4. MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE
A man does well not to marry. But because there is so much immorality,every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband. A man should fulfil his duty as a husband ,and a woman should fulfil her duty as a wife.and each should satisfy the other’s needs. A wife is not the master of her own body, but her husband is; in the same way, a husband is not the master of his own body, but his wife is….For married people I have a command which is not my own but the Lord’s: a wife must not leave her husband;but if she does,she must remain single or else be reconciled to her husband;and a husband must not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthinas 7,1 – 11).
The Catholic family should receive a stronger focus in parish life. Young people of each community should have regular opportunities to discuss issues on marriage and family life led by someone knowledgeable and trained in these matters. An important guide and resource for Christian living, marriage and family, published by the SACBC is called: God & Love, Life & Sex. Catholic sexuality education should be part of the formation for couples preparing for marriage in order to counteract the “culture of death” prevalent in our South African society. A vigorous family life ministry programme should be implemented in the parish with proper formation and catechesis. Prayers in our families should be promoted with special devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as toSt Joseph and the Holy Family. Retreats for married couples should be done in the parish for their support and enrichment. Mature Catholic married couples should be involved in the parish family ministry. There is a deep need for our Catholic families to discover the Sacrament of Marriage as foundational for their family relationships and growth in the Spirit of Christ. Catholic sodalities and associations should help cultivate the values of fidelity and loving communion in married life where the husband and wife share an exclusive and sacred union of equal dignity.
The family is the best setting for learning and applying the culture of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation.In a healthy family life we experience some of the fundamental elements of peace: justice and love between brothers and sisters,the role of authority expressed by parents,loving concern for the members who are weaker because of youth,sickness or old age,mutual help in the necessities of life,readiness to accept others and,if necessary to forgive them.For this reason the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace.By virtue of its central importance and the various threats looming over it – distortion of the very notion of marriage and family,devaluation of maternity and trivialization of abortion,easy divorce and relativism of a “new ethics” – the family needs to be protected and defended,so that it may offer society the service expected of it,that of providing men and women capable of building a social fabric of peace and harmony. (Africae Munus, 43).