The family and culture today

01 Nov, 2015 - 00:11 0 Views
The family and culture today Sunday Mail

The Sunday Mail

Last week we reproduced excerpts from the position paper tabled by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) at a three-week World Synod on Family held in Rome. Their paper highlights the challenges facing the family in the contemporary world.
We continue with the excerpts.
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Sometimes, the Church is also the scene of contradictions and of internal weaknesses. This sometimes hampers the future of the family, our mission ability to be an authentic witness of the Gospel on the values of the family.

There is also within the family situations of poverty due to unemployment, lack of descent housing, quality education and health services, as well as low level of incomes of parents.
To these, one could add the cases of families who are victims of violence and dislocation perpetrated by armed groups or from political instability and failure to respect the constitutional order of our nations or States, and the sad resurgence of terrorism by extremist religious movements (Jihadists, Boko Haram, LRA).
The respect for the sick and the elderly is gradually eroding away due to adverse effects of the current social changes.
What is happening is that, some of our old men and women are no longer given the due attention necessary for their welfare and integration within the family.
These social changes often render Africa fragile in standing up against current thought and social experimentation contrary to her multi-millennial traditions, and to the teaching of the Word of God on marriage and family.
Some kind of feminism or expressions of individual freedom consider “motherhood a pretext to exploit women and hinder her full realisation.’’
In some instances, the importance attached to having children creates an unbearable and embarrassing situation to couples who are incapable of having their own biological offspring. Therefore the desire to have children at all costs sometimes incites individuals to seek medically assisted reproduction practices and other interventions which may pose a threat to the life of women.
Sometimes, the Church is also the scene of contradictions and of internal weaknesses. This sometimes hampers the future of the family, our mission ability to be an authentic witness of the Gospel on the values of the family.
This often deprives families of the guidance, models of unity, social cohesion and well-being which they need in our changing times.
The Christian communities in Africa, though vibrant, equally face some internal divisions and misunderstandings which do not always favour a life of fraternity, community and witness to the Gospel of family.
We also note that our presbyterate is not always a reflection of the true light of love and communion for these believing communities.
Despite the current great turmoil and impoverishing situations that she is undergoing, the family still remains for the Church, an indispensable resource of vitality and renewal. Therefore, the family should be the center of the Church’s pastoral life.
Among the many challenges facing the family in the world today, we would like to highlight the following:
(a) The promotion of human solidarity and organic pastoral care at all levels of the Church and society, so as to guard the family from losing its identity, strength, and vocation.
For, the family is the present and the future of humanity and of the Church.
(b) The effectiveness of new family policies depending on the responsibility of the people, should recognise the value of the family and take concrete initiatives for strengthening and defending the nature of families.
(c) The divine and inalienable character of the person created in the image of God, individual and community, and called by God to a life of abundance, irrespective of gender, race and social class.
This will lead to the realisation of the person and his vocation, excluding exploitative practices and human trafficking, reduction of women, children, and youth to modern slavery.
(d) The sad phenomenon of migration and dislocation of whole families and communities which forces people to leave their country for reasons of political instability, war, the stranglehold of multinationals on the wealth of the continent, and which result in the dislocation of the family fabric, insecurity, despair,etc.

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