Monday, July 14, 2014

Challenges to Christian Family Life

Korea in 1975, 88.2 percent of the families had a man as the householder; the hierarchical order had the father as the center of the family. The Desk Columnist of the Catholic Time tells us that in her own family, the father was 'heaven' and the mother was his helper. This was the  accepted understanding of family.  When the father was the oldest son of the family, he was responsible for the care of the parents and would live with them. 

After 40 years what is the situation of Korea today? According to the office of statistics, one of four families  has a woman as the householder, about 27.9 percent of the families. Families composed of husband and wife, almost half are both working full time. One can't but see the noticeable difference from the past. Postmodernism has brought in a value system and understanding which have influenced the family life.

The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs reports that half of the citizens don't have any big  problems with the culture of young people living together without marriage. A survey of 1000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 56, a total of 46.1 percent approved of the living together without marriage. Those in their 20s,  53.1 percent  and those in their 30s, 59.2 percent saw it positively. 35.5 percent said marriage was fine, and they had no problem with those  who did not want to marry,  a matter of choice. Those that said marriage was necessary was only 25.6 percent. 67.7 percent opposed the thinking that the  relationship with the children was more important than the husband and wife relationship.

Professionals in the field see a decease in the size of families,  simplification,  and the increase of those living alone. These are challenges to the Church's pastoral care of families.

One of the dioceses in a recent marriage seminar reported that over 2270  who had taken the pre-nuptial  programs, 8.5 percent were pregnant and 8.9 percent were living together. 90.2 percent had been sexually intimate. The report said there was little difference in those who were Catholic and others.

Oct. 5th to the 19th  Pope Francis has called  for  the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to treat the topic: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization. "The Church, fully aware that family life is not ultimately defined by difficulties and that people do not have problems only, willingly recognizes the efforts being made, primarily by young people, to bring about a new springtime for the family."

The preparatory instructions  published, deal with cohabitation, divorce, unmarried mothers, homosexual unions,  and the like. Pastoral challenges that families will be facing will be the area of concern for the Synod. The signs of the times and the challenges that the families are experiencing will be the areas of discussion.

She, in conclusion, quotes a moral theologian: "Today with the  societal trend  and value system  that has a  wrong understanding of  sex, marriage and family the  Christian has the task by living according to the teachings of the Church and at the same time carrying the cross  to renew the world." This mission of establishing Christian like families is the work entrusted to Christians.

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