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 CNS Story:

SYNOD-ANDERSON Oct-30-2012 (460 words) With photo. xxxi

By virtue of sacrament, Catholic spouses are missionaries, knight says

Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, is pictured before meeting of Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization at the Vatican Oct. 26. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The sacrament of matrimony makes Catholic spouses and their families public signs of God's love and thus missionaries, said the head of the Knights of Columbus.

The missionary power of the Catholic family goes beyond any specific commitment they make to a particular project of evangelization or social or political reform, Carl A. Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, told the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization.

Anderson was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be an observer at the synod, which ended Oct. 28. Synod members asked the church at large to show greater appreciation for the evangelization that happens in and through families and to increase programs to strengthen Catholic families.

"Love, which the family has the task of living and communicating, is the driving force of evangelization," Anderson told the synod. "It is what allows the proclamation of the Gospel to permeate and transform the whole temporal order. This love alone, when it is authentically lived in families, can be at the basis of a renewal of that genuinely human culture which Blessed John Paul II called a 'civilization of love.'"

Catholic couples need to understand just how seriously the church views the sacrament that binds them together, forming them into "an icon of God's own communion" of love in the Holy Trinity, Anderson said.

Once Catholic families recognize their importance -- even before they undertake any kind of outreach project -- they can be "a place of healing and of humanity for the men and women of our time," he said.

Anderson also spoke to the synod of the Catholic faith as an agent of reconciliation in a sometimes-hostile cultural environment.

Referring to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Anderson told the synod, "Five centuries ago, Mary appeared in our hemisphere during a great clash of civilizations. In her, the native peoples saw a true reflection of themselves and at the same time a perfect expression of a new inculturation of the Christian faith. Her message of reconciliation, unity and love brought forth the great evangelization of an entire hemisphere."

Today, too, he said, there are signs of "a great clash of civilizations made more troubling by an accelerating process of globalization," so Catholics should invoke Our Lady of Guadalupe to help them renew a process of reconciliation, unity and love.

Anderson also spoke about threats to the church's freedom in many parts of the world.

"Whether these threats arise from a militant religious fundamentalism or a militant atheism," he said, "the globalization of such threats, and the complicity of many governments with them, call us to a new solidarity in the defense of religious liberty as a condition of the new evangelization."


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