The upcoming World Meeting of Families is firmly focused on the theme of family, rather than any potential papal visit, according to one of its lead organisers, Fr Timothy Bartlett.
Writing in the Irish Times, Fr Bartlett said the family has been fundamental to the ministry of Pope Francis and he often repeats the famous phrase of St John Paul II that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family”, adding, “and the future of the church”. The family is, according to Francis, “the nearest hospital, the first school for the young, and the best home for the elderly”.
“In a world easily given to violence, inhumanity and disposal of the other, he remains convinced that it is this messy but grace-filled reality of the family that so often holds our lives and the world itself together,” said Fr Bartlett.
The global nature of the gathering also meant it could not get mired down in specifically Irish issues. “It is important that the meeting in Ireland, as well as the commentary and analysis leading up to it, avoids the temptation of becoming self-referential, of approaching the event and its significance solely in terms of Irish issues and the Irish church,” said Fr Bartlett.
“The year ahead is an opportunity to change the conversation, to focus instead on the global issues, the common human values and mutual interest between Church and society that converge in working together for the wellbeing of the family.”