The pope made the comments after the conclusion of the Roman Catholic Church's world conference on families in the Philippines - a meeting dominated by exhortations from Church officials against divorce, abortion and same-sex marriages.
The pontiff, speaking from his studio window above St. Peter's Square, said the meeting reaffirmed that the family based on union between man and woman was the authentic signal "of life and hope for humanity."
In defining what he meant by family, he said: "It's certainly not that inauthentic one based on individual egoism. Experience has shown that such a 'caricature' has no future and cannot give future to any society."
The Vatican has long voiced opposition to what it calls the threats against the family, including divorce, contraception, abortion and gay marriages. Earlier this month, the Vatican issued a set of guidelines for Catholic politicians reminding them to heed Church teaching on such issues when they make public policy.
The pope has attended the past three meetings of the Church's family conference, but stayed home this year because of his frail health and the long trip that would have been required. He issued a message to the participants that was broadcast by satellite Saturday.