upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September highlights one of the most under appreciated title held by the Pope, “Papa,” or most recognizably, “Daddy!” We often don’t think of the Pope as a daddy, or father because the position of the Pope seems so elevated and esteemed. Well that esteem is rightly so, because not only is Pope Francis the temporal leader of the Church, he is most importantly our spiritual father in faith. His planned presence at the upcoming World Meeting of Families is more than symbolic, it is an embodiment of the crucial necessity the Holy Father attributes to the modern need to restore and promote the family entity as the cornerstone of our Catholic faith, a building block of community integration and most importantly the solution towards building a world of inclusion and harmony through the establishment of healthy values through the traditional nuclear family, fostered by love and made most sacred through Marriage and faith. The fact that Papa Francis has made this venue in Philadelphia as part of his Apostolic Visitation to the United States underscores the pervasive theme that is always present in this papacy, namely love, faith and family. Having the Holy Father, Papa Francis celebrate the great institution of the family illustrates not only the importance of the family as a unit of faith and family, but also as a living example that develops and perpetuates the Catholic faith, nurtured through the love of parents towards their children then extended to the entire community. Pope Francis’ presence during this great celebration is indeed the papal seal of approval for the Sacrament of Marriage, the development of mutual love between a married couple and the openness towards the procreation and raising of children as part of the marital commitment. Humanae Vitae was issued on July 25, 1968 by Blessed Pope Paul VI. The teachings of the document are the cornerstone for Catholic teachings on contraception, the sanctity of marriage and the justification for the development of mutual love between a couple and the most important factor perhaps, the openness towards having children. Pope Francis will most certainly affirm the traditions of Humanae Vitae as normative while lamenting the current practices of same sex marriages, adoption of children by same sex couples as well as developing technologies that contribute to the desanctification of all human life. Pope Francis is not a surrogate father for the Catholic faithful, but a true father in not only our Catholic faith but also in a paternal manner to all peoples that are seeking solutions in their own families and communities. While the term of, “Papa,” is one of childlike paternal affection on our part, it also implies that the titleholder has great insights and helpful admonitions for all of his children. Pope Francis’ visit to the, “City of Brotherly Love,” will have a paternal message of love that embraces not only the Church of Philadelphia, but all of his children throughout the world that affectionately call him,”Papa!”

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