Catholic marriage preparation and pastoral care of the family in light of human nature will be the topic of an upcoming Rome conference that takes inspiration from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The conference, hosted at Rome’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, aims “to make a constructive contribution to the reflections of the Church on marriage and the family,” a brochure said. The event will take place at the Opus Dei-affiliated university March 12-13. It is organized by the university’s School of Canon Law, with participation from the university’s other schools. Speakers include Cardinal Carlo Caffara of Bologna, who will speak on the topic “Faith and Culture in Marriage.” In addition to lectures, there will be presentations from experts on practical initiatives that have produced “abundant fruit” in marriage preparation and support for married couples. The conference comes after the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, which laid the groundwork for the October 2015 bishops’ synod on the same topic. At focus is the “anthropological question,” that is, the nature of the human being. This question, the conference said, is “a necessary element for carrying out a truly effective pastoral care of the family.” The conference will reflect on the Catholic vision of humanity and its relevance to the evangelization of the family. Its approaches will draw on theology, philosophy, the Christian sacraments, canon law and pastoral care. Conference topics include the identity and relationship between men and women, the anthropological foundations of the indissolubility of marriage, and the place of family in the media. The conference cited the 2014 extraordinary synod’s final message of Oct. 18, which said: “Faithful to Christ’s teaching, we look to the reality of the family today in all its complexity, with both its lights and shadows.” Anthropological and cultural changes that influence all aspects of life, the synod said, require “an analytic and diversified approach.” The conference will provide simultaneous translation in English, Spanish and German. Registration for the general public is 80 Euros. The conference’s Italian-language website is at