VATICAN CITY, September 11, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The family "as God wants it" is under attack. That's the warning from the Holy Father yesterday to the international marriage group Equipes Notre Dame (END), or Teams of Our Lady.
Pope Francis told the END couples to defend traditional marriage. He said that today' "the family — as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses and also the generation and education of children — is deformed by powerful contrary projects supported by ideological colonization."
Equipes Notre Dame was formally established in 1947 by Fr. Henri Caffarel in order to help married couples achieve holiness by "belonging to a team within a Christian community." Today, they exist in 48 different countries around the globe according to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The Pope encouraged END couples to live the spirituality of their movement, stressing that married fidelity is a gift from God.
Pope Francis warned that amid the modern, busy, individualistic world, spouses must go against the current and take the time to "sit down" and talk with each other to strengthen their marriage. He also stressed the central role of prayer within the family, describing it as "a beautiful and necessary tradition that has always supported the faith and hope of Christians, and unfortunately abandoned in many regions of the world."
Besides maintaining their own integrity, His Holiness said that families must reach out to other families, particularly those who are wounded and vulnerable through personal and social problems. "We must have the courage to enter into contact with these families in a discreet but generous way."
His Holiness noted that the END group's visit to Rome comes just before the Synod on the Family. Calling the family the "vital cell of our societies," he said that Christian couples must strengthen and encourage other families by announcing Jesus to them. He told the END couples that families must witness and announce the joy that the Lord enables families to experience "so that others may take the same path."
"It is necessary, therefore, that you bring your witness and your experience to help Christian communities to discern the real situations in which these people find themselves, to welcome them with their wounds, and to help them to journey in faith and in truth," he admonished them. "Nor must you forget the unspeakable suffering of the children who experience these painful family situations: you can give a lot to them."