The Madrid Declaration
Assembled in Madrid, Spain, this 27th Day of May, 2012, we delegates to The World Congress of Families VI reaffirm the truth that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state” (Article 16, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights). This natural family is inscribed in human nature and centers on the voluntary union of a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage. The institution of marriage foremost provides love and joy to the couple and is also aimed for the procreation and rearing of children. The marital union also offers security for them in times of trouble, the foundation for a society that balances order and liberty, and the binding of generations.
Alas, in our time, assaults on the natural family are growing in number and intensity. Ideologies of statism, atomistic individualism, and sexual revolution challenge the very essences of marriage and family. Recent legal and public policy changes have corrupted the meaning and dignity of marriage, devalued parenting, encouraged easy divorce and births outside of marriage, confused sexual identities, promoted promiscuity, created conditions that increased child abuse, isolated the elderly, and fostered depopulation. These changes were particularity acute in Europe in the last decades and, more specifically, in the nation of Spain during the years 2004-2011, when a radical government actually worked to subvert the natural family.
In response, The World Congress of Families VI endorses a set of principles to create a cultural and political environment that is compatible with life, liberty, and hope for the future:
- We affirm that the natural family, not the individual, is the fundamental unit of society.
- We affirm the natural family to be the union of a man and a woman through marriage for the purposes of sharing love and joy, propagating children, providing their moral education, building a vital home economy, offering security in times of trouble, and binding the generations.
- We affirm that the natural family is a fixed aspect of the created order, one ingrained in human nature. The natural family cannot change into some new shape; nor can it be re-defined by eager social engineers.
- We affirm that the natural family is the ideal, optimal, true family system. While we acknowledge varied living situations, all other “family forms” are incomplete or are mere fabrications of the state.
- We affirm the marital union of a man and a woman to be the authentic sexual bond, the only one open to the natural and responsible creation of new life.
- We affirm the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; each newly conceived person holds rights to live, to grow, to be born, and to share a home with its natural parents bound by marriage. Abortion, euthanasia and all forms of manipulating human beings in their embryonic or fetal state are therefore attacks on human life.
- We affirm that the natural family is prior to the state and that legitimate governments exist to shelter and encourage the natural family.
- We affirm that the world is abundant in resources. The breakdown of the natural family and moral and political failure, not human “overpopulation”, account for poverty, starvation, and environmental decay.
- We affirm that human aging and depopulation are the true demographic dangers facing the earth in this new century. Our societies need more people, not fewer.
- We affirm that the natural family is the main source of social and economic prosperity and the main pillar on which to achieve the overcoming of the current world economic crisis.
- We affirm that women and men are equal in dignity and innate human rights, but different in function. Even if sometimes thwarted by events beyond the individual’s control (or sometimes given up for a religious vocation), the calling of each boy is to become husband and father; the calling of each girl is to become wife and mother. Culture, law, and policy should take these differences into account.
- We affirm that the complementarity of the sexes is a source of strength. Men and women exhibit profound biological and psychological differences. When united in marriage, though, the whole becomes greater then the sum of the parts.
- We affirm the parents’ right to educate their children for their good with no interference from the state.
- We affirm that every human being is entitled to religious freedom and that the political community must respect the freedom to profess one’s faith, to hand it on, and to raise one’s children in it.
- We affirm the “family wage” ideal of “equal pay for equal family responsibility.” Compensation for work, taxation, and social insurance plans should reinforce natural family bonds.
- We affirm the necessary role of private property in land, dwelling, and productive capital as the foundation of familial independence and the guarantor of democracy. In a just and good society, all families will hold real property.
- And we affirm that lasting solutions to human problems, including the current economic crisis, rise out of families and small communities. They cannot be imposed by bureaucratic and judicial fiat. Nor can they be coerced by outside force.