VATICAN CITY — Just an hour after Pope Francis finished his series of general audience talks about the family yesterday, the head of the Vatican publishing house and his press assistant dropped a book on my desk.
The volume, “The Family: The World’s Generating Force,” contains the full texts in English of the 30 audience talks the pope gave beginning Dec. 10, 2014, and including the prepared text for yesterday’s talk. The last texts does not include the pope’s ad-libbed asides, but holding off would have made it impossible to get the book printed and ready for sale at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
The Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, will have a booth at the World Meeting of Families Congress Sept. 22-25. The volume will be on sale there.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, which convokes the world meetings, described the pope’s audience talks as an “organic cycle of catecheses on the family,” one that is not pure theory, but addresses “the figures and the relationships, the moments and the places, the happiness and the hardships, the successes and the failures” of many families today.
Throughout the series, the archbishop said, the pope challenged the church to rediscover how families are the foundation of its communities and how networks of Catholic families strengthen each other and reach out to others with charity and the Gospel message.
In Catholic teaching, the archbishop said, the family must be “extroverted,” recognizing it has a vocation to protect life and all creation and to promote faith, hope and love among its members and all people with whom each family comes in contact.
My colleague Carol Glatz, who wrote the Catholic News Service stories about most of the 30 talks, has summarized them and other speeches by Pope Francis about the family in this article.