November 17, 2014
Pope Francis paid tribute to the growth of the Church in Zambia and encouraged the nation’s bishops to promote family life.
“I am convinced that the weakening of [family] bonds is particularly serious because the family is the fundamental cell of society, where we learn to live with others despite our differences and to belong to one another; it is also the place where parents pass on the faith to their children,” he said on November 17. “Be solicitous whether in or out of season, by supporting this ‘sanctuary of life’ which is the family, for it is here that the Church’s well-being in Zambia must grow and be fostered.”
“I ask you, with your priests, to form strong Christian families, who – by your catechizing – will know, understand and love the truths of the faith more deeply, and thus be protected from those currents which may tempt them to fall away,” he added. “Affirm Catholic couples in their desire for fidelity in conjugal life and in their yearning to provide a stable spiritual home for their children, helping them to nurture the life of virtue in the family. By so doing, your authentic teaching of the doctrines of the faith will touch the daily life of Zambian households.”
Pope Francis also asked the bishops to “encourage young Catholics by living lives of virtue to experience the liberating gift of chastity as adults,” to assist the poor, to be “kind and firm fathers” to their priests, and to evangelize and invite fallen-away Catholics back to the Church. “it is a time not to be discouraged but rather to offer the true freedom which only the Lord can give, sustained by the sacraments,” he said.