Marriage, like the priesthood, “serves to build up the People of God” and confers a special mission to spouses in the edification of the Church. The family is a “domestic Church”, the place in which the sacramental presence of Christ acts between spouses and between parents and children. In this sense, “the experience of love in families is a perennial source of strength for the life of the Church”, constantly enriched by the life of all the domestic Churches. Therefore, by virtue of the Sacrament of marriage, every family becomes to full effect a good for the Church.
Co-responsibility for the mission therefore calls upon married couples and ordained ministers, especially bishops, to cooperate in a fruitful manner in the care and custody of the domestic Churches. Therefore, we pastors must let ourselves be enlightened by the Spirit, so that this salvific proclamation may be realised by married couples who are often there, ready, but not called upon. If, on the other hand, we call to them, we call them to work with us, if we give them space, they can make their contribution to the construction of the ecclesial fabric. Just as the warp and the weft of the masculine and feminine, in their complementarity, combine to make up the tapestry of the family, so too the sacraments of Holy Orders and marriage are both indispensable to building up the Church as a “family of families”. In this way we will be able to have a pastoral care of families in which one breathes fully the spirit of ecclesial communion. Indeed, this is “likened to an ‘organic’ communion, analogous to that of a living and functioning body … characterised by a diversity and a complementarity of vocations and states in life”
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