I feel sure your readers would not wish the year to pass without some mention of 2001 being the 20th anniversary of Familiaris Consortio - "The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World" - the post-synodal document of the 1980 Synod of Bishops.
One of the key messages of the document is simple: "The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother."
The Pope reminds us that in many places around the world the family is under siege from a hostile society and State. In response to this situation, he outlined a charter of 14 basic family rights as called for by the Synod. An article in the Charter, which is vitally important for today's Australia, reads as follows:
"The institutional value of marriage should be upheld by the public authorities; the situation of non- married couples must not be placed on the same level as marriage duly contracted."