Archbishop Francis Chullikatt told a gathering of UN delegates and NGO representatives celebrating the International Day of Families that children also do not belong “to any special interest group whose agendas are actually inimical to the very existence of children. As children are our future, could we ever be satisfied with leaving that future to people who don’t even want to permit the children to draw their first breath.”
Chullikatt has been in the UN battle for years and has found that the unborn child is perhaps the most controversial figure at UN headquarters.
Chullikatt chaired a panel that included Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who was in the United States to plan what may be Pope Francis’s first trip to the United States next year for the World Meeting of Families to take place in Philadelphia.
Paglia also had strong words on life and family issues. Several times in a twenty minute talk he referred to the importance of “male and female” and “parent and child” in the definition of the family.
He said, “the family not only ‘matters,’ it is rather at the very heart of human development, indispensable and irreplaceable, and at the same time beautiful and welcoming.”
The celebration of the International Day of Families comes during heated ongoing negotiations to replace the Millennium Development Goals with the Sustainable Development Goals which will be a set of agreed outcomes governments will committee time and treasure to. As with the sunsetting MDGs, the SDGs may or may not contain abortion friendly language. Such language was repeatedly rejected in the MDGs and a multi-year multi-front war is going on with abortion activists insisting that abortion language appear in the new document set to go into effect in 2015.
Paglia quoted the recent talk to UN chiefs in Rome by Pope Francis, “…human life is sacred and inviolable from conception to its natural ending…” He quoted the Pope’s criticism of the “economy of exclusion,” a “throw-away culture,” and a “culture of death,” all references to abortion.
American Donna Bethell, chairman of the board of Christendom College in Virginia, told delegates, “…totalitarian regimes of the left always tried to co-opt the role of parents in influencing the education and formation of their children. They wanted families to produce more little communists and fascists.” Bethell called for “counterattack, to rally all available forces to reestablish the indispensable unit of the family founded on marriage as the societal norm.”
Other speakers included a Muslim diplomat and a Jewish leader both of whom spoke in favor of the traditional family and against efforts to manipulate the family to fit current ideological trends.
The fact that the UN now calls the day the International Day of Families shows how controversial the topic is. Families is usually used by the political left to include a broad definition while “the family” is used by conservatives to underline a more traditional definition. The UN debate is, after all, about ideas but also words and how they are used.