With a call from Pope Benedict XVI. for the protection of the family has this Wednesday the 6. World Family Day begins in Mexico City. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone delivered the approximately 7.000 participants the greeting of the pope. The five-day congress organized by the Vatican Family Council is led by Bertone. The Cologne auxiliary bishop Dr. Heiner Koch is on site and reports about his impressions in the this site interview.
The host Primate of Mexico's Catholic Church, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, stressed that from indigenous culture to today, the family plays a central role for Mexico. It is a "guarantor of a more humane world". The president of the Mexican bishops' conference, Carlos Aguiar Retes, urged in his speech the need for a more intensive pastoral care of the family. But politics must also make its contribution and respect and support the family as an indispensable member of society. Among those in attendance were many church dignitaries and politicians. Unlike at previous world meetings, this time the Pope will not attend in person. Benedict XVI. but said at his general audience Wednesday at the Vatican that he hoped for new impetus "for the beauty and value of the family". The head of the church will follow via video the prayer vigil on Saturday evening and the concluding service on Sunday, addressing attendees with a video message. The organizers expect more than one million people to attend the final event at the pilgrimage shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This year's World Family Day focuses on passing on values. Topics such as "Relationships and Values in the Family," "Family and Sexuality," and "The Educational Vocation of the Family" are on the agenda. In addition to individual guests, representatives of lay associations and spiritual movements, 200 bishops and 30 cardinals have registered for the panels and discussions. The congress, with participants from 98 countries, will be held under the motto "The family, educator of human and Christian values". Since 1994, Pope John Paul II's. (1978-2005) initiated world family meeting every three years in another country takes place; last 2006 in the Spanish Valencia.