VATICAN (CWN) -- Speaking on the feast of the Holy Family, December 28, Pope John Paul II denounced the "negative forces which seek to destroy the family," and noted "the urgency of protecting and promoting the authentic rights of the family."

      The Pope delivered his warning at his weekly Angelus audience-- which he made from his summer resident on Castel Gandalfo, where he followed his usual custom of spending a few days of rest after Christmas.

      "The family is the foundation and safeguard of a truly free and responsible society," the Holy Father said. Therefore, he continued, it is essential to recognize the importance of strong family life, and in turn to recognize the dangers that the family is now facing from the forces on many sides: "poverty, hunger, homelessness, and a point of view hostile to the gift of life and sometimes even favorable toward the elimination of life through abortion and euthanasia." He also pointed to "individualism which ignores and instrumentalizes others and which is the origin of so many of the forms of loneliness which afflict our society today." In an apparent reference to the advocates of homosexuality, he also mentioned "the even graver menaces that touch directly upon the structure of the family" and would change its role within society.

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December 30, 1997 volume 8, no. 63         DAILY CATHOLIC