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Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization

I would like to bring selected issues of the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, by topic: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” which took place 5-19 October 2014. The Synod of Bishops, gathered around the Holy Father Francis, turned its thoughts to all the families of the world, each with its joys, difficulties and hopes. The family is truly the “school of humanity”, which is much needed today. The family is uniquely important to the Church and in these times. Pope, the Bishop of Rome called upon the Synod of Bishops to reflect upon the critical and invaluable reality of the family. One symptom of the great poverty of contemporary culture is loneliness, arising from the absence of God in a person’s life and the fragility of relationships. There is also a general feeling of powerlessness in the face of socio-cultural realities that oftentimes end in crushing families. Families often feel abandoned by the disinterest and lack of attention by institutions.
The State has the responsibility to pass laws and create work to ensure the future of young people and help them realize their plan of forming a family. There is often that civil legislation compromises marriage and the family. Because of secularization in many parts of the world, the reference to God is greatly diminished and the faith is no longer shared socially. In some countries is a great number of children are born outside marriage, many of whom subsequently grow up with just one of their parents or in a blended or reconstituted family. Divorces are increasing, many times taking place solely because of economic reasons. Oftentimes, children are a source of contention between parents and become the real victims of family break-ups. Fathers who are often absent from their families not simply for economic reasons need to assume more clearly their responsibility for children and the family.
The dignity of women still needs to be defended and promoted. In fact, in many places today, simply being a woman is a source of discrimination and the gift of motherhood is often penalized rather than esteemed. The sexual exploitation of children is still another scandalous and perverse reality in present-day society. Societies experiencing violence due to war, terrorism or the presence of organized crime are witnessing the deterioration of the family, above all in big cities, where, in their peripheral areas, the so-called phenomenon of “street-children” is on the rise. Furthermore, migration is another sign of the times to be faced and understood in terms of its onerous consequences to family life. The challenge for the Church is to assist couples in their emotive maturation and affective development through fostering dialogue, virtue and trust in the merciful love of God. The full commitment required in marriage can be a strong antidote to the temptation of a selfish individualism… (to be continued).

Fr. Tony - pastor