Pro-Family Congress Celebrates Shift: ‘The Tide Is Turning’

A woman bottle-feeds her baby during a Pope's audience for children and families of the Santa Marta dispensary on December 16, 2018 at the Vatican. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP) (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

VERONA — Organizers of the massive World Congress on the Family, which begins Friday in Verona, Italy, are optimistic that people’s perceptions on the family are changing all over the world, with renewed appreciation for the importance of traditional marriage and the centrality of the family for civilization.

Brian Brown, president of the International Organization for the Family, told Breitbart News Thursday that “the beginnings of a major change in direction are starting” and all over the world, “even in the heart of Europe there is a growing movement to protect and support the family.”

The event features speakers from Europe, Africa, the U.S.A., Asia, and South America and will tackle such topics as children’s rights, integral human ecology, women, growth and demographic decline, and the legal defense of life and family.

Although critics have tried to paint the congress as “right wing,” organizers dispute this label. In point of fact “we work with any leaders from any parties who stand for the natural family,” Mr. Brown told Breitbart. “We are a coalition of the willing.”

“The irony is that we were criticized by some last year for partnering with the President of Moldova, who is a Socialist, for the World Congress in Chisinau,” Brown added. “Now we get criticized for working with the ‘right.’”

“It is not our fault that some political parties have decided to turn their back on life and family,” he said. “That’s just the nature of what has occurred in the West as formerly moderate parties have turned toward anti-life, anti-family policies.”

Noteworthy Italian participants in the event include Interior Minister Matteo Salvini — Italy’s most popular and “trusted” politician — the Minister for Family and Disability, Lorenzo Fontana, the Minister of Education, Marco Bussetti, the Governor of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia, and the Mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina, as well as Verona’s Catholic bishop, Giuseppe Zenti.

While present in significant numbers, politicians are not the only key figures among the event speakers, who also include writers, professors, ambassadors, entertainers, athletes, demographers, and religious personages.

“Our goal is simple: to unite and equip leaders to protect and promote the natural family,” Brown said. “The term natural family comes from the United Nation’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights which states, ‘The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.’”

“This is not a new or ideological idea,” he said. “Men and woman coming together in marriage and providing a loving and stable home for any children they might bear — this is a universal good worth protecting.”

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