Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ghana Catholic Bishops: “The Pastoral Challenges Of The Family In The Context Of Evangelisation”

The theme of this year’s plenary Assembly is, “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation”.  This theme was inspired by the just-ended Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family held in Rome, from 5th to 19th October, 2014 to consider the pastoral challenges that the family faces today. Our deliberations on this theme were preceded by four days of prayer and reflection, at the end of which we wish to present to you and to the good people of Ghana and the world at large the following pertinent teachings on the family.

The Church’s perennial and unchanging teaching on the family is based on the nature of man but especially on Scripture and Sacred Tradition namely, that God ordained marriage to be between man and woman, when “God made them male and female and blessed them”. God also intended marriage to be open to life when, “He blessed them and said increase and multiply” (Gen. 1:27-28).  Furthermore, God determined marriage to be indissoluble as Jesus affirmed, “What therefore God has put together, let no man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

The Church’s consistent teaching on the importance of marriage and family life as revealed in Sacred Scripture is also emphasised in the Magisterium. The Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes (GS), for instance, speaks about the dignity of marriage and family life (cf. GS 47-52), defining marriage as a community of life and love and placing love at the nucleus of the family (Eph. 5:25).

God the Creator, by forming the first man and woman and commanding them to be fruitful and to multiply (Gen. 1:28) definitively established the family to be a permanent union between one man and one woman. Consequently, the family becomes the sanctuary where life is born, nurtured and welcomed as a gift of God. By matrimonial covenant which the Lord Jesus raised to the dignity of a sacrament, a man and a woman come together to establish between themselves a relationship of love which by its very nature is ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. This covenant of love consequently takes the character and effect of unity, indissolubility, fidelity and openness to life. Marital love also requires the fidelity of the spouses flowing from the gift of oneself to one’s lawful spouse (cf. Eph. 5:32).   (more...)

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