Marriage and family life are of vital and central importance in the life and teaching of the Catholic Church. It is the privileged place where love makes itself know (CST#491). The Bishops' Conference of England & Wales has an office for Marriage and Family Life. This Office exists to support and resource the bishops in their responsibility for marriage and family life, and in speaking out on all issues that affect families.
The future of humanity passes by way of the family.
Pope St John Paul II, York, 1982
God in his love has created man and woman in his image, as the summit of creation, and invites them to give themselves to each other as a gift for the good of the other. A man and a woman are called into a lifelong, faithful and fruitful relationship. ‘Not only man as such, not only woman as such, but rather man and woman as a couple, are the image of God. The difference between them is not a question of contrast or subordination, but instead of communion and generation, always in the image and likeness of God’ (Pope Francis, Audience 15 April 2015)
The roots of the institution of marriage lie in our nature. Male and female we have been created, and written into our nature is this pattern of complementarity and fertility. Christian teaching fills out this pattern and reveals its deepest meaning.
On 22 November 1981, the Apostolic Exhortation on the Christian Family in the Modern World, Familiaris Consortio, was published. To mark the 30th anniversary in 2011, the Marriage and Family Life Project Office has prepared a multimedia archive examining the Synod of Bishops on the Family in 1980 whose deliberations inspired the content and structure of Familiaris Consortio.