News Release

Leading Catholic European Federation receives 2015 EU Family Values Award

The Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) received the 2015 EU Family Values Award from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) at a celebration held in Brussels on October 19.

The EU Family Values Award in Brussels recognizes individuals and organizations whose work and influence with the institutions of the European Union have a significant impact on family life within European societies.

Elder Patrick Kearon, President of the Europe Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who presided at the event, said that FAFCE received the award “for its tireless work to make the family unit a priority in EU policy making.”

FAFCE “recognizes the importance of the family as a fundamental unit in society and we have been impressed by the commitment of its leaders to make sure this message would not be overlooked by EU officials and Members of the European Parliament.”

On receiving the award, Antoine Renard, President of FAFCE, said, “Thank you for recognizing what we are doing. We defend family values but we also want to protect family virtues.” He then stressed the significance of families: “We all know what we owe to our own families. It is a project of peace and a project of God.” President Renard, on behalf of FAFCE, dedicated the 2015 EU Family Values Award to the thousands of Syrian families, parents and children who have been suffering to a great extent because of the war and throughout the migrant crisis.

Accompanying Elder Kearon were Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President, and Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President. Sister Burton and Sister Oscarson are currently visiting many congregations across Europe.

Sister Burton, who leads an organization of seven million women worldwide, thanked  representatives of churches and religious organisations in attendance for their support of the family. She shared a passage of international Church leader Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s message delivered at the eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia: "Our high priority on family life is based on our conviction that God created the family—and ordained family life—for His purposes. Hence the conviction that the duties of parents and families, and the principles we will discuss, are indeed 'divinely appointed.” Sister Burton pointed out “the importance of strengthening the family in order to enhance communities.” “My role within the Church and that of the Relief Society”, she concluded, “is to help increase faith and strengthen families.”

Sister Oscarson, who oversees the Church’s programmes for half a million girls worldwide, shared a quote from Pope Francis’ remarks during the Colloquium on the family, held at the Vatican in November 2014: “In our day, marriage and the family are in crisis. The “culture of the temporary” has led many people to give up on marriage as a public commitment. This revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.” Sister Oscarson reinforced the importance “to stress the education of girls”. “We need to strengthen them with principles and values so that they can build their own future families.” Quoting David O. McKay, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she concluded: “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”

This is the first time that the Family Values Award has been presented by the Church in the context of the European Union.

This year’s awards event was attended by Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum, representatives of churches and from civil society organizations.

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