Tuesday, July 04, 2006

World Meeting of Families

Well underway in Valencia is the 5th World Meeting of Families.

Put simply, it's the World Youth Day but Mum & Dad are invited too. Whole families from all over the World have been arriving for the week of activities which will culminate on Saturday night and Sunday morning, when the Pope will pop along to lead the vigil and preside at Mass in the spectacular City of Arts & Sciences.

There are dozens of families from England making the pilgrimage, for which the Pope has granted a plenary indulgence, not just for those lucky enough to be there, but for anyone who joins them in spirit from anywhere in the World, fulfilling the usual conditions.

One person who probably won't be fulfilling the said conditions this Sunday is Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the president of Spain, who is snubbing the whole event on the grounds that 'it's got nothing to do with me'. Fair enough, I suppose, he's not exactly a loyal son of the Church, but I'm afraid he's taking it a step further: the government is funding in Valencia during the same week a conference for the 'gay' and lesbian community, which will include a demonstration outside the Cathedral the day before the Pope arrives there. Presumably we can expect to see more of the sort of hilarity that took place in London last Saturday. Zapatero's government, you may recall, was one of the first in Europe to 'legalise' that bizarre contract known as 'same-sex marriage', not to mention making it easier to get divorced or procure an abortion.

The upshot of it all is that this meeting of families is not simply a chummy get-together with His H, but is an occasion for the Church to bear witness to the beauty and dignity of family life - to be a sign of contradiction. In England, Spain and in the whole of Europe, the family is under sustained attack from people and institutions who, often with the very best intentions, don't understand it's importance. Speaking about the situation in which this meeting is taking place, the President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Bishop Ricardo Blázquez says "there is an enormous difference between the basic and irreplaceable meaning of the family for persons and society, on one hand, and the treatment it receives from society and the state, on the other." Quite.


Blogger Joee Blogs said...

Nice post, didn't know about the "alternative" conference going on at the same time! Cheers!

Thursday, July 06, 2006 6:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, things are going nuts in Spain. I suppose we do the same things, more or less, but "politely"... i.e. no-one's really aware of the meaning of these events, or often of the events themselves.

Thursday, July 06, 2006 10:11:00 AM  

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