On May 13 in a meeting with the Pontifical Council for the Family:
Pope Benedict recalled how "the family founded on marriage constitutes a 'heritage of humanity,' a fundamental social institution; it is the vital cell and the pillar of society, and concerns both believers and non-believers. This is something to which all States must give great consideration because, as John Paul II liked to say, 'the future of humanity passes by way of the family'."
After highlighting how separation and divorce are currently on the rise, "breaking family unity and creating no small number of problems for children, the innocent victims of such situations," the Holy Father called for the stability of families to be protected. This, he added, "often means going against the tide," and requires "patience, commitment, sacrifice and the incessant search for mutual understanding." Married couples can overcome their difficulties and remain faithful to their vocation by "relying upon the support of God through prayer and assiduous participation in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. The unity and strength of families helps society to absorb true human values and to open itself to the Gospel."