Pro-Family Nations and NGOs Celebrate 25th International Day of Families

By | May 17, 2019

Austin Ruse presenting the Maximilian Kolbe Award to Mrs. Christine Vollmer

NEW YORK, May 17 (C-Fam) UN member states and civil society gathered at UN headquarters to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the International Year of the Family during an event titled “It Takes a Family” on May 15, the International Day of Families.

“Thirty years ago, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 1994 The International Year of the Family with the objective of creating among Governments, policy-makers and the public a greater awareness of the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society. Sadly, all too often this objective remains elusive,” said Cathy Ruse, Senior Counsel at the Family Research Council who chaired the event.

Delegations who spoke at the event did not mince words when it came to assigning responsibility as to why it is difficult even to speak of the family at UN headquarters. They blamed socially progressive countries for holding the world hostage to foreign agendas. Delegates called on the UN system to protect and defend the “traditional family.”

Representatives from Belarus, Egypt, Qatar, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia also complained about attempts to erode the understanding of the family as natural and fundamental group unit of society enshrined in international law and pledged their continued support to protection of the family.

“Unfortunately, both the natural family and fundamental rights of parents are restricted in many countries around the world,” said the Russian Federation, adding that they were concerned with “dangerous attempts at the international level, and in particular in the UN, to adopt documents in order to restrict parent’s rights and to downgrade the role of parents in the care and protection of their children.”

The Holy See highlighted the importance of protection of the family to peace, mentioning also the danger to the family from “hedonistic ideologies” that tear families apart.

Addressing the pressure to redefine the family, the Holy See described these as “various forms of the family that by their very nature or intentional lack of permanence are in no way capable or expressing the meaning of and ensuring the good of the family.”

Monsignor Tomasz Grysa, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Holy See said, “it is the duty of the international community to encourage and protect the authentic institution of the family, respecting its natural structure and its innate and inalienable rights.”

The first part of the event concluded with a ceremonial award of the Maximilian Kolbe Medal to longtime pro-family advocate, Christine de Marcellus de Vollmer. Vollmer is the founder and president of the Alliance for the Family and was a founding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The medal is an honor conferred by C-Fam, publisher of the Friday Fax, to recognize monumental contributions to the pro-life and pro-family struggle internationally. It has only ever been conferred twice before, to Abel Pachecho, former president of Costa Rica, and Cardinal Renato Martino, longtime Nuncio of the Vatican to the UN.

In presenting the award, C-Fam President Austin Ruse said, “What strikes me the most is that she is a woman of means and connections and could have spent her days in many other pursuits. She could have spent her life at diplomatic receptions with her husband, the great Alberto Vollmer, long-time Venezuelan Ambassador to the Holy See, rather than in the trenches with deplorables like all of us!”

The harp circle of Oakcrest School in Virginia gave a musical performance and students from three schools read a Youth Declaration about the family as an ecosystem for children and youth to grow and flourish.

“Governments and international institutions should do everything possible to defend the family and build it up. No adult excuses can ever justify the suffering of a child, especially when that suffering can be stopped,” the declaration reads.

The event was sponsored by the Group of Friends of the Family, C-Fam, publisher of the Friday Fax, Family Watch International, and the many organizations that are part of Civil Society for the Family, the UN Family Rights Caucus, and the UN Pro-Family Coalition.