Senior pastor of Saddleback Church and popular author Rick Warren was one of the speakes at the World Meeting of Families. Pastor Warren was invited by Pope Francis to be the concluding speaker at last November's Humanum Colloquium at the Vatican.
Held every three years and sponsored by the Holy See's Pontifical Council for the Family, the World Meeting of Families is the world's largest Catholic gathering of families. This year's theme for the conference was "Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive," emphasizing the impact of the love and life of families on society.
Cardinal O'Malley addressed the importance of Warren being among so many Catholics:
"It's important that Rick Warren is here. This is a witness of unity that's important in today's world, as we strive to proclaim the gospel of life: the need to protect every human being from the first moment of conception until natural death, to defend the family as a sanctuary of life, and family as a sacred calling described on the first pages of the Bible as a man who leaves his mother and father to be joined in one flesh to his wife. It's a great consolation to share this stage with a fellow Christian who is truly committed to preaching the Gospel. We are truly blessed by his presence and his friendship."
Following prayers and introductions by Archbishop Charles Chaput and author Scott Hahn, Rick Warren opened the hour by saying simply, "Thank you for caring about the family." He quoted Pope Francis, saying that today the family is being threatened. This inspired Warren to make a list of root causes threatening the family, which he read to thunderous applause:"In today's society, materialism is idolized, immorality is glamorized, truth is minimized, sin is normalized, divorce is rationalized, and abortion is legalized. In TV and movies, crime is legitimized, drug use is minimized, comedy is vulgarized, and sex is trivialized. In movies, the Bible is fictionalized, churches are satirized, God is marginalized, and Christians are demonized. The elderly are dehumanized, the sick are euthanized, the poor are victimized, the mentally ill are ostracized, immigrants are stigmatized, and children are tranquilized. In families around the world, our manners are uncivilized, speech is vulgarized, faith is secularized, and everything is commercialized.
"Unfortunately, Christians, you and I, are often disorganized and demoralized, our faith is compartmentalized, and our witness it compromised. So what do we need? We need to revitalize our worship, minimize our differences, mobilize our members, and evangelize the lost, and we need to re-energize our families."
He went on to say that joy-filled families base their love on the love of God. "Joy-filled families are filled with purpose. The goal of the family - Catholics call it the domestic church - is to help every person find their purpose."
"Joy-filled families serve together," he observed. "We're called to serve God, and God told us how to do that: by serving each other. The family, he says, "is a launch pad for ministry."