For Cardinal Farrell, the best argument for the family is a lived witness

A lived witness of Christian marriage and family can be the best counter to secular scepticism about the value of family, Cardinal Kevin Farrell said Friday in his homily during a Mass at the World Meeting of Families.

“If we are to give witness in the world to the joy of love, we must do it not only in words and academic discourses, but in a simple invitation to our friends and companions: ‘come and see,’” he said Aug. 24 in Dublin.

Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, and organizer of the World Meeting of Families, Farrell celebrated Mass for the last day of the congress portion of the family meeting.

The world’s doubt about the goodness of the Christian family can be countered with conferences, pamphlets, and books, the cardinal said, but “the most effective answer” is that which Philip gave to the sceptical Nathaniel in the day’s Gospel: “come and see.”

He drew a comparison between the disciple Nathaniel’s initial cynicism about Christ and society’s opposition to the ties of family and marriage today.

“Some people, on having heard of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, may have reacted like Nathaniel and asked: ‘Can anything good come from the family?’” Farrell commented. Many in society have simply not had a positive experience of a what a family can be, he said.

He imagined the protestations of some, who believe they can experience greater happiness and satisfaction from following their own desires, than from the bonds of the life-long projects of marriage and children.

It is a Catholic’s duty to witness to how this is false and how the ideals of Christian family life are possible. “Today there are many opinions, and many ideologies, that are contrary to the Christian family,” he continued, but you “cannot argue with the facts!”

This is especially true about the family, he said, the reality of which “no academic sophistry” can argue against. People “can observe that the family is the source of immense benefits for each person and for society,” he said.

He explained that this is how Nathaniel came to be a disciple – from seeing the witness that radiated from the person of Christ.

Farrell concluded: “We hope, and we pray, that the joy of love is expressed by more than words, but by that one invitation to ‘come and see.’ We are all called to go forth from this place and to become witnesses to that call from God.”