"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation." This quote from Thoreau's Walden we hear often, and sadly it may be truer to our reality than we would like to believe, not only individually but in families, and for his reasons.
In the Kyeongyang magazine, we have an article on the scars inflicted on the family and the church's concern. On October 4-25 we will have the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the topic: “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World.”
The family in modern society is in extreme difficulty. The Church tried to surround the family with all kinds of protection in its laws and other safe-guards, but they have been seriously damaged. We need efforts and wisdom to work for a new culture and understanding of the Gospel to protect the family.
Pastoral care has a variety of environments in which we find families: immigrants, foreign workers, separated, prison, refugees, exiled, alienated/marginalized in the city, homeless, single parent, living with grandparents, handicapped, families with drug addicts, and alcoholic related problems. Families for cultural or societal reasons feel alienated, families who experience discrimination for one reason or another, elderly living alone. Families because of church laws have left the community, have divorced, remarried and living separated from their mate are all a concern for the church.The nation and society need to help these families with structures and systems. Those who are in the community of faith and facing these many problems are the concern of the church.
Church needs to help the nation assist families with their rights, with laws and structures, and help families gain these rights. Furthermore, we have families that because of church laws are having difficulties; their rights as believers have been taken away, concern has to be shown to them and the bishops in the synod will search for ways according to God's will to help these families.
Each diocese has a marriage tribunal to help with the process for annulments and concern for those with marriage problems. In many of the dioceses, the number of clergy whose concern is to help those with family problems continues to increase, which is encouraging.
The synod will have as its goal to help families live with less difficulty, and we need to pray for the success of the gathering of bishops in finding the will of God in these matters. The future of the world depends on family life and the reason our prayers need to be heart-felt.