constitutes the vital means to preserve and transmit values
Pontifical Council for the Family and Pontifical Council for Migrants
Message sent for UN International Day of Families
"The Impact of Migrations on the Families of the World"
May 14, 2010
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
recognizes that the family is "the natural and fundamental element of society"
(article 16) and Pope Benedict XVI asserted that the family is the "place and
resource of the culture of life and factor of integration of values" (Message
for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2007), hence it must be the object of
the "greatest protection and assistance possible" (Pact of Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, article 10).
The family has an irreplaceable role for the happiness of its members, for peace
and social cohesion, for educational development and general well being, for
economic growth and social integration. The solidity of family ties, in fact,
guarantees stability, protects social balance and promotes development. Family
cohesion constitutes the vital means to preserve and transmit values, acts as
guarantor of cultural identity and of social continuity, ensures an environment
favorable to learning and offers effective remedies for the prevention of crime
Hence, civil society and Christian communities are injected with the problems
and difficulties, but also with the values and the resources of which each
family is bearer.
We see, however, that migratory movements make deep furrows in the historic
present of peoples and cities, of states and continents. This affects
individuals, native citizens and immigrant citizens. Above all, it affects
families. Hence, in the migratory context the family emerges as a challenge and
possibility, not only for the migrant and his loved ones, but also for the
groups of the countries of departure and arrival.
In fact, next to traditional masculine migration, the number of women is growing
exponentially who leave their country of origin to seek a more fitting life,
cultivating the dream of bringing with them their spouse, their children, and
perhaps their closest relatives. Also minors and the elderly enter in the
maelstrom of migratory currents, taking with them the sad baggage of loss,
loneliness and of being uprooted, at times intensified by exploitation and
Hence, the family unit, disintegrated by the migratory plan, longs to be
reconstituted, also for greater success in the process of assimilation in the
For these reasons, we hope that the competent institutions will elaborate
responsible family policies, which facilitate regrouping, which will allow
illegal immigrants to come out of situations of anonymity and precariousness
through practical means, and that they will guarantee the right of everyone to
social and civil participation and co-responsibility, also through recognition
of the right of citizenship.
Finally, I encourage the adoption of appropriate measures that facilitate, on
one hand, insertion in the social fabric that receives the immigrants and their
families and, on the other, occasions of growth -- personal, social and
ecclesial -- based on respect of minorities, of the different cultures and
religions, in addition the mutual exchange of values.
Education and inculturation can contribute to create a new sensitivity, geared
to establishing more friendly relations between individuals and families, in the
realms of school, life and work, with priority attention to children,
adolescents and young people, in a world of rapid changes.
Solidarity and reciprocity, in respect of legitimate differences, are
indispensable conditions to ensure peaceful interaction and a serene future to
our civil societies and ecclesial communities.
Cardinal Ennio Antonelli
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio
President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers