THE ROAD TO WARSAW
The road to Warsaw started in Rockford, Illinois at The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society in October, 2005, when a group of pro-family leaders from Mexico, Switzerland, the United States, Venezuela and Poland chose Warsaw as the site for World Congress of Families IV (WCF IV).
Participants at the first International Planning Committee Meeting for WCF IV decided that demographic winter (population decline) would be the focus of our fourth Congress, with the theme: Beyond Demographic Winter – The Natural Family as The Springtime for Nations.
Of the ten countries with the lowest birthrates worldwide, 9 are in Europe. The European Union is exacerbating the depopulation of Europe by pressuring conservative countries to accept abortion on demand and the normalization of homosexuality, as well as other attacks on the natural family.
Poland was chosen as the site for World Congress of Families IV because of its central location and strong pro-family movement. More importantly, almost alone among the nations of Europe, Poland has managed to maintain its traditions of faith and family. That makes it the special target of feminists, gay activists and other anti-family forces operating in the EU.
A second International Planning Committee meeting was held in Warsaw on May 5-7, 2006. Twentyfive pro-family leaders traveled to Poland from the U.S., Mexico, France, Kenya, Germany, Austria, Pakistan and Switzerland.
By the Numbers
Besides meeting with Mariusz Blaszczak (chief of staff to Poland’s Prime Minister) and the late Archbishop Majdanski (a survivor of Dachau and founder of the Institute for Studies of the Family, who died just a few days before the opening of the Congress), the International Planning Committee held joint sessions with the Polish host committee, developed a program and toured the conference facilities.
In November, 2006, another pre-Congress meeting, organized by Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was held in Paris. It was attended by the leaders of 60 pro-life and pro-family organizations, and was held to promote World Congress of Families IV, to learn from experts about the pressing problems confronting Europe and to form a working coalition to address these problems on a
At World Congress of Families IV, the Polish host committee, headed by Katarzyna Mazela-- including The Forum of Polish Women, The Polish Federation of Pro-Life Movements and the Association of Catholic Families-- did an exceptional job of organizing events, recruiting volunteers, fundraising, attracting local media, assuring a strong Polish presence and handling the thousand and one details that go into a successful Congress.
World Congress of Families IV owes it success to the Polish host committee, the hard work and dedication of the staff of The Howard Center, the support of 45 co-sponsors and major donors, and the commitment of the International Planning Committee and pro-family leaders around the world.
Our special thanks go to the following International Planning Committee members: Anatoli Antonov (Moscow Lomonosov State University), Kristie Bennion (International Campaign for the Family), Janice Crouse (Concerned Women for America), Patrick Fagan (The Heritage Foundation), Don Feder (Don Feder Associates), Farooq Hassan (Pakistan Family Forum), Marie- Claire Hernandez (Family and Society, Mexico), Larry Jacobs (The Howard Center), Thomas Jacobson (Focus on the Family), Christa Leonhard (European Federation for the Family), Raymond Mutura (Voice of the Family in Africa, Kenya), Victor Medkov (Moscow Lomonosov State University), Paul Mero (Sutherland Institute), Patrice Pederson (The Family Caucus), Austin Ruse (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute), William Saunders (Family Research Council), Lola Velarde (European Network Institute for Family Policies, Spain), John Vining, (Church of God), Brad Wilcox (University of Virginia) and Richard Wilkins (Doha Intl. Research Inst. For Family & Development, Qatar).
For a complete list of committee members from Poland and around the world, visit
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES
A report by Allan C. Carlson, International Secretary, World Congress of
The idea for the World Congress of Families first surfaced on a chilly January night in 1995 in the Moscow apartment of Russian artist and Orthodox layman Ivan Schevchenko.
I was visiting Russia at the invitation of sociologists at Moscow Lomonosov State University, who were trying to respond to the unraveling of family life in wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tumbling marriage and birth rates and soaring divorce and death rates were unexpected legacies of the demise of communism.
To understand why, and to compare family trends in the East and the West, the first Congress convened in Prague, in the Czech Republic, in March 1997. About 700 scholars, journalists, and pro-family leaders attended.
Concern over another development surfaced at the Prague event: the recent turn of the United Nations toward the making of family policy. U.N. conferences in Cairo, Beijing, Istanbul, and Copenhagen had focused on promoting abortion rights and the deconstruction of natural families in favor of feminist and Malthusian/population-control goals.
This situation led to the convening in November 1999 of the World Congress of Families II in Geneva, Switzerland. This time, the World Family Policy Center joined The Howard Center as a co-sponsor. Over 1,600 pro-family leaders, scholars, and parliamentarians took part in the Geneva Congress.
The Opening Session convened in The Palace of the Nations, where the Congress reaffirmed (in the words of the U.N.’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights) that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” Inspired by the Geneva Congress, six Mexican business leaders returned home to create The “Family Network,” an alliance of over 140 pro-family groups in Mexico. Representing nine million people, this organization’s leaders joined The Howard Center to host The World Congress of Families III in Mexico City, in March 2004. The primary focus of the Mexico City Congress was the natural family as the driving force in authentic economic and social development. Over 3,300 were in attendance.
We then turned to Poland. Meeting in 2005, our International Planning Committee resolved that: “Europe is almost lost; to the demographic winter and to the secularists. If Europe goes, much of the world will go with it. Almost alone, Poland has maintained strong faith and strong families, though even Poland comes under severe pressure to change. … On family and population questions, Europe is the battleground in the early years of the 21st Century, and Poland is the pivot point. We believe that it makes abundant sense that The World Congress of Families IV meet among the brave people of Poland.”
We were encouraged by the presence of a strongly pro-life and pro-family government in Poland. And we were inspired by the example of Archbishop Kasimierz Majdanski, who overcame both the Nazis and the Communists to co-found, in 1976, the Institute for Studies on the Family, in Lomianski.
We were honored by the special blessing he gave to the Congress; and we were saddened by his death only a few weeks before it convened.
Looking back on the Warsaw Congress after the passage of a month, I remain delighted by the overflow crowd approaching 4,000, by the small army of capable youth volunteers, and by the palpable energy of the event. I hope that the knowledge gained, the new alliances made, and the inspiration felt will lead to a Springtime of Nations.
OVERHEARD IN WARSAW
“I cordially welcome all of you assembled at the
World Congress of Families IV. I am glad that, for the first time, Warsaw was selected as the place of this important meeting of people of culture and science, political elites and religious communities, but most of all families from several dozen countries and continents. I accept with satisfaction the kind words of Secretary General of the Congress Allan Carlson about Poland as the bastion of strong faith and strong families in the increasingly laicizing Europe whose inhabitants are getting older.”
~Letter of welcome from Polish President Lech Kaczynski, honorary patron of WCF IV
“Legalizing same-sex marriage will drain marriage of its social meaning.”
~Lynn Wardle, professor of law, Brigham Young University
Due to Internet pornography, “we may be facing a tidal wave of lost intimacy, selfishness and crime.”
Marie-Claire Hernandez, Family and Society (Mexico)
“The vocation of marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman. The history of the 20th century demonstrates that those citizens were right who recognized the falsehood of relativism.”
~Letter from Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, Pontifical Council on the Family
“Today, we need a great charter for rights of the family and nations that defines the right to life—that would define abortion as murder. Whether three months before birth, whether 60 or 90 years old, murder is always murder. It is always a crime.”
~Polish Minister of Education Roman Giertych
“Every day, an American industry drops metric tons of toxic waste in your countries and homes. I refer to Hollywood, whose principle products … are sex, violence, perversion, nihilism, attacks on religion and a thoroughgoing anti-family ethic.” Don Feder, World Congress of Families Communications Director “All too often, what comes out of the mouth of our entertainment-controlled culture are movies such as ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘Saw 3.’ …. As President Theodore Roosevelt said, if we educate a man’s mind but not his heart, all we get is an educated barbarian. Cultural and media wisdom involves educating the heart so that it will make the right decisions, to choose the good, reject the bad and learn how to overcome evil with God’s goodness, grace and love.”
~Ted Baehr, Christian Film and Television Commission
“The family has a profoundly important connection to nature. This connection begins with the realities of reproduction, but extends to the forces that shape civilization itself. It encompasses, among other things, the positive personal, social, cultural and economic outcomes which current research suggests flow from a man learning to live with a woman – and a woman learning to live with a man – in a committed marital relationship.”
~Richard G. Wilkins, The Doha Institute for Family Studies and Development (Doha, Qatar)
“Feminists of Europe take note – The safest place for women is in the natural family. The most dangerous is cohabitating couples.”
~Patrick Fagan, The Heritage Foundation
“The rise of European cohabitation leads ineluctably to increases in lone parenthood, and we know from recent social science research that lone parenthood poses a threat to the wellbeing of children in European societies such as Norway, Sweden and England.”
~Brad Wilcox, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia
“We see a world restored in line with the intent of the Creator. We envision a culture – both local and universal – that holds the marriage of a woman to a man, and a man to a woman, as the central aspiration of the young. This culture affirms marriage as the best path to health, security and fulfillment. It casts the home built on marriage as the locus of true political sovereignty, the fountain of democracy. It holds the household framed by marriage to be the primal economic unit, a place marked by rich activity, material abundance and broad self-reliance.”
~Allan Carlson, International Secretary, World Congress of Families
“When, in any society, the natural family is denied its basic rights to care for its members, or when it is deprived of its social and legal protections, it very soon becomes victim of the aggressive forces that promote killing on a massive scale and stands before these forces vulnerable to their depredations.”
~Fr. Thomas Euteneur, Human Life International
“Today, more than ever before throughout the world, there is a need to think of the family, because when you protect the family, you are protecting society and the nation.”
~Letter from Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala Gomez Del Campo
“The state did not create the family;
rather, families created the state,”
Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey
“Some actively promote and implement a very aggressive anti-life, anti-faith, anti-family agenda behind closed doors.”
~Catherine Vierling, European Forum for Human Rights
“The natural family structure represents the best familial structure science and the laws of nature can offer us. It is flexible and resilient. Its component members are complimentary and form an efficient ecology of service and support. … its intergenerational bonds help to share the load of daily life.”
~Paul T. Mero, The Sutherland Institute
see birthrates as low as1.2 in Italy and 1.15 in Spain. Anything under 2.1
cannot even replace the current population. So we’re really seeing an
historical trend that will take us back to the Dark Ages, and really
collapse Europe into another dark time, as far as population is concerned.”
~Larry Jacobs, Global Coordinator, World Congress of Familie
“Europe has espoused not only anti-natalist policies of all kinds, but policies of sexual permissiveness which are proven to create infertility on a wide scale. This is grave, but graver still is that the pressure, through persuasion and tax structure, to put babies massively into day care is creating a future generation of emotionally deprived, disturbed young people incapable of attachment or of facing the great challenges of an aging population.”
~Christine de Vollmer, Latin American Alliance for The Family
“The left wants every aspect of life regulated except sex. Sex advances their reshaping of society.”
Culture And Media Institute of the Media Research Center
“By calling upon family members to sacrifice for each other, the family teaches the child how to be a future family leader and a member of society, and prepares the child for his life as a parent and as an adult citizen.”
~Austin Ruse, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute
“In the United States, in the last three years, we have seen an unprecedented response by the community of faith, represented mostly by local churches and their pastors, to a very direct attack to the sanctity of marriage, namely, an assault on the definition of marriage.”
~Tom Minnery, Focus On The Family
“The greatest challenge confronting the West is a crisis of the proper understanding of the human person. The problem consists of faulty anthropology that detaches human freedom from the truth and values the person in strictly individualistic and materialistic terms.”
~Patrick Kelly, Knights of Columbus
“As families seek to protect their children, parents need to be reminded that children have specific needs which affect how they will respond to their families, communities and the world.”
~Don Schmierer, His Servants
N a t i
o n s
Scholars, authors, activists and office holders all made their voices heard
at World Congress of Families IV. They included Roman Giertych (Deputy Prime
Minister and Polish Minister of Education),
Marek Jurek (speaker of the
Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey
(Assistant Secretary of State for
Population, Refugees and Migration),
(executive secretary, Kenya Episcopal Conference),
Carlo Casini (member of the European Parliament),
Inese Slesere (member of the Latvian Parliament),
Christine de Vollmer
(president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family),
(general secretary, European Forum for Human Rights),
Dana Rosemary Scalon (former MP, European Parliament),
Paul Mero (Sutherland Institute),
(Family and Society, Mexico),
Angela Conway (Australian Family Association),
Gwen Landolt (Real Women
Ted Baehr (Christian Film and Television
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer (Human Life International),
Patrick Kelly (Knights of Columbus),
(Lomonossov University, Moscow),
Cameron (Center for Bioethics and Public Policy,
Janice Crouse (Beverly LaHaye Institute of Concerned Women For America),
Farooq Hassan (Barrister at Law, Pakistan),
(Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and
Austin Ruse (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute)
There were letters of support from Polish President
Lech Kaczynski, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo
(president of the Pontifical Council on the Family) and
Mexican First Lady Margarita Zabala Gomez
Break-out sessions included: “Media and The
Natural Family,” “Pro-Family Initiatives,” “Marriage As a
Social Good–Why Get Married,” “The Attack On Traditional Marriage,”
“Impact of Pornography on the
Family,” “Hollywood And the Family,”
“Promoting And Protecting The Large Family,”
“Bioethics–21st Century Challenge to Human Dignity,”
“Beyond the Contraceptive Mentality,” “Legalized
Euthanasia or Family Care” and “Faith and Family.”
For most of the plenary sessions, the 3,000-seat
Congress Hall was filled to capacity.
In fact, on line registration was closed two days before the event because
maximum capacity had been reached. Audience participation in the break-out sessions reflected a high
level of enthusiasm.
On Saturday,May12,aspecial Inter-parliamentary Forum was held at Warsaw’s Family
Participants included MPs from Europe, as well as
members of the Polish parliament. Participants
discussed strategies for implementing pro-family and
Additionally, the Virginia-based Leadership Institute held a student
training session covering communications and political activism for 190 participants, including many Polish university students.
On Sunday morning, Latin American delegates
met separately to discuss the implementation of a common pro-family strategy for their region.
Between sessions, delegates had an opportunity
to browse the more than 50 exhibits (in a filled-to capacity hall)
operated by pro-family groups from
Poland, Mexico, Italy, the United States
and other nations.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF WCF IV
Media coverage of Warsaw 2007 was nothing short of spectacular, including a BBC interview with Allan Carlson, an Associated Press story, coverage on Fox News and stories in The Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, The Washington Post, New York Post, Newsday, Deseret News, The Guardian, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Denver Post, Forth Worth Star Telegram, Seattle Post Intelligencer, International Herald Tribune, WorldNetDaily, The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, Focus on The Family News, American Family Radio, and Associated Baptist Press.
There was saturation coverage in the Polish media. A Google search on the first day of the Congress found over 140 significant news stories on WCF IV worldwide. Here are a few examples:
“Many prominent U.S. conservative groups are shifting their attention overseas this week, organizing a conference in Poland that will decry Europe’s liberal social policies and portray the host nation as a valiant holdout bucking those trends.”
The Associated Press
“Group Emphasizes ‘Marriage is good for Society’… It’s a simple statement but one, in today’s world, that needs defending. That’s why the 3,000 attendees from more than 60 countries at the World Congress of Families are hearing that message again and again.”
Family News In Focus
“In the late 1960s, warnings of a ‘population’ bomb that would doom Earth’s
inhabitants spawned movements of fervent activists prone to wag a finger at
strolling couples with multiple offspring in tow. Nearly 40 years later,
crunching the demographic numbers reveals a looming catastrophe – but of the
completely opposite kind, some contend. The conveners of a major world gathering
commencing today in the Polish capital argue Europe – the progenitor of Western
civilization – is on a steep population decline that will make the continent
increasingly hard to recognize in the coming decades.” WorldNetDaily
organizers, including founder Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center for
Family, Religion and Society, view the ‘natural family’ – husband, wife and
children – as the universal template, with other social influences and family
forms either helping or harming it. The 3,000 expected pro-family leaders,
activists, scholars and political leaders will hear about marital fidelity,
abortion, pornography, cohabitating, work and religion. Session topics include
‘Children as Treasures: Welcoming More Babies and Larger Families,’ ‘The Mother
in the Home and the New Home Economics’ and ‘The Attack on Marriage as the Union
of Woman and Man.’” The Washington Times
“The World Congress of Families IV
ended Sunday with delegates approving a declaration intended for international
policymakers at the United Nations and elsewhere. The declaration calls on
governing and political bodies to mainstream the family in public policy
issues.” Deseret Morning News
VOICES OF WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES IV
Delegates offered insights into the
proceeding and what World Congress of Families IV meant to them.
from all over the world recognizes the necessity of protecting the family as the
cornerstone of civilization. Without the family, you have nothing.” Christine Carmouche, independent entrepreneur from Washington, D.C.
“The Church has many
family congresses, but this is one of the few that brings together people of
many faiths and cultures under one banner – the family. This Congress is one of
people who believe in the family – mom, dad, and kids. You might say, we are the
family who believes in the family.” Father Bennett Tierney, native of Limerick,
“I came to the Congress because I wanted to get an insight to start
something new to help the family. The Congress showed me how active the
pro-family scene is. I thought it was dead. The family is the basic, fundamental
of the whole society. It’s the foundation for happiness and fulfillment – your
personal identity.” Johannes Humpert, student of international business at
Vienna University of Economics and Business
“As a volunteer, I was impressed by
the huge contributions of the participants, their willingness to share
experiences and pass on the knowledge they have. Instead of coming here just to
talk, they are looking for real solutions.” Jakub Kubica, student at
Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland
“I think the Congress is very
important because it brings together people with a common ap proach to family
issues. The Congress provides knowledge – up-todate knowledge – of current
family issues. The speakers are fabulous. Each of them was unique.” James Mbui
Maina, Kenya, soon-to-be candidate for the Kenyan Parliament
“When I go back to
my campus in the fall, I’ll be better prepared to confront abortion advocates
and students whose lifestyles aren’t preparing them for a healthy marriage and
family life.” Andrea Summers, student at Arizona State University
“We thank you
for all the work you are doing for the protection of families of the world,”
from a Declaration of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights for Protection of
Family Rights in the Nordic Countries
LOOKING TO THE
With World Congress of Families IV – our most successful Congress to date – now behind us, we can look to the future with strategic vision and excitement.
Delegates left Warsaw determined to maintain the momentum of the largest, international pro-family gathering. At a number of side meetings, leaders from around the world pledged to continue networking and working together to counter anti-family initiatives in the European Union, United Nations and other international forums.
projects currently being planned or considered are:
An Electronic Newsletter – This would be published monthly or twice monthly. The e-newsletter will allow the World Congress of Families leadership to maintain communications with pro-family leaders, activists, scholars and officials worldwide. The publication (which will be launched this summer) will contain news of upcoming WCF events, commentary on issues relevant to the family, book reviews, and links to research reports and scholarly papers
Press Releases – From the months preceding the Congress through Warsaw, the World Congress of Families issued over 50 press releases and media advisories on developments affecting the family in the United States, Europe, Mexico and elsewhere. According to Google.com, over 150 significant news articles were published on the World Congress of Families in May. We will continue to make our voice heard in the media through regular press releases.
Regional Meetings – Our goal is to promote pro-family education and activism
in Europe, Latin America, North America and Africa. Allan Carlson has been
invited to address members of the Parliament of Latvia this fall. Preliminary
interest has been expressed in having forums in Slovakia, Canada, Ireland and
A Vehicle For On-Going Involvement of Co-Sponsors – We are creating a
partnership vehicle through which our WCF IV co-sponsors can be involved with
the Congress on an on-going basis. Our 45 cosponsors added immeasurably to the
success of Warsaw 2007.
World Congress of Families V
In the next few months, a special session will
be held to develop a strategic vision, operating structure and process for
selecting a site for World Congress of Families V. We invite you to submit
suggestions or written proposals to Larry Jacobs (Global Coordinator of the
World Congress of Families)
ANTI-FAMILY FORCES REACT TO WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES IV
If you can gauge an organization’s effectiveness by the response of its
opponents, World Congress of Families is becoming a formidable force in the
fight to preserve the natural family. Here are a few reactions from the other
“The weekend’s The World Congress of Families in Poland will be a
veritable who’s who of homo-haters.” on “Queerfeed: The Gay News Wire”
jamboree for people who very often find themselves outside the mainstream.
They’re living the fantasy for a couple of days of what the world would be like
if their ideas prevailed.” Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Free Choice
Congresses of Family’s “objective is to reverse progressive social initiatives
on reproductive rights, gay rights and population issues, particularly those
negotiated at the United Nations.” Ms Magazine
Allan Carlson is a “rightwing,
‘family-values’ ideologue,” while the World Congress of Families “inveighs
against abortion, same-sex marriage and secularism.” Katha Pollitt in The Nation
“Rallying around the homophobic flagpole, World Congress participants cheered at
the news that the Polish government would not be cowed by the European Union,
which has warned Poland that its anti-gay policies might cost the country its
voting rights.” “Exporting Hate,” in Lavender Magazine
WCF is “the most
important manifestation to date of this new form of inter-doctrinal
collaboration based on deeply conservative values which unite the most
reactionary believers of different faiths.” The Guardian
“There’s also been an
attempt to create an International Religious Right (through) the World Congress
of Families, which is a group that brings together fundamentalists of different
religions to form a common front against secularism and liberalism.” Michelle
Goldberg (author of “Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism”)
interviewed on secular humanism.org
LEFTISTS IN EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ATTACK WCF IV
In a March 28th
letter, 19 Members of the European Parliament urged Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey—
Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration — to
withdraw from World Congress of Families IV. (Sauerbrey spoke on May 11, on
“Promoting Strong Families As A Foreign Policy Goal”)
In their letter, the MEPs
charged that some involved in the Congress have “extremist and intolerant
views,” including “prejudiced attitudes toward foreigners, people from other
religions, homosexuals, and the inclusive vision of what represents a family
unit that has been developed by the United Nations and European Union.”
those singled out for censure were Steven Mosher of the Population Research
Institute (for speaking of the “demographic destruction” of Europe) and Fr.
Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International.
The letter also attacked Cardinal
Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, for allegedly making “dangerous and unscientific
statements about condom use to prevent HIV and AIDS.
“The arrogance of this
letter is staggering,” said Allan Carlson, International Secretary of the World
Congress of Families.
“Besides attacking the head of the Pontifical Council on
the Family, a group of European politicians have empowered themselves as the
ultimate authorities on hotly debated scientific issues.”
The letter also urged Sauerbrey to boycott the Congress because Polish President Lech Kaczynski
(honorary patron of WCF IV) had denied permits for gay pride parades when he was
mayor of Warsaw.
Carlson (who called the letter “an act of desperation”)
observed: “On one point, the MEPs are correct: Our concept of the family differs
markedly from their own. Ours is millennia-old, based on tradition and faith,
and proven to work. Their vision leads to social dissolution, demographic
decline, a failure to socialize the young, and a lack of hope in the future. No
wonder they dread an open hearing for our ideas.”