MOSCOW FORUM by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Large families' vital role to protect civilisation
, October 11, 2014
In the face of a demographic collapse and the imposition of secular values which undermine marriage and the family, the International Forum on the Family, held last month in Moscow, drew attention to the vital role of the natural family in preserving societies throughout the world.
The Kremlin, Moscow
The international forum was attended by about 2,000 people, of whom around 200 came from abroad.
It was an initiative of the St Andrew the First-Called Foundation, the Sanctity of Motherhood All-Russian Program and the St Basil the Great Charitable Foundation, each of which is associated with the Russian Orthodox Church.
The forum could not have taken place without the involvement of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Patriarchal Commission for Family Affairs, Protection of Motherhood and Childhood.
A plenary session was held in the State Kremlin Palace, and other sessions were conducted in the conference facilities at the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.
The present cathedral is erected on the site of the original cathedral, which was built in the 19th century to commemorate Russia’s deliverance from Napoleon, but destroyed by Stalin in 1931.
Stalin intended the site for a monstrous Palace of the Soviets, with a massive statue of Lenin. However, it was never built as the foundations kept sinking.
After the collapse of Soviet communism in 1989, the site was given back to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the magnificent new cathedral was built on the site in the 1990s, using donations from a million Muscovites.
Religious leaders who spoke at the International Forum on the Family included Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church; Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia; Archbishop Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family; and Talgat Tadzhuddin, Chief Mufti of Russia.
While the forum included a strong religious perspective, it also debated many of the most contentious issues of family policy, including the influence of the media; the prevailing anti-family culture in much of the world; the impact of new reproductive technologies; the problem of family breakdown and orphans; abortion; and what can be done to address the demographic crisis around the world.
Other participants included Russian government ministers and parliamentarians, members of European parliaments, a large number of sociologists and experts in family policy from Russia, and leaders of many non-government organisations (NGOs) from around the world.
It provided an excellent opportunity to learn what is being done to defend the family from the many attacks it is now experiencing, and to look at the first fruits of the effort to reverse Russia’s demographic decline which saw the country’s population fall from 149 million at the end of the Soviet era, down to 142 million.
Over the past five years, it has begun to recover, and is now about 144 million. The recovery has been largely inspired by the religious revival in Russia, centred on the Russian Orthodox Church.
At the forum, there were a series of round-table meetings, at which presentations were given on a whole range of subjects, from the UN’s anti-life and anti-family agenda, to the gender revolution, the push for same-sex marriage, the family as the first educator of children and transmitter of culture, the global empire of disinformation and its remedies, pastoral care of married couples, restoring fatherhood, building a pro-life movement among young people, and challenges to the family in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
At its conclusion, the forum adopted a resolution which warned of the threats to destroy the natural family, “the institution that in a civilised society is the foundation of order, the state’s prosperity and social peace”.
It said that the preservation of society is based on a system of family and kindred ties that are formed through the bonds of marriage between a male and a female, and the children born to them. “This, and only this, is capable of ensuring the reproduction, stability and continuity of human civilisation.”
It appealed to people to unite against state-supported interference in the private lives of people, in an attempt to foist specific sexual lifestyles and the preference of a minority upon the majority.
It called for laws and constitutions of nations to “clearly define the naturally predetermined relationships in the family as relationships between the male and female, their children and their relatives”.
It opposed “the cynical utilisation of women as surrogate mothers”, and called for scientific research and study of the conditions and prospects of developing the natural family, as well as studying the negative social and psychological effects of raising children by same-gender couples.
And, finally, it called on the United Nations to proclaim a special year or program in support of the natural family.