The Korean Bishops' Committee on Family, in their recent seminar, considered the widespread problems connected with marriage: deciding to marry late or not at all. There is a sizeable increase in the numbers that do not plan to marry and who defer marriage, who prefer international marriages, and who divorce and remarry. The intention of the committee was to see what can be done to alleviate some of the problems.
There is a rejection of many of the traditional values associated with marriage, brought about, in part, by generational changes, financial difficulties, and the cultural aspects of modern life. Marriage is no longer normative but something that one selects. The part played by finances in this selection is important.
The consciousness of women's equality brought a change in society; women's ability to earn a living has also increased the number of divorces. The number of divorces since 1970 to 1990 has increased fourfold. Discrimination in salaries and more difficult working conditions often make women put off marriage, and at times the opportunity to marry is missed.
Catholic families in the cities are healthier and more affirming than families of other religions or those with no religion. This, however, is not the case with the younger generation. They do not have the values of the older generation; their way of looking at marriage is often the same as their
peers, regardless of religious affiliation--except for a slight difference in the way they look at divorce.
The committee concluded that the Church has to be more involved with pastoral care of families; they are the basis of our society. Children are a part of the family and the love that the spouses have for each other should show in the family. The religious education of our children is an important part of bringing about a change in the way our Catholics see marriage. Marriage is a sacrament and a vocation which has to be a part of our Catholic upbringing and view of life.
The article in the Catholic Times suggested 4 proposals to bring about change: Catholics should set an example for the married life. All should work to deepen our faith life. To work not only with temporary expedients but with long-term preventive measures. And to provide programs and educational material for families.