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May it be so



Allan C. Carlson Ph.D.


Opening remarks to The World Congress of Families IV Warsaw, Poland, 11 May 2007

We gather here in the historic city of Warsaw in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  We acknowledge that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society” and that it “is entitled to protection by society and the state.”  We understand that the Natural Family is not some arbitrary construct, evolving over time.  Rather, the Natural Family is a fixed aspect of human nature, immutable in its essential characteristics, universal to humankind. 

Meeting during May 1998 in the eternal city of Rome, in a room dating from the Second Century BC, a working group of the World Congress of Families crafted a definition of The Natural Family, which deserves our attention. “The natural family,” as the group resolved, “is the fundamental social unit, inscribed by the Creator in human nature, and centered around the voluntary union of a man and a woman in a lifelong covenant of marriage for the purposes of:  satisfying the longings of the human heart to give and receive love; welcoming and ensuring the full physical and emotional development of children; sharing a home that serves as the center of social, educational, economic, and spiritual life; building strong bonds among the generations, passing on a way of life that has transcendent meaning; and extending a hand of compassion to individuals and households whose circumstances fall short of these ideals.”

This definition has held up well.  All the same, the Natural Family faces a new time of crisis.  Militant secularism would stamp out the religious and spiritual sentiments that animate the family home.  Sexual radicals would twist and distort the procreative act, turning it away from the creation of new life.  Neo-Malthusians would accelerate the disappearance of nations and the depopulation of the earth.  Gender extremists would dissolve the wonderful complementarity of man and woman, of husband and wife.  Social engineers would alter the very fabric of human marriage.

In this context, critics of our pro-family movement complain that we are reactionaries, known only by those things we oppose.  Alas, it is true that at times our stand for the natural family does become too reaction, too defensive.  This is one of the reasons that Paul Mero and I wrote, now two years ago, The Natural Family: A Manifesto.  We wanted to provide a real sense of our moment in history, and offer a positive vision of the world as it could and should be.

I am pleased to report that the book-length version of The Natural Family: A Manifesto, has just been published, in anticipation of this Congress.  At its heart lie two paragraphs providing a new vision and a fresh statement of principles and goals appropriate for the twenty-first century and the third millennium. 

As Paul and I write:  “We see a world restored in line with the intent of its Creator.  We vision 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 for 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 also holds the household framed by marriage to be the primal economic unit, a place marked by rich activity, material abundance, and broad self-reliance.  This culture treasures private property in family hands as the rampart of independence and liberty.  It celebrates the marital sexual union as the unique source of new human life.  We see these homes as open to a full quiver of children, the source of family continuity and social growth.  We vision young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers; and we see young men growing into husbands, homebuilders, and fathers.” 

“We see true happiness as the product of persons emeshed in vital bonds with spouses, children, parents, and kin.  We look to a landscape of family homes, lawns, and gardens busy with useful tasks and ringing with the laughter of many children.  We envision parents as the first educators of their children.  We see homes that also embrace extended family members who need special care due to age or infirmity.  We view neighborhoods, villages, and townships as the second locus of political sovereignty.   We envision a freedom of commerce that respects and serves family integrity.  And we look to nation-states that hold the protection of the natural family to be their first responsibility.”

That is our positive vision of world rightly ordered, where both freedom and virtue might thrive.  Our Manifesto ends with a “Call,” which Paul and I also offer to this great assembly:  “A new spirit spreads in the world, the essence of the natural family.  We call on all people of goodwill, whose hearts are open to the promptings of this spirit, to unite in a great campaign.  The time is close when the persecution of the natural family, when the war against children, when the assault on human nature shall end.”

“The enemies of the natural family grow worried.  A triumph that, not so many years ago, they thought complete is no longer sure.  Their fury grows.  So do their attempts, ever more desperate, at coercion.  Yet their mistakes also mount in number.  They misread human nature.  They misread the times.”

“We all are called to be the actors, the moral soldiers, in this drive to realize the life ordained for us by our Creator.  Our foes are dying, of their own choice; we have a world to gain.  Natural families of all races, nations, and creeds, let us unite.”

May it be so.






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