At the heart of the Holy Father’s speech to those gathered was the family.
The Pope noted that this year is the 20th anniversary of Blessed Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus and the 30th anniversary of his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio as well as 100 years after Pope Leo XIII historic work Rerum Novum.
Pope Benedict said that “in these 120 years of development of the social doctrine of the Church in the world, great changes have occurred”.
But he added, despite these advances the core of the internal social teaching, which has always been to promote the human person and the family has not altered.
“The Second Vatican Council,” the Holy Father continued, “spoke of the family in terms of the domestic church, as the "untouchable sanctuary. Even the economy, he said with its laws must always consider the interest and the protection of this primary cell of society.”
Referring to the work of the foundation's participants, the Pope said they will have seen the difficult situation many are experiencing, in term of a crisis of work and the economy that is accompanied by a family crisis.
The Pope noted conflict between couples and in families, as well as a lack of jobs was creating a complex situation.
What it requires underlined Pope Benedict “was a new harmonious synthesis between family and work, to which the social doctrine of the Church can offer her valuable contribution”.
In his concluding remarks to the group, the Holy Father said it was not for the Church to define ways to tackle the economic crisis. However, he added that Christians have a duty to denounce wrong doing, to testify and to keep alive the values that underpin human dignity and to promote those forms of solidarity that promote the common good, so that humanity will become more and more the family of God .