Monday, December 21, 2015

Synod on the Family, Chapter Four

Chapter Four of the Synod on the Family's document is titled "Family, Affectivity and Life".


To have a quality, emotional relationship, you must open yourself to others and love them. The church needs to help couples develop the emotional aspect of their relationship, so they can give themselves to each other in mutual self-giving.

Emotional weakness is seen in people who are led by self-centered and unstable emotions; focusing on these things does not help people become more mature. To that end, the church needs to denounce all forms of pornography and prostitution.

Many couples are hesitant and uncertain, and they have trouble getting past the first stages of their emotional and sexual life. They get stuck an emotional rut, which can negatively impact the family and society, and it often leads to separation and divorce.

Artificial insemination (and other new technologies) allow people to manipulate the act of having children. This has had a negative effect, in that it separates "having children" from "having sex". People think having children is optional, something which depends on the wishes and whims of individuals or couples. This has had large effects on social life, legal systems, and how relationships work. In the fact of this, the church affirms that children are a gift from God, to be loved and cherished, not to be avoided.

Humans naturally seek meaning and fulfillment in life. Marriage and the family are a response to humanity's search for meaning. "People ought to be received with understanding and sensitivity to their real-life situations and to learn how to continue their search for meaning in life." Even people in irregular or difficult situations have a desire for belonging, and the church's response to these people should include mercy and truth.

This is to say, the church needs to focus less on imposing general rules, and focus more on the diversity of real-life situations. It's not enough to say, "Here's what you need to do. Here's the way you need to go." We must also accompany people on their journey. Everyone needs to be understood, and the church should not automatically condemn people who are in non-ideal situations. Oftentimes, people and families are in bad situations, not of their own choosing. The Catholic faith demands that no one be excluded, because all people are loved by God, and therefore, all people are important.

No comments: