The voices of the laity on the family

A representative group of lay Catholics and priests have drawn up a document ahead of the Synod. The text, translated into various languages, will be entrusted to the Synod Father

s “The world today needs Christian teaching on marriage and the family”, states a document prepared for the Synod by a representative group composed of lay people and some Polish priests, translated into various languages, which will be delivered to the Synod Fathers. The text, signed by 18 lay people and 5 priests, is the result of several meetings of representatives of the group “Forum between the two Synods” and of the discussions, some of which lively debates, between members of various Catholic associations and think tanks such as Christianitas, Catholic University of Warsaw (UKSW), Emmanuel Community, John Paul II Centre, as well as the most important magazines and Catholic weeklies. The ten-page document analyses some of the most important issues for Catholic families worldwide, namely the promotion of a theology on the family, the development of the pastoral care of the family, relations between the family and the State, legislation, the realm of politics and that of culture, and finally the problems related to education and to the defence of life. Spontaneous initiative. “The Forum between the two Synods came into being in a very natural way at the beginning of the year, during one of the debates organized by the Wyszynski University following the first Synod on the Family”, said Jacek Grzybowski, priest, professor of Philosophy of Culture at UKSW. Dariusz Karlowicz, philosopher, editor of the magazine “Teologia Polityczna” (Political theology) had launched the idea of the Forum in order to “voice the thought of lay Catholics living in a large Country at the centre of Europe, inhabited by Catholic families”. Writer and journalist Ewa Czaczkowska added: “This is also a way to express what lay people would have wanted to say to the Synod fathers on the family and its future, and on children’s education”. No to “ideological colonization”. Participants in the Forum said they hope the Synod will “strengthen and focus attention on the Christian family based on sacramental marriage”. “The silence of the Church on the ongoing redefinition of the concept of the family sometimes could be understood as the flight of the shepherds from their fleece”, wrote the authors of the document in the hope that the Synod fathers “will carefully analyse those ideologies and institutional mechanisms threatening the family”, giving a name to all those elements that for Pope Francis form part of the “ideological colonization” of the modern world. They also conveyed their concern for “institutional mechanisms – at national and supranational level – that finance activities aimed at the redefinition of the family” by promoting “the advancement of ideologies that go against Catholic teaching”. The role of politics, Christian culture. “The dictate of politics in the field of anthropology and medicine” is “especially alarming” as it leads to the “destabilization of sexuality and to the redefinition of the family”. “The Church must have no doubts in siding with the family in disputes with institutions promoting ambiguous educational programs”, demand the authors of the document. They underline that “in addition to the rightful assistance to couples in crisis, to those seeking the righteous way or those who question their faith” the Church must also provide “adequate support to all those living according to the Magisterium”. The Church, they cautioned, “cannot renounce the creation of Christian culture” even when this task “requires concrete mechanisms in support of Catholic schools and universities, means of communication and artistic expression”. The authors of the document said they hope the Church will call upon “Christian politicians and international organizations to voice their courageous defence of the rights of the family and human life”. “I’m not viewing our document in terms of expectations, influence or impact – said Dariusz Karlowicz -. But when two Synods running focus on the family it means that the Church wishes to signal that this is the most important theme today”. And that is why “also lay Catholics have the responsibility to reflect on and discuss this theme”, he added.

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