The state of our parishes reflects the way in which Catholics have allowed themselves to be drawn into the forces of secularism, conforming to contemporary trends - supermarket culture and the ever present drone of subjectivism. In the midst of this, the New Evangelisation has already highlighted the importance of the family through which passes the future of humanity and the Church.
The family lies at the heart of the Church and of our parishes, yet in our day it has come under intense pressure, its essential and organic roles being overwhelmed and replaced by Goverment, State, agency, medic, media and school. So intrusive has this phenomenon been that fathers have been unable to fulfill their role, mothers have been turned into blood by abortion, and children and young people have been utterly bewildered and have lost the way.
In fact, the Family possesses the necessary forces for love and life and for the building of civilisation. This is why the Family is an essential part of the New Evangelisation. What this means in practice was laid out by JPII in Familiaris Consortio and reworked in The Letter to Families. However, in Britain we have paid more attention to Government, medic and media than we have to the wonderful domestic economy of Salvation - the family.
In my experience, those who are best at releasing the forces of good from within the family are the spouses themselves. Spouses who are attuned to the Plan of God and presence of grace are already engaged in the New Evangelisation. Not necessarily an easy task, but a grace-filled one.
These are the families for whom the spiritual and moral support of the Church is indispensible - because they are engaged in building the Church. It is a support which recognises the primary and organic roles which the two spouses play in the formation of their lives and those of their children, roles which far supercede that of Goverment, agency or school. (Spouses are the procreators of offspring, not medics with test-tubes!)
I believe that the New Evangelisation will not advance at it should unless there takes place and organic integration of Familiaris Consortio within the Church in Britain, for the place of the family is central to the life of the Church and the world.
One of today's great blessings are the numerous and fruitful Catholic marriages - where two praying young people wed in Christ. But we dont want young people to get married and to lose themselves in marriage, rather, we need them be open to the greater call which is made to Christian marriages - to be a leven for society and the Church. We have much ground to cover here in throwing light upon the truth about marriage and family, and in nurturing all the grace that is present in families who are trying to live by grace.