FAFCE

Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

Press Release | Family Associations ask for more solidarity in Europe

 
 
 
Brussels, 18 March 2020
 
No European family should feel to be left alone by the institutions, in a moment where fear and disorientation seem to prevail, we wish to reaffirm the fundamental importance of the family: the corona-virus outbreak in Europe is also an occasion to rediscover that the family has a very basic function as primary social unity of our communities. This is also an occasion for national and European institutions to do so.
 
In these difficult times, our organisations support solidarity among the member States and trust on the financial coordinating role of the European institutions which guarantees the effectiveness of the initiatives to be carried out in favour of the families.
 
Namely, at the European level, it is high time to show the adherence to the basic principles that unite all of us: solidarity, subsidiarity and common good.
 
Vincenzo Bassi, FAFCE President
Antoine Renard, FAFCE Honorary President
Cornel Barbut, FAFCE Vice-President and Vice-President of 'Vladimir Ghika' Association, Romania
Alfred Trendl, FAFCE Treasurer, President of the Austrian Catholic Family Associations
Ulrich Hoffmann, President of the German Catholic Family Association
Željka Markić, President of "In the Name of the Family", Croatia
Carlos Cremades, President of the Spanish Family Union
Ignacio García-Juliá, President of the Spanish Family Forum
José Castro Velarde, President of the Association Enraizados, Spain
Pascale Morinière, President of the French National Confederation of Catholic Family Associations
László Bíró, President of the Hungarian Catholic Family Association
Edit Frivaldszky, Director of the Human Dignity Center, Hungary
Liam Ó hAlmhain, President of Family Solidarity, Ireland
Gianluigi De Palo, President of the Italian Forum of Family Associations
Angelika Weichsel Mitterrutzner, President of the Catholic Family Association of South Tyrol, Italy
Arthur Galea Salomone, President of Cana Movement, Malta
Miriam Sciberras, Chairman of the LifeNetwork Foundation Malta
​Jakub Bałtroszewicz, President of the Polish Pro-Life and Family Federation
Carlos Aguiar Gomes, President of the Portuguese Family Association and President of the International Institute Familiaris Consortio
Stanislav Trnovec, President of the Large Family Club, Slovakia
Igor Vovk, President of the Iskreni Institute, Slovenia
 
WhatsApp Image 2020-03-19 at 09.39.12

Press Release | Coronavirus: let's rediscover our relationships

Paris - Rome, 16 March 2020

 

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“It is not good for man to be alone”. In this context of the pandemic, it is indeed loneliness which risks being spread. Family remains as the only remedy.

Over the past days, the public health crisis of the Coronavirus has escalated to unprecedented levels all over Europe and the coordination seems to be very difficult. Our President, Vincenzo Bassi, delivered the following message: “We would like to express our warmest wishes to all the families in Europe, to all the mothers and fathers of families, without whom we would not be able to overcome this phase. It is not easy to stay together for a long time in houses that quickly become narrow. But at the same time, we live this moment as an opportunity to rediscover our human relationships and recognise the essential role of the family for our societies. The emergency measures taken for families must be universal and automatic: they must not be dependent on income nor involve bureaucratic procedures but should be easily accessible to all".

Our Honorary President, Antoine Renard, underlines the service rendered by the family to society as a whole: “In these moments of emergency, the doctors and all the nursing staff are supported by their families, as are the most vulnerable people such as the elderly". Today there are around 44 million single-person households in Europe, and 32% of people over the age of 65 live alone.

Each family should be able to take care of their elders and family associations must be supported in their service to families and to those who are alone: "We must ensure by all possible means this contact with the elderly and be very pro-active to maintain these relationships and avoid loneliness”, affirms Antoine Renard.

Vincenzo Bassi, finally recalls that “In this crisis, we all have our share of responsibility vis-à-vis the common good. We thank the Holy Father for his wishes, made clear through the Holy Mass transmitted online every morning at 7:00 am.By keeping at the minimum level the measures to reduce the access to the sacraments, Pastors can assist us in becoming aware of God's action in history, which allows us to perceive this virus as a new opportunity. Families in particular are called to rediscover themselves as domestic churches, the primary place for the transmission of faith. Advice for the domestic liturgy is already reviewed online and new technologies offer us alternatives to stay connected in prayer”. Let’s not forget that, since 2016, a Holy Mass has been celebrated every morning at 8:00 am in the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa for the intention of all families across Europe.

Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas!

 Best wishes for a

 wonderful Christmas!

 

Brussels, 20 December 2019

Dear Friends,

The end of the year is often a moment of final summaries. But this time around resembles a preamble for a new beginning. For many reasons.

As my predecessor wrote in the Easter message (20 April 2019), some days after the Notre Dame fire, “The ashes on the Ile de la Cité remind us of the spiritual ashes of Europe. It is urgent to overcome any kind of conformism and distorted secularism
”. And we try to do so, bringing a healthy realism with our work, with hope. An important step in this direction was taken by our Federation at the Board Meeting hosted by our Member in Malta, the Cana Movement: there, on the occasion of the International Day of the Family, we issued a Board Resolution on Rebuilding Europe Restarting from the Family (15 May 2019).

People in Europe can no longer accept having a child is one of the main reasons of poverty in many EU Member States. Families in Europe are tired of being considered as a burden, while they are in reality the first engine of economic development for our countries, the only social reality capable to grant a future to our continent.

For that reason, we gave our contribution to the European elections Campaign with a manifesto that our Members proposed to all candidates, calling for a European Natality Pact. This was the result of a joint work of all of our Member Associations and resulted in a solid group of Members of the European Parliament who share our principles and concerns.

Also thanks to them, the European Parliament has now an intergroup on Demographic Challenges, Family-Work Balance and Youth Transitions: this is an interinstitutional forum of dialogue between Members of the Parliament, Civil Society and the European Commission.

The biggest surprise for us this year came precisely from the new European Commission: one of its Vice-Presidents, Dubravka Šuica, will be responsible for Demography and Democracy. At our last Board Meeting, in Brussels, we issued a Board Resolution with a new Call for a European Natality Pact (9 October 2019), but we did not expect that the new Commission was finally going to have a clear focus on demography: in the upcoming year we will see whether this is just a communication strategy, or if we can really say that – as we hope and as someone recently wrote – “demography is not anymore the elephant in the room” of European public policies.

Other positive signs came from Poland, where Barbara Socha was recently appointed as Commissioner for Demography and from Hungary, where we met the Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs, Katalin Novak, who is doing an excellent job in favour of long-term family policies that really have positive effects on economic development. At the same time, we note more negative trends in Italy, where no initiative for family policies has been taken, in France, where the voice of civil society is not taken into account both for ethical and social reforms, and in Spain, where the new administration withdrew the public support to our partner El Foro de la Familia, received without any interruption since 2003. It is not just a financial matter, but the role of a pluralistic civil society is at stake.

In fact, we need a renewed culture of the encounter, capable to overcome individualism and a throwaway culture: even the best family policy can be superfluous, if it is not accompanied by a new cultural recognition of the generative function of the family and of the role of family associations.

An important moment in this respect has been the Assembly of the Forum of International Catholic-Inspired NGOs, which took place two weeks ago in Rome, under the auspices of the Holy See. We exchanged together with the Vatican Dicasteries, about how to better cooperate toward a “more inclusive society”. Pope Francis received us all, saying that "today's world is calling for new boldness and new imagination in opening new paths of dialogue and cooperation, in order to promote a 'culture of encounter', where, in accordance with the creative plan of God, the dignity of every human person is foremost".

With the conscience of this responsibility and with a thought to all the families that will not be able to celebrate Christmas because of the persecution of their faith, we kindly ask you to continue to support us in our work, thanks to your generous contributions and above all through your prayers.

Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas, 

 

Vincenzo Bassi
President

Charles Le Brun, "L'Adoration des bergers ", Musée du Louvre 

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. He shall be called 

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God, 

Everlasting Father, 

Prince of Peace".

                                     Isaiah 9,6

 

Press Release | 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: our Common responsibility

 

 Brussels, 20 November 2019


On the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), FAFCE recalls the importance of caring for our children, with a special attention on their well-being through an adequate education. In a context of human rights inflation, it is important to recall what children rights cover.


Children’s Rights are Human Rights
Human rights concern every human person, children included. A child has a right to life, to have a mother and a father, who have the responsibility to care for him. Indeed, as our President, Vincenzo Bassi, pointed out, “since most children do not have yet the capacity to exercise their rights, it is the parent responsibility to care for them”. It is therefore impossible to distinguish children rights from family rights, as a child is directly dependent on his parents. For example, child poverty is family poverty. The difference between those two different “rights”- human rights and children rights - is only theorical. In practice, children rights are the family’s responsibility to care for the upbringing of their child, as the first and essential level of community.


Education and Parents’ Responsibility
Consequently, education is first a parent’s responsibility, as recalled by the Article 18 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: “Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child.” Parents have the primary right to educate their child according to their religious and moral beliefs, including dimensions of human love and related matters concerning the nature of sexuality, marriage and the family.


Recognizing the role of the family to better respect the best interest of the child
In a context of demographic deficit and aging population, children are the future of Europe. Today’s society has the duty to build a safe environment for them to grow in. States and international institutions need to recognize the role of the family and its contribution to the common good. When celebrating children’s rights we cannot avoid to recall our common responsibility for our future.

 

Press Release | FAFCE Board: Call for a European Natality Pact

 Brussels, 10 October 2019

FAFCE Members gathered this week in Brussels, where they adopted a new Resolution for a European Natality Pact (here) and renewed the Bureau, by electing Vincenzo Bassi (Forum delle Famiglie, Italy) as new President and confirming Cornel Barbut (Association of Catholic Families 'Vladimir Ghika', Romania) as Vice-President and Alfred Trendl (Katholischer Familienverband, Austria) as Treasurer. Antoine Renard, outgoing President, was warmly thanked by his generous and fruitful service and has been nominated as Honorary President of FAFCE.

He declared: "We are happy to hand over to our Italian friends the responsability of the FAFCE Presidency, after now 10 years". Antoine Renard took the FAFCE Presidency in 2009, on behalf of the National Confederation of Catholic Families Associations in France (CNAFC). "At this Board Meeting - he said - we saw how our Federation is first and foremost a community where we confront our ideas together, we dialogue, putting into practice ourselves what we ask to the European institutions: to never dissociate subsidiarity and solidarity".

After his election, Vincenzo Bassi declared: "We continue the great work done in all these years, developing it and seizing the great window of opportunities opened with a  portfolio on demography in the new European Commission. The demographic issue is an urgent question for all Countries in Europe and for their development. Our ultimate goal is that everybody, States, societies and EU and international institutions, recognize the role of the family, at the service of the whole society".

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