected and that the family institution be strengthened for the good of all humanity… The Charter of the Rights of the Family draws its natural inspiration from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations on 10 December 1948... and among other fundamental rights, the Declaration recognizes the family as ‘the natural and fundamental group unit of society.’ (art. 16).”
The family, which is the sanctuary of love and life, will be celebrated in a “World Meeting of Families”, to be held in Philadelphia, PA, September 22-27, 2015. (www.worldmeeting2015.org) The event, which is held every three years in different countries around the world, is the largest Catholic gathering of families and is sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family. Each event is given a theme in order to add greater depth of meaning to our understanding of families. This year’s theme is, “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”
The inspiration for this theme came from the early Church Father, St. Irenaeus, who wrote “the Glory of God is man fully alive.” In a letter addressed to families and all participants in this world event, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput also states that, “The glory of men and women is their capacity to love as God loves—and no better means exists to teach the meaning of love than the family. His Holiness, Pope Francis also inspired the theme. He embodies the message of mercy, joy and love at the heart of the Gospel.”
The Pilgrims of St. Michael have been promoting this Charter since 1983. It is our desire, therefore, to present this Charter once again so that it can be read and studied in families, parishes, in order to remind us of the sublime duties and rights of everyone to safeguard the rights of the families.
Let us pray for the success of this World Meeting of Families, and may His Holiness, Pope Francis, be assisted by our prayers in his mission “to reaffirm the family, which remains the essential cell of society.”1 v