During the recent apostolic trip to Canada, Pope Francis has had gestures and attitudes that have not gone unnoticed. Among these gesturesThe following can certainly be noted: on July 26, the feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne, before the celebration of Mass in the church of St. John and St. Anne, on the feast of St. John and St. Anne. EdmontonFrancis was able to go around the stadium in the popemobile, and to greet and kiss a score of babies, in front of more than 50,000 attendees.
The issues of family and life in civil society and the life of the Church are matters in which dioceses and parishes need experts, as is the case with so many things. We speak of co-responsibility of the laity, as you can see in the Special in the summer issue of Omnes.
Amaya Azcona has been the general director for years of the Red Madre Foundation, an entity that in 2020 alone, for example, served 49,535 pregnant women and new mothers, 17,690 more than in the previous year, and that points out in its Memory that 8 out of 10 pregnant women with doubts who connected with Red Madre went ahead with their pregnancy, as they received the support they needed.
Omnes' question to Amaya Azcona is simple. Since it is a non-denominational entity, and is not part of the ecclesiastical organization, what is its relationship with the dioceses and parishes? Or is there no relationship at all?
"I answer you, because it is a regular activity of Red Madre," replies Amaya Azcona. "Red Madre is a civil law and non-denominational foundation. But since we are a network, we work in a network with other organizations, civil or confessional, public or private. The Catholic Church is an important organization with which we work regularly. We have a great relationship. On the one hand, the parish priest, priests, can refer women to us who have difficulties in accompanying their pregnancy, with doubts about continuing. In fact, pregnant women are usually referred to us from the parishes so that we can accompany them".
"We also refer many women, once they have given birth and have a more stable career, to Caritas, with which we have a direct relationship practically all over Spain," she adds. "In all the Red Madre associations, sometimes we send families to give them food, other times Caritas de Vallecas asks me for a twin stroller. From small to large. Yes, always with a very good relationship. This with regard to assistance".
"It must also be said that in some cities we are hosted in parishes. Because they had more than enough space, because there is a friendship between the parish priest and the person who started Red Madre. In Cáceres, for example, we are in a parish, and sometimes the Catholic Church gives us premises so that we can carry out our mission," reports Amaya Azcona.
Defense of motherhood and life
The general director of the Red Madre Foundation now refers to training aspects, in areas such as the prevention of abortion, affective-sex education, etc., and to her mission. "It is common for both spokespersons of associations and myself, more specifically, to be invited to give training. Both in Catholic universities, as well as in civil universities, and in parishes. For example, the CEU invites us regularly, and I have personally given my testimony at congresses on Catholics and Public Life. The year they dedicated to life we conducted a workshop with Red Madre, because they are interested in our mission of defending motherhood and life reaching their people. There is an important relationship with the ACdP".
"And then in parishes, it is very normal for us to go. The last one was in a parish in Malaga, on how to act when faced with the news of an unexpected pregnancy, how to help that woman who is going through a complicated situation. A Catholic can neither ignore nor remain silent.", Amaya Azcona points out.
"We speak from our message, let's say non-denominational, but which is totally imbricated in what the Church defends: human life in the womb of the mother, from fertilization to natural death." explains the head of Fundación Red Madre.
Prevention and post-abortion support
"We use arguments from reason, from biology, from sociology, from economics, which help Catholics also in their preparation. It is very normal for me to speak at the University of Navarra and others. At the Catholic University of Avila, for example, they have made me an advisor to the chair of St. Teresa of Women, with other people. It is also common for them to invite us, Benigno Blanco, promoter of Red Madre, me, etc., to give very specific training on this defense of the woman mother, not only in private life but also in public life, because motherhood is a public good".
"On the other hand," adds Amaya Azcona, "they ask me for a lot of training on the consequences of abortion, how to prevent it, and how to accompany women who have had an abortion. The Church has programs for post-abortion accompaniment, and sometimes they invite me to give the formative part, perhaps more of a psychological accompaniment in the post-abortion period".
"For example, Catholics cannot ignore situations of unplanned pregnancy," he explains. "We have to help that woman, or that man who has said he got his girlfriend pregnant. In Spain, the number of abortions is decreasing in raw numbers [the number of abortions was 88,000 in 2020, according to sources official], because there are fewer women of childbearing age, but it increases in proportion to pregnant women".
We also spoke with Amaya Azcona about prenatal diagnoses, for example, of malformation, in the face of which more or less half of the parents back out and abort. "A tragedy." says the expert. But we'll leave the subject for another time, because space is limited.
We would simply like to remind you that Red Madre also relies on religious institutions that have houses or apartments for pregnant women or mothers who have recently given birth.