Vatican Rep, Molaverdi Call for Stronger Families

Vatican Rep, Molaverdi Call for Stronger Families
Vatican Rep, Molaverdi Call for Stronger Families

Family is the most important institution in sustainable livelihoods and the survival of societies and progress of nations. The circumstances of today’s world where individualism is growing and spreading fast, call for stronger support for families, President of Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, said in Tehran on Monday, in an oblique reference to the eroding family values and the large number of marriages ending in divorce.

“Today, the importance of family goes beyond economic prosperity and I hope this visit will be a step towards developing further mutual cooperation, and that is why I am in Iran,” Paglia said at a meeting with Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi, ISNA reported.

The two sides discussed matters relating to family, and women and their role in the modern society. The meeting was held at the office of the vice-presidency.

Women’s role must be highlighted in the contemporary society given that the growing disregard for the institution of family in countries, including Italy, has resulted in a declining population.

Emphasizing the sanctity of marriage and family, Paglia called for public debates on the two issues and their social importance.

Stressing the need to hold more frequent and regular joint meetings, the archbishop said it will facilitate the process for envoys from Iran and the Vatican to explore various issues in a more systematic and scientific manner.

Referring to Iran’s strategic geographical situation as interlinking the Mediterranean and Asian countries, he said the Islamic Republic can be a major player in bringing about and sustaining family values and peace in the region.

“Family values must be espoused and strengthened by the international community, and by holding meetings at the UN and at regional forums we could take effective steps in that direction,” the Vatican rep said.

“Governments are not always aware of how important families are, but meetings such as this one are a true testament to how lofty the institution of family is for the Islamic Republic and the Vatican.”

  Mothers Architects of Peace

“War and peace begins in the minds of people. As every individual’s primary teacher, mothers are architects of dialogue and peace,” Molaverdi said.

The world today is facing crises like terrorism and situations undermining ethical values and the status of families, and addressing and overcoming these challenges is a daunting task.

Pointing to the Iranian delegation’s visit to the Vatican in January 2015, the vice president said deepening mutual ties is important for the Islamic Republic.

“Since 2015, we have seen strides in reciprocal ties, including President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to the Vatican in January 2016 and his meeting with Pope Francis,” she noted, adding that religiosity on both sides has paved the way for mutual cooperation at various levels.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, official and unofficial visits to the Vatican ushered in a new era of collaboration. Since taking office in 2013, the incumbent government has prioritized strengthening ties with the sacerdotal state as part of its declared foreign policy to build cordial ties to the outside world.

Molaverdi noted the commonalities between the two states for bilateral cooperation and proposed they be pursued at three levels: religious, regional and international.

The role of women and families in today’s worsening conditions of religious radicalism, appalling extremism and hate crime, as well as advocating peace could be discussed under the three categories.

At the end of the meeting, a joint statement was issued.

Paglia invited the vice president to attend as Iran’s representative the UN General Assembly to be held on June 23 in New York, where the final draft of a statement by Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family will be presented.

Paglia arrived in Iran on Sunday to meet state officials and discuss matters relating to women and families. He was also scheduled to visit Qom to present a keynote speech at a specialized panel on family-related matters. He will meet and confer with Iranian activists in areas of women and family affairs.

Instituted in 1981, the Pontifical Council “promotes the pastoral care of families, protects their rights and dignity in the Church and in civil society, so that they may be more able to fulfill their duties.”

  Pope’s Declaration

Pope Francis has repeatedly voiced concern over the fading value of family and family structures, and has tried to erase the distinction between “regular” and “irregular” families, even as he continues to advocate the Christian ideal of marriage.

 In October 2014 for the first time he took stock of “many attacks on the family” and said while there are now many “new forms” of unions being proposed, such unions are “association but not marriages”.

In a much-anticipated broad proclamation on family life in April this year, the pope called for the Roman Catholic Church to be more welcoming and less judgmental in a 256-page document.

He also admitted that the church has made mistakes in alienating families and dedicated many passages in the document to describing the pressures brought on families by poverty, migration, drug abuse and violence.

Francis also convened two successive assemblies, or synods, of bishops from around the world to examine the challenges facing modern families.