AsiaNews.com is reporting that the statements were made at the National Convocation of the Renewal in the Spirit which gathered 52,000 people from 50 countries to celebrate the charismatic renewal. Held in Rome's Olympic Stadium, several people came forward to tell their story to the pope - a priest, a young man, a young disabled woman, and a family.
The family who presented their story consisted of a mother, father, and three children.
"We are here with our children and so many good hopes," the family stated. "For us, Renewal means rediscovering the beauty of creating a family, a joyful experience. It is possible to talk to each other, listen to each other, support each other but above all exchange with each other. A new love leads us to educate our children to the faith in Jesus. Every day we need the faith that comes from the other, the force that helps us reach the grace of unity in the family. May it confirm us in our faith and bring upon all the families of the world, especially those in difficulty, the graces we expect. We pledge you our prayers."
When they were finished speaking, the pope embraced each member of the family.
"Families are the home Church where Jesus grows," the pope said. "He grows in the spouses' love and in the children's lives. For this reason, the enemy attacks the family so much. The devil does not want it. He tries to destroy it, to prevent love from becoming free. Families are the home church. But married people are sinners like everyone else, they do not want to go in faith, in its fertility, in children and the faith of their children. May the Lord bless the family, and make it strong in the face of the crisis by which the devil wants to destroy it."
One of the primary means the devil is using to destroy families is with the proliferation of the use of artificial contraception and abortion to prevent births, practices which have a ruinous effect on marriages and family life.
During morning Mass several days later, while addressing a group of 15 couples that have been married between 25 and 60 years, the pope warned childless couples not to make the mistake of choosing to raise four legged creatures instead of children.
"This culture of well-being from 10 years ago convinced us: It’s better not to have children! It’s better! You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be care-free … it might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or is this not? Have you seen it?" he asked.
But in the end, "this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness," he said.
"It is not fruitful, it does not do what Jesus does with his Church: He makes His church fruitful."
The American faithful are still waiting for word from the Vatican about whether or not Pope Francis will attend next year's World Meeting of Families which will take place in Philadelphia in September, 2015.
To make the family the focus of what will be an internationally watched event will be a coup d'état for families around the world who are struggling to endure under the constant assault of the culture of death.
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