Saturday, December 19, 2015

Synod on the Family, Chapter 2

They finally released an English translation of the final report from this year's Catholic Synod. The topic was marriage and the family, and there were some interesting results!

I don't know if I'll cover the ENTIRE document, but I can at least talk about the first part of the document. I'll start with Chapter Two, because I found it to be more interesting than the first one.

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The family is the primary good of society, and governments "must provide for and promote family policies which support and encourage families, primarily those of modest means." This document uses welfare programs as an example, but I'm reminded of paid maternal leave, which is still not offered in the United States. That is a prime example of a policy which makes it harder for people to have families!

In fact, Katie and I are running up against this problem, because we're thinking of having a child together. There is only a limited amount of time she can spend with her newborn baby, before going back to work. Most likely, she'll have to sacrifice some sick/vacation days, just to spend time with the child.

Not only does government corruption result in bad policies that harm families, but government corruption undermines people's hope for the future and trust in each other. This has had the effect of people being reluctant to raise kids, and people thinking the elderly are a burden. In some places, people are filled with crushing loneliness and emptiness, due to oppressive situations. Only God can sustain people in this emptiness.

Economics play a role in the family, and many times, money is the deciding factor in a family's access to schools or social events. Today, many young people are forced to take jobs with long hours, jobs that are far away from home, jobs which keep them away from their families for extended periods of time, because the job market is so bad, there are no other options. When family members are kept apart due to economics, the family has a hard time growing together.

Excluded groups include "immigrants, gypsies, the homeless, displaced persons, refugees, the untouchables in the caste system and those who are suffering from diseases which carry a social stigma". Jesus himself was excluded from general society, and he put great importance in how we treat other people, especially the excluded. Today, we have social exclusion, which often makes the poor invisible to society.

The ecology is important to the family, because, as Pope Francis teaches, the environment and everything is interrelated. Environmentalism is founded on the idea of people being connected to a larger whole, an idea that we first learn with our families. The family is also where we first learn to love.

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