The World Congress of Families believes the natural family is the fundamental unit of society; that it is the basis of all healthy and progressive civilizations. The definition of natural family comes from a working group of the World Congress of Families, crafted in May, 1998, in a Second Century B.C. room in the ancient city of Rome. It is informed both by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and by the findings of social science. This definition reads:
The natural family is the fundamental social unit, inscribed in human nature, and centered around the voluntary union of a man and a woman in a lifelong covenant of marriage, for the purposes of:
- satisfying the longings of the human heart to give and receive love;
- welcoming and ensuring the full physical and emotional development of children;
- sharing a home that serves as the center for social, educational, economic, and spiritual life;
- building strong bonds among the generations to pass on a way of life that has transcendent meaning;
- extending a hand of compassion to individuals and households whose circumstances fall short of these ideals
Our use of the term "natural family" is significant in many respects.
- First, the term signifies a natural order to family structures that is common across cultures, historical, and overwhelmingly self-evident.
- Second, the term signifies a wholly defensible expression. "Natural" is not "nuclear," which would limit its scope, nor is it "traditional," which would burden its utility in public discourse. It is what it is, a totally self-evident expression.
- Third, the term "natural" precludes incompatible constructs of the family as well as incompatible behaviors among its members.
- Fourth, the "natural family" is a positive expression. It does not require a discussion of negative incompatibilities to define itself.