This report says that while the Vatican has yet to confirm the date, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia has indicated that Pope Francis will visit the city for next September’s World Meeting of Families.

If the pope is planning to visit the City of Brotherly Love next fall what’s the big deal?

Kathy Schiffer reports here that the pope has had invitations to visit other cities during his visit. Maybe New York to address the United Nations and Washington DC, where speaker John Boehner has invited him to address congress.

Pope Francis’ presence at the Philadelphia event will raise the profile of what promises to be a controversial and dramatic event. While it is billed as the “World Meeting of Families” it will also be an opportunity for Catholics the world over to affirm the Christian understanding of marriage, human sexuality and issues relating to the beginning and end of life.

In the face of rising attacks on the marriage and the family the World Meeting of Families is an opportunity for Catholics to express what Boston Globe reporter John Allen calls “affirmative orthodoxy”. Instead of attacking same sex marriage, the homosexual lifestyle, remarriage after divorce, co habitation, promiscuity, abortion, contraceptives, pornography and all the things that break marriage, affirmative orthodoxy tries first to show through dynamic and loving example what genuine love, fidelity, and positive human sexuality looks like. Hand in hand with the Theology of the Body, Affirmative Orthodoxy brings to the subject of the human family a positive outlook which is based in the essential goodness of the human person and the integration of divine love with human love.

The World Meeting of Families will be more than a feel good Brady bunch or Leave it to Beaver celebration of old fashioned family life. Instead it promises to be a positive contribution to contemporary problems offering a real solution for the disintegration of family and Christian culture. The fact that Pope Francis will be there will give this important meeting a terrific boost. The  World Meeting of Families has been happening every three years since 1994. Will Francis’ presence make it  such a fantastic celebration that it starts to become a more high profile feature on the international Catholic calendar like World Youth Day?