Christian families are called to welcome, demonstrate and spread the love and presence of Christ in the world, Pope Benedict said.
A family, founded on the marriage of a man and woman and open to having children, is "the human space for an encounter with Christ," he said Dec. 1 in a speech to members of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
"The eclipse of God, the spread of ideologies contrary to the family and the degradation of sexual ethics appear to be connected," the pope said.
In the same way, he said, "the new evangelization is inseparable from the Christian family."
The Christian family "is called to welcome, radiate and demonstrate the love and presence of Christ in the world," he said.
It does so by being a community of lifelong, self-giving love.