In his newly released encyclical letter on ecology, Pope Francis emphasised that the family is of “central importance”, as it is “the place in which life — the gift of God — can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life”.
In the long-awaited document entitled Laudato Si (“Praise be to You”), the Holy Father also speaks about the family as one of the areas for education, along with the school, the media and catechesis, pointing that “good education plants seeds when we are young, and these continue to bear fruit throughout life”. In the family, says Pope Francis, “we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity” (n.213). It is also there that “we learn to ask without demanding, to say ‘thank you’ as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressiveness and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings”.