The Family – the Hope for Europe. A Message from Gniezno
Autor: Zjazd Gnieźnieński
1. The family is the hope for contemporary Europe – this is the principal message of the 8th Convention of Gniezno. We are confident that the question of marriage and family has the key significance for the future of the continent. The family is the natural environment of love, the place of birth and development of the human person. We shall never find happiness pursuing it separately from this community.
2. Commitment to the well-being of the family should constitute a major element of a common witness of Christians in the uniting Europe. Moreover, there are some inalienable truths shared by different religions: the conviction that the human being is the image of God and that the family consists of a husband, wife, and children. Christianity, Judaism and Islam regard these truths as the foundations of civilisation. Faced with the same challenges, we must bear witness together. We appeal to all the inhabitants of the continent: Europe, find anew the true family and with it a hope for yourself!
3. In Gniezno, we were re-discovering the beauty of married life and the family, despite the attendant trials and tribulations. We can best address the crisis of the family by demonstrating its positive vision – through our witness, reflection and activity.
A woman and a man need each other, supplement each other and together constitute a spiritual and physical fullness. Marriage is a unique, committed and permanent relationship between a woman and a man bound by love. Understood in this way, marriage is the cornerstone of the family.
Children are the fruit of married life. Without children, societies are doomed to become extinct. The family is likewise a place for being together with the sick and the handicapped, and one that accompanies the elderly during their transition to eternity. In the family we grow, become our individual selves, learn to share with and love one another. While this is not an easy task, it is no doubt feasible. Happiness in the family calls for effort, generosity, responsibility, a will to engage in dialogue and to forgive.
For us, Christians, marriage is a call for the unconditional and irrevocable love that God has for the human person. We pray that we might experience more and more of this love in our families. God is love, and we are to imitate Him.
4. The future of society depends on the well-being of marriage and family and that is why the state should assist and support them. The family is an intermediary institution between an individual and society and nothing can replace it.
The adoption of a pro-family policy at the national and local level is a matter of utmost priority. Unlike in the majority of the European Union Member States, the family in Poland is left to struggle on its own. However, it is precisely an investment in the family that is the most advantageous long-term investment from the perspective of society and the state.
It is vital to deliberately create a model of a pro-family policy that would meet social expectations, for instance by treating the educational efforts of parents on a par with regular employment. The time dedicated to children is not parents’ private hobby, but their contribution to the well-being of society.
It is imperative that solutions be adopted, both allowing young people to make decisions about starting a family and supporting them at every level of its growth. We call for the recognition of a pro-family policy as one of the most important responsibilities of the state.
It is equally vital to adopt a family-oriented self-organisation of society, a local and neighbourly solidarity of families, mutual assistance in emergency situations.
Marriage and family should be the focus of activity of our religious communities, our Churches and our parishes.
5. Gathered in Gniezno, we extend our words of gratitude to all married couples who are living icons of God’s faithful love for the human person. We are thankful to all parents, especially those of large families, for their readiness to accept and rear every child, thus building a new culture of life. We are grateful to all who support the family and in this way contribute to the creation of a truly familial Europe.