Family and Future in Africa

Speech of Archbishop Paglia in Kigali

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On September 20th afternoon, Archbishop Paglia has spoken to the priests, lay people and pastoral workers in the Archdiocese of Kigali. Mons. Paglia was accompanied by Msgr. Antoine Kambanda, Archbishop of Kigali. "The family and the protection of life" was the subject treated by Abp. Paglia, who pointed out that the challenges to family unity are the same in the world. In Africa, despite the strength of local culture, the family lives the same threats: disintegration of family unity, economic and social pressures, birth rate, loss of strength of the ecclesial vision. But in any case the family is always the center of society and the center of the person's formation.

"Life - said Archbishop Paglia - never exists as an abstract reality, as a concept or as an idea. No, human life is always a concrete life, in a time and a place, in a relationship plot that generates, protects and evokes it. Life, in short, is us, it is each of us, throughout its existence, and the whole of humanity in its today and tomorrow. It is precisely this relocation in the concrete of the reports which makes it possible to consider in an efficient way the great debates which take place on the topic of the family and the life.

Pope Francis understood this intimate connection so well that even at the institutional level he wanted to link the two great centers of academic reflection on the family and on life (the John Paul II Institute and the Pontifical Academy for Life), and he unified in one Dicastery the pastoral care of these realities. It is rather sterile and ineffective to defend life in itself, regardless of the constituent and vital places in which it develops, as it makes no sense to speak or defend the family per se, without considering concrete subjects, places and times when this fertile alliance develops, as Amoris Laetitia number 3 admirably recalls.

The eminently humane quality that the family form offers to life is the greatest response to all these practices (political, social and even medical) that want to separate the generation from the love that makes us be and protect. Putting human life back into the family context (in the origin and in the task) means pronouncing the strongest word against this culture that invades the West, and of which the African continent can not claim to be immune, namely individualism. absolute (ab-solutus), melted in relationships with others. No one is an island. We are all connected to each other. And we are in analogy with family ties: we are all sons, all brothers and all sisters".