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August 21, 1998

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Agust 21,1! Christian family movement seeks global acti ,k, By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor Delegates at a recent assem- bly of the International Confer- ence of Christian Family Move- ments (ICCFM) said they want governments to support pro- family work practices, and they want married couples to be can- onized as saints by the Roman Catholic Church. Pro-family employment prac- tices and canonization of cou- ples were just two of the items supported by the confederation, meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. Families from 20 countries on four continents met for a three- day World Assembly of Families at the Pastoral Training Center of the Archdiocese of Bangkok, July 28-31. Their comments and concerns were then drawn up and formally issued as a decla- ration by the ICCFM General Assembl; Aug. 2. The North American delegation included representatives both of the Christian Family Movement (CFM) and of Movimiento Famil- iaris Christiano (MFC). Latin American and South American representatives includ- ed families from Brasil, Costa Rica and Honduras. European representatives came from Croa- tia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Spain. Asian countries rep- resented included Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Philippines, Sin- gapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Delegates at the General Assembly elected Jose and Mar- garita Pich of Barcelona, Spain, as president couple for a three- year term. They succeed Alvaro and Margarita Rivera of Carta- ge, Costa Rica. The formal declaration cited the teaching of Pope John Paul II in Austria and Rio de Janeiro, that the future of the church and of society is decided in families, and that the family is the way of the Church. The declaration recognized that throughout the world, "a fairly widespread trend" of "ris- ing rates of abortion and of divorce, dwindling quality time spent by parents with their chil- dren, and the changing tradi- tional values of man-woman relationship" are "detrimental to the holistic growth of cohe- sive and healthy families." According to the declaration, the family representatives from around the world said they believed "that a cohesive happy family is the cornerstone of a healthy society." Delegates declared a renewal of their commitment "to the humanization of all families in the world, as manifested by people living with dignity... the prevalence of a man-woman relationship which leads to mar- riages where love is modeled after God&apos;s love and where pro- life tenets are advocated,:" and "having an .environment in which all people have the opportunities to develop fully their potential and talents .... " The delegates then listed the following items which were urged, offered or recommended. * "[We] urge our parliamen- tarians and law-makers to cre- ate those socio-economic condi- tions and to enact those laws which favor the promotion of humanized families. "[We] urge international organizations and non-govern- mental organizations to take into utmost consideration... that family as a whole is the focus of development, inclusive of education and training, [and the] health, economic, moral and spiritual dimensions. "[We] urge all peoples and nations to seek peaceful solu- tions to conflicts, and to mete out justice based on human dig- nity. "[We] offer CFM and MFC support to other Church- endorsed family development organizations and.., programs [in pursuit] of cohesive and healthy families. "[We] recommend to national governments the institutionaliza- tion of pro-family work practices [such as] flex-time for working mothers, adequate parental leave and family allowances, which would enable parents to have more quality time for each other and for their children, whose rights should be duly respected within the whole family. "[We] recommend to the appropriate Church authorities and institutions that the pastoral care of families be given due impor- tance and consideration during the theological preparation of seminarians. that the cause of sainthood for married couples be promoted. that they recognize the readiness of the CFM and MFC to collaborate with the Catholic bishops to develop lay leader- ship and enhance the domestic church .... "[We] recommend to all CFM and MFC members to be always respectful of other peo- ple's beliefs and work jointly with them for the benefit of fam- ilies worldwide, while still strongly adhering to our Catholic beliefs and principles." ICCFM delegates were wel- comed to Thailand by Suchan Pongnua, Governor of Nakhon Pathom Province. Governor Pongnua said that he was pleased to report that a "family promotion policy is part of the national policy" in Thailand. The inaugural address was given by Archbishop Laurence Khai, president of Family Life Promotion, Bishops Confer- ence of Thailand. Bishop Khai, who had been beaten and threatened with death as a youth because of his Catholic faith, told the delegates that his efforts were "to encourage our families to be more imbued in the faith." The keynote address was given by Archbishop Luigi Bres- san, papal nuncio to Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia. Arch- < ,,. Rodrigo Agudelo, delegate from the Movimien- to Familiaris Christiano, North America, thanks Archbishop Laurence Khai for telling his per- bishop Bressan listed a series of threats to family life, but said he found many reasons for hope. One reason for hope is that "all religions are becoming more supportive of families," Archbishop Bressan said. He noted that "in Asia, the practice of religion is more widespread than it is in the West." In Asia, among Hindu, Tag, Buddhist and other traditions, the role of the Christian family is clear, he said. "Isolation is not the answer. Evangelization is the mandate for families." Archbishop Bressan told the assembly that throughout the world, "Families receive sup- port, strength and wisdom from ICCFM. You are a herald of the < i '" sonal experiences of religious persecution in ! Thailand during the 1930s and 1940s. -- Message photo by Paul R. Gospel of Life." The world position of ICCFM has been recognized by the Unit- ed Nations, which has granted the confederation status as a non-governmental organization. The confederation is also recog- nized by the Vatican. ICCFM assemblies are held every three years, typically moving to a new continent for each gathering. The 1995 assem- blies were held in Malta; the assemblies in 1992 were in Merida, Mexico. The 1998 assemblies in Thai- land were the Seventh World Assembly and the Eleventh General Assembly. Accepted for membership in the ICCFM are Catholic Church- endorsed ments and organizationS use the process of Judge and Act." (Observe world around you, Judg you see in the light teaching, and Act to make world a better place.) CFM and MFC that the love family must overflow to neighborhood and the The mission of the U.S. "to improve the quality ell ly life by reaching out." The ICCFM ori world-wide outreach Christian Family which will celebrate its anniversary at the Notre Dame, July 1-4, Knights' convention focuses on fidelity to Church, family By VALERIE KINCAID Catholic News Service CINCINNATI (CNS) Christian faith requires belieL commitment and confidence from those who would accept Christ's invitation to follow him, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilar- czyk told Knights of Columbus at their 116th international meeting in Cincinnati. "Faith is not a simple thing. There are several aspects that have to be in place if we are not to falter," Archbishop Pilarczyk said in his homily at the open- ing Mass for the convention, which ran Aug. 4-6. The Cincinnati prelate recalled the Scripture story of Peter walking out on the water to be with Jesus as illustrating how all the elements of faith are neces- sary to grow closer to Christ. Peter believed it was Jesus standing on the water, and Peter was committed to being with Jesus when he called him to come, the archbishop explained. Nevertheless, in the stormy waters, Peter began sinking as he walked toward Jesus because he lacked the confidence to complete the journey, he added. Part of the journey toward Christ is found in accepting the teachings of the Catholic Church, he said. Catholic faith requires believers to embrace those teachings, Archbishop Pilarczyk told the more than 2,000 Knights of Columbus and their families who attend- ed the convention. More than 70 cardinals, archbishops and bishops also attended the con- vention. Archbishop Pilarczyk said organizations such as the Knights of Columbus important role in society ing an support of the Cleveland Bishop M. Pilla also Knights, open themselves the Holy Spirit. "The Son of God remarkable promise," Pilla said in a at the convention's ner. "You need not God in the face of a You need not envy Jerusalem who met the streets." To find one's creator, son need only look self, Bishop Pilla said. "God has told you.' That is the tecost," Bishop Pilla is not a metaphor."