IMBISA DOCUMENTATION NO 2

IMBISA DOCUMENTATION

Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa

Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe

No 2   (English)     –   June 2013

“Theological Reflection for Pastoral Action”

CONTENTS

Learning Never Stops                                             p. 1

The Bishops Speak                                                 p. 3

Communication in Marriage (No.4)                        p. 6

Marriage an Act of Faith in Christ   (No 5)              p. 9

“Crisis of Masculinity” (No 6)                                  p. 12

Questionnaire                                                            p. 15

A Request for Help                                                    p. 17

“GOD. Love, Life and Sex”                                         p. 18

 

From the EDITOR

LEARNING NEVER STOPS

The Bishops of IMBISA listened to experts and deliberated about Marriage and Family already in 1995 in Windhoek/Namibia, so why do it again? What the Church teaches has been laid down once and for all, so why all these questions? Bishops have taught the moral principles concerning marriage and family for ages, so why should they come to new conclusions now? Our priests have studied their moral theology and canon law, their sacramental theology and liturgy, why drag them to up-dating courses?

The fact is the human mind is restless, it never ceases asking questions; the human heart is never content, new experiences lead to new expectations. New inventions and technologies change the rhythm of life, and widen the horizon of the world we live in. New questions need new answers. The faith through 2000 years has been the same, but how it is expressed, interpreted and explained, that keeps changing.

Latin was good enough as a symbol of unity for the Church of Europe which had its historical foundation in the Roman Empire and its Latin/Greek culture. Since the Church has grown beyond her old geographical and cultural boundaries hundreds of languages were introduced into the Church, and now we struggle with this multilingual liturgical culture and myriads of translation problems.

Marriage as the union between one man and one woman was not questioned a thousand years in countries where monogamy had become even the basis of civil law. You take a certain way of life for granted; then somebody comes and calls it into question. Do you just go along with it? No. The Church is not supposed to swim with the tide (“Do not be conformed to this world”, Rom. 12: 2), but she has to give reasons why. As polygamists, ancient and new, question monogamy the Church must tell people why a man should love his woman so much that he cannot think of taking a second wife.

It is in times of crisis that the Church is challenged to think more deeply about her own doctrine and comes to realize the real reason for her accustomed way of life. In times of trial the Church comes to know herself fully. Many trivial reasons for monogamy will be pulverized in fierce public debate. But the real reason will emerge, too: husband and wife love each other as equal partners with the unbreakable love of Christ; this is only possible in a monogamous, lifelong union.

When we were young no one dreamt of “same-sex marriage”. Now more and more countries accept it in their constitutions and laws. This forces us to develop a new and more profound Christian view of the sexes and a theological anthropology of man and woman. What did the Creator mean by “creating the human person, as man and woman he created them” (Genesis 2: 27)?

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801 – 1890) has given us the key for understanding this continuous struggle of the Church to understand the divine revelation given to her: he calls it “the development of doctrine”. The treasure of revealed truth is growing, and yet retaining its identity as a tree does : the fully grown tree is identical with the little seedling it once was. A grown man is identical with the baby he once was in his mother’s womb.

The point is : there is not just identity, but also change. And we have to keep up with this change. That is why it is not enough if a priest merely keeps repeating what he learnt in the seminary. What he has learnt is not to be discarded, it is good and precious, but it needs to be readjusted and rearticulated in the light of on-going debate and challenges from public opinion. His pastoral skills need to be refined in the light of new insights into individual psychology and community living. Having gained much practical experience in tending his flock, he needs a chance to reflect on it in dialogue with his brethren. As Pope John Paul II said, the pastor owes it his flock to keep updating himself as a matter of “pastoral charity”.

Formation is not finished after six years of seminary training. It is on-going. It never stops.

THE BISHOPS SPEAK

The Bishops of Southern Africa have been teaching continuously about Marriage and Family. Look up the website of SACBC www.sacbc.org.za under “The Bishops Speak” and you will find many pastoral letters by individual bishops or by the entire Bishops’ Conference, e.g. “Pastoral Letter of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference on the Year of the Family (May 1994)”.

Look for the Zimbabwean ZCBC Pastoral letters on the website www.afcast.org.za under “Pastoral Letters” and you will find ‘Save our Families – 1991’ (on the AIDS crisis), ‘God’s Love in Marriage and Family – October 1994’, ‘The Family is the Basic Unit of Society – August 1994’, ‘Male and Female He Created Them – January 1996’ , and many more.

We hope that eventually all national secretariats will have websites and display the pastoral letters of their conferences for all to see. What one bishop or one conference produced may inspire others. That is what IMBISA is there for that we network and share, communicate and exchange.

Here a passage from “God’s Love in Marriage and Family” (ZCBC):

“God’s Creation

“God is love” and he created us for love. That is why he “created us male and female.’ [8] We were created as social beings to reach out to the other. We were created for living in family, we were made for community.

Man was not created so he could use woman selfishly for his own ends and thus end up in isolation, but to give himself to her in love and create a community of persons.

Man may use the animals. He named them all, “but no helper suitable for man was found for him”. But he may not use woman. When he first met her, he recognised her as his own kind and acknowledged her personhood. “That one is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!”[9] Man must relate to woman, and woman must relate to man, as persons. He must respect her as equal to himself, a human being like himself. And she can respect him, too, once she feels she is respected by him.

As long as one merely uses the other as a ‘thing’ there is no community of persons. There is only the loneliness of the isolated “I”. But we are meant to recognise and respect, accept and love each other and say “We”. This we learn most commonly and basically in the family. There we learn what it is to be human. If we neglect the family we lose our humanity.

“You know what Family means to us in Africa. It is the place where the deep African value of life comes to be, is protected and nourished, a place of belonging where sharing and solidarity are at the heart of daily life and where each one feels himself or herself truly at home,” the Bishops of Eastern and Southern Africa said in their message from the Africa Synod.[10]

“‘Male and female he created them.’[11] Here too we find the first statement of the equal dignity of man and woman: both, in equal measure, are persons… both man and woman make their specific contribution. Hence one can discover, at the very origins of human society, the qualities of communion and complementarity.” [12]

“The family has always been considered as the first and basic expression of man’s social nature.” [13]

The primordial model of the family is to be sought in God himself, in the Trinitarian mystery of his life.” [14]

Marriage – an Image of God’s Love

Man was created for woman, and woman was created for man, and both were created for God, that is to say for love. In loving each other they learn to be open to God’s love. In giving themselves to each other, they learn to give themselves to God. In giving themselves to each other once and for all, without any reservations to each other, they learn to give themselves to God once and for all, without reservations or conditions.

A man may be happy that “woman was created for man” and use her as his servant, ignoring that he, too, was created for her, to give himself to her in love. If a ‘man cannot love his wife whom he can see how is he to love God whom he cannot see’? [15]

Love means giving oneself into the hands of the loved one. It means asking, not: How can I use her? But: What can I do for the beloved? Loved in this way, the woman too will ask what she can do for him.

In their mutual love man and woman have to discover for themselves this basic rule which Christ has laid down for us, “Anyone who finds life will lose it; anyone who loses life for my sake will find it.”[16]The spouses find themselves in giving themselves to each other. In forgetting about himself and caring about the wife the husband becomes the man the Creator meant to be: strong, dependable, courageous. In responding with unselfish love the woman fulfils her womanhood. “

—————————–

The teaching is there, presented with love and passion. But does the message arrive?   This is not so certain. The Bishops as the “true and authentic teachers of the faith” (Vatican Council II) need to pay attention to distribution. Printed copies of their letters – those very few that are being printed! – may reach the desk of the parish priest, but sadly often they do not go any further! “Production is easy, marketing is the problem” .

To reach the people on the market place, or wherever they may be. That is the problem. Recently a bishops’ conference wrote a letter to their scattered flock overseas. The letter was never printed. It was distributed through e-mail and Internet. It reached destinations all round the globe. The future lies in those new media.

In the meantime we need to find reliable messengers for our messages among our co-workers. Sending them printed matter is not enough. Jesus did not just scatter the seed. He reflected in the “parable of the seed and the sower” on how it is received. Some seeds fell on rocky ground, others among thorns , “other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain” (Matthew 13: 3 – 9). How do we reach the ones who promise to be “good soil”?

There is good news though. Five South African archbishops have produced “GOD, Love, Life and Sex” , a book that is also accessible on Facebook. We are moving in the right direction after all. – Editor

—————————————————————————————————

Preparing for Plenary Assembly 2013:

Working Paper No 4

COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE

Whether in a remote village in the Austrian alps or in a traditional African village: at any gathering men sit on one side and women on the other. Men eat in the living room, women and children in the kitchen. When do they meet and talk? Maybe there was a time when men and women did not have much to talk about, everything was clearly prescribed by custom, everyone, man or woman, knew his or her place, knew what to do.

But in 2013 there are far fewer certainties in life. Women no longer think or do exactly the same as their grandmothers did. Men need to know what women think. They even need to learn what women know and they don’t! Women know what things cost, they are better at spending money wisely. Mothers are closer to the children. If fathers do not want to lose contact with their children, they had better listen to their mothers. – Money causes endless trouble in the home. Unless parents learn to discuss it openly and budget together they have to steal it from each other!

Men resent women asking them questions, “Where have you been? Where did you go?” This often leads to bitter quarrels. Even domestic violence. Tongue-tied men cannot compete with articulate, fast-talking women and lose the contest. They can only win by hitting out with a clenched fist.

If men don’t want women asking them questions there is only one thing to do: tell them what they want to know before they even ask!

In these uncertain times when there are fewer predictable patterns of behaviour, and the problems of life need new answers, men and women must try and share their resources, exchange their views, find answers together. The Christian community can help and create a new culture where men and women listen and talk to each other, in the parish council, in young couples associations, in Marriage Encounter, in many parish groups, like Justice & Peace, St Vincent de Paul, in neighbourhood groups (SCC) where men and women meet and work together.

Too many marriages go stale because husband and wife have long stopped talking and listening to each other, if they ever did it in the first place.

Having a family is no longer something that just happens. It needs foresight and planning. It needs great openness between husband and wife, equal in human dignity but differing in the tasks Nature (indeed the Creator) gave them. It needs a new kind of marriage where husband and wife are not just intimate with each other, but can even communicate about intimacy. Responsible parenthood, using ‘natural family planning’, can only become real if parents learn their body language and can communicate to each other what they observe. That is a new way of life, of respect and loving attention to each other.

What can we learn from Scripture about the relationship between men and women? In Palestine a man would not be seen talking to a woman in public, we are told. But the Bible of the First Covenant (Old Testament) presents us God as a lover of his “wife”, the people of Israel, full of love and tenderness. Jesus does not mind being seen in public talking to a woman (cf John 4) , listening and responding respectfully.

St Paul’s great hymn of love, if taken as guide for husbands and wives, would make a huge difference to marriages: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13: 4 – 7).   – oWe

Working Paper No. 5

MARRIAGE AN ACT OF FAITH IN CHRIST

“The great mystery” we have to make known

If you want to drive you need a driver’s licence. If you want to teach you go to a teachers training college. If you want to become a priest you go to a seminary. If you want to join a religious community you spend two years learning how to pray, and live and work in community.

Only if you want to get married, live with the woman you love, or with the man you want to start a family with, you do nothing of the kind.

In traditional society, young men had to undergo initiation when uncles and other mature men were introducing them into their future roles as husbands and fathers. This system has broken down in many places because of mobility and migration. Girls used to be introduced into their future lives as wives and mothers by their aunts. Nowadays they hear about “sex” from friends, maybe in school, maybe from foreign organizations concerned with population growth. Much of what they hear is more confusing than enlightening. They start intimate relationships with boys without knowing what they are doing. The first pregnancy is not a joyful occasion of looking forward to a child, but an unfortunate accident.

Maybe in the past young people learnt from their parents what married life was like just by watching. But today life moves so fast that the young can no longer identify with their parents’ generation.

Falling in love, choosing a partner, starting life together are considered very private family matters; the community, including the Christian community, the Church, are supposed to get involved only when the young couples have done all the necessary traditional things. That is far too late. Like people driving without a licence, they are soon heading for a crash.

In some parts of the world the Church insists now on a thorough preparation for marriage, taking maybe six months. Elsewhere marriage seminars are on offer, but mostly on a voluntary basis. In Southern Africa young couples may live in one country, but celebrate the wedding in another. They spend much time and money on the wedding, and almost nothing on the married life they want to live together, with all its confusing problems and obstacles.

Neither the traditional introduction into married and family life nor the few catechetical instructions given by someone in the Christian community are adequate.

The young people themselves are far from being quite clear about what they really want and expect. ‘Getting married seems the most natural thing in the world, everybody knows about that.’ Everybody thinks they know about love and intimacy and “sex”. Do they?

What they do not think about is responsibility and the mutual support they have to give each other and the material basis that has to be there for a family. Spending a fortune on a bridal gown and a fancy suit, bridewealth (lobola) and a lavish wedding party may be much admired and give them social prestige. It does nothing to build a home.

What they have never talked about are their very different expectations. The husband wants the woman to look after him well and even spoil him, to be available at all times, to give him children. The woman wants security and fidelity from her husband, while he, though he may not say so, insists on his freedom.

The time when the husband knew his place and she hers are long gone. There are few, if any, firmly established customs and traditions left. Everything really has to be renegotiated. Nothing can be taken for granted.

Marriage itself as a life-long union is being questioned. There is no common understanding of what marriage is. At best it is an experiment which is quickly abandoned when the result seems to be negative, never mind the thousands spent on that prestige wedding. Career women who are financially independent have written it off completely.

Customs and old rituals alone will not save marriage, neither traditional nor neo-African Christian ones.

The time has come to look at Christian marriage afresh and realize that the Sacrament of Matrimony is an act of faith and can only be lived in communion with Christ.

People assume that the difference between a civil and a Christian marriage is the church ceremony. The real difference is that a civil marriage is conditional while a Christian marriage is unconditional; the former is a contract binding only under certain conditions, the latter is absolutely binding because it is modeled on the love and faithfulness of God revealed in Christ.

Without this faith in Christ, strictly speaking, there is no sacramental marriage. The Sacrament of Matrimony, a visible union of one man and one woman, makes visible the unbreakable bond, the love and faithfulness, between Christ and His Bride, the Church. Only in the power of Christ’s love can weak human beings, a man and a woman, people of flesh and blood, love each other “until the end” (cf. John 13: 1).

It is not enough to get all the canonical and legal requirements right in preparing for a wedding (though that is also necessary). Above all it needs a living faith in Christ and great love for him in both spouses, since they love each other “in Christ” and with the love of Christ.

The great and wonderful promise of sacramental marriage is that LOVE IS POSSIBLE. Love in the power of Christ and His Spirit poured out into our hearts can last, can be an unbreakable bond, as unbreakable as the bond between Christ and His Bride, the Church, as unbreakable, indeed, as the Trinitarian loving union between Father and Son which is the Holy Spirit.

Love does not have to end in disappointment and disillusionment, in heartbreak and tears. Just as God says to every human being He has created, ‘Your are infinitely precious in my eyes’, so married love can say ‘You are as precious to me as you are to Our Lord, and I will not let go of you’, and act out this love to the very end.

Marriage vows are not an unbearable burden, but a sign of Hope and an expression of Faith in Christ and a promise of Love, a promise of ‘loving to the very end’ as Christ did. Marriage vows would be an ‘unbearable burden’ and a presumption, indeed foolishness, if they were pronounced without faith and hope in the power of Christ’s love.

It is not enough that the priest alone reminds us of this “great mystery …of Christ and the Church” (Ephesians 5: 32) at weddings. The whole Church/Christian community must witness to this, in their lives and in their words. For this they need a lived spirituality of marriage which finds liturgical expression and assumes a public character, not only at weddings, but also at jubilee celebrations and at commemorations of Saints who lived their marriages in an exemplary and heroic way (where are they? Maybe we find them among saintly married couples we knew though they were not canonized).

Married couples within the Christian community who live the Sacrament of Matrimony convincingly need to offer themselves as guides for the young ones preparing for marriage. They need to be people who really live their marriage “in Christ”, guided by His Holy Spirit. Marriage instructors who merely moralize and pronounce dire warnings about the dangers of adultery etc do more harm than good because they fail to reveal “the great mystery” and the power of the Love of Christ in living the Sacrament.

“All are called to sanctity….Christian married couples help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in the rearing of their children”( The Church, Vatican Council II). Christian married life, seen in the context of our secular culture, is something very special and extraordinary, indeed “a great mystery”. This mystery has to be preached by the shepherds of the Church and also and especially by married couples who actually live it and ‘glorify God in their bodies’ (1 Cor. 6: 20).   –   oWe

Working Paper No. 6

“CRISIS OF MACULINITY”

“Only 30% of South African children live with both their parents. This absence of fathers is due to a number of factors including the continuing practice of migrant labour; the high number of non‐marital pregnancies and births; the high rate of domestic violence; divorce and/or abandonment; the HIV/AIDS pandemic; alcohol and drug abuse; and the high number of teenage pregnancies – many of which are the result of abuse. This paternal absence and many of the behaviours associated with it have major implications for the socialization of children, particularly boys.

There is a paucity of positive male role models and it can be argued that there is a ‘crisis of masculinity’. Thus, we have an urgent need to develop a new understanding and definition of what it means to be ‘male’, which includes responsibility for the support and care of children and respect for the bodily integrity of women and children.” (From: CPLO, Briefing Paper 317, White Paper on the Family, March 2013)

When we discuss the situation of the Family we almost exclusively consider the woman’s role. Family, we assume, is the woman’s domain, is her responsibility; a family can survive without a man, but never without a woman.

This is the age of Woman, and men are dismissed as useless drones by the more extreme forms of feminism. If the man is absent, the reaction may be “Good riddance, he is useless, indeed doing more harm than good anyway”.

Men were needed as providers of economic support, but now that women are working in the professions, and are seen to be more successful even in the informal economy as traders or farmers or craftswomen, men seem dispensable, except biologically.

But it is not only the contention of Biblical, Christian anthropology that both man and woman in a stable marriage form the basis of the family, it is also the empirical truth that both man and woman, father and mother are needed to create the proper family environment where to raise children of both sexes.

The news, therefore, that “only 30 % of South African children live with both their parents” (and the situation in the rest of Southern Africa may not be all that different) is alarming. This “absence of fathers” makes the family very vulnerable and is bad for the children and their growing up and maturing into well-balanced adults.

Boys grow up without male role models. They do not learn how to relate positively to women. Leaving the home and learning their morals (or lack of it) in the “gang culture” of the street, they acquire a very negative, cynical view of women. Very irresponsible behavior towards women is the inevitable consequence: very young single mothers, neglected children, rape and abuse, domestic violence etc. Such young men are simply incapable of entering into a permanent relationship to a woman, based on love and mutual respect, called marriage. They are incapable also of accepting responsibility for a family.

The “crisis of masculinity” mentioned above has also an economic dimension. Unemployment hits men even harder than women. An unemployed woman is still leading a meaningful, fulfilling life as a wife and mother, and she is often very imaginative and active even in the informal economy. But an unemployed man often enough is really idle and doing nothing which affects his sense of self-worth very badly. If the woman in the house is the breadwinner taking over his male role, he may resent this, though he benefits from her coping with the situation better than he does, and become very aggressive towards her. In order to prove his masculine superiority he may become violent (even sexually violent) in his behavior towards her.

It is therefore not only in the interest of men, but also of women that boys and young men are enabled to use their energies positively and constructively through work and learn to accept responsibility, also and especially in the family context. Youth clubs must demonstrate to young men that being unemployed does not mean being unable to work. Teaching young merely verbally about responsibility and their future roles in the family is not enough. They must learn by experience in cooperative ventures and other ways of introducing young men into the world of work.

Very serious is also the question of bridewealth (lobola). Overcharging a prospective son-in-law is an invitation to irresponsible behavior. As a jobless young man, with a very low income from occasional “self-jobs”, he is unable to raise the sum demanded. So he lives with the young woman in an informal, socially unrecognized relationship. As soon as there is a crisis or problem, he will leave her (and the child or children) since he has no commitment or obligation towards her (and the family). She then returns to her parents and joins the ever growing ranks of “single mothers”.

The Church must try and tackle this socio-pastoral problem and engage the parent generation in a meaningful discussion.   – oWe

———————————————————————————————————

This questionnaire was sent out to all IMBISA countries/national secretariats. We include the text once more as a reminder. Thank you for your cooperation. Past. Dept. IMBISA

Preparing for the 10th Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa (IMBISA) Plenary Assembly

   Questionnaire on Family in the Face of Current Reality in Southern Africa (IMBISA Region)

Catholic Bishops in the IMBISA Region will meet for their 10th Triennial Plenary Assembly in November, 2013, in Botswana. The Bishops will discuss the topic: Lights and Shadows on the Family in Southern Africa Today. The Bishops consider the family apostolate a priority: “priority should be given to the family apostolate in an attempt to determine adequate methods which address challenges of our social reality in Southern Africa,” the Bishops said at the end of their 4th Triennial Plenary Assembly held 18 years ago in 1995 in Windhoek, Namibia. To help the Bishops focus on the actual reality of family in Southern Africa today, it is essential that the Bishops hear directly from families in the region. We would therefore be most grateful if you kindly completed this short questionnaire and returned it either to the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in your country or directly to us via the following email address: ranga.zinyemba@gmail.com

Ranga and Alice Zinyemba (Facilitators of the IMBISA Plenary Assembly)

(Ranga and Alice are certified organizational development (OD) consultants. They are a married couple living and working in Harare, Zimbabwe. Alice is a lecturer in Business Studies at the University of Zimbabwe and Ranga is the Rector/Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University in Zimbabwe)

  1. In your view, what is going WELL in relation to family in your country/diocese?

        B. In your view, what are the 3 MAJOR CHALLENGES that families in your country/diocese face?

 C. If you were to make ONE MAJOR REQUEST to the Church regarding families or the family institution, what request would you make?

 D. Kindly place an X against the category which distinguishes you best among the following:

  1. Married woman
  2. Single woman
  3. Married man
  4. Single man
  5. Widow
  6. Widower
  7. Divorcee/Separated (female)
  8. Divorcee/Separated (male)
  9. Teenager (female)
  10. Teenager (male)
  11. Religious (male)
  12. Religious (female)

E. What is your diocese?

F. What is your country?

G. Optional: if you wish to identify yourself and engage in further correspondence with the facilitators on this subject, you may do so below by writing your name and contact details, particularly your email address:

We thank you most sincerely for taking time to complete this questionnaire!

———————————————————————————————

A REQUEST FOR HELP

The Pastoral Department IMBISA , in order to give the Bishops of IMBISA the necessary assistance , needs to know the resources we have in different countries. A letter to this effect was sent out some time ago. South Africa / SACBC has responded. We still need to hear from elsewhere. So we repeat the gist of that letter:

We need to know all pastoral departments of Bishops’ Conferences, Pastoral Centres and Institutes as well as lay initiatives, associations and organizations to do with MARRIAGE AND FAMILY.

So will you kindly answer the following questions:

1)      Please list all pastoral departments, centres and lay associations dealing with Marriage and Family, names of persons-in-charge, postal addresses, telephone, e-mail, websites (if any), dioceses where they are based, print publications and/or electronic productions etc.

2)      Names of experts on all matters concerning Marriage and Family (pastors, canon lawyers, lawyers in general, doctors and medical experts, psychologists, well-known and experienced marriage councilors, media people and authors known for their interest in Marriage and Family, etc).

3)      Pastoral Letters by your national Bishops’ Conference and individual Bishops since 1995 if available.

4)      Reports on any conferences at national or diocesan level in your region.

5)      Reports on special pastoral initiatives concerning Marriage and Family in your region or in individual dioceses.

6)      Government initiatives, political developments, new legislation concerning Marriage and Family in your country or countries.

7)      Church statistics concerning marriages and families.

8)      Government statistics concerning marriages and families.

Your cooperation will be highly appreciated. Please use e-mail as far as possible. I will acknowledge receipt of any material immediately.

Head of Past. Dept. IMBISA

“GOD, Love, Life and Sex”

Congratulations to the five South African archbishops on the publication of their jointly authored book on “GOD, Love, Life and Sex” !

South Africa’s five metropolitan archbishops have released a new book, a response to the “most urgent pastoral priorities for the Church in Southern Africa”- marriage and family, faith formation of the laity, and youth ministry.

Entitled God, Love, Life and Sex, the book is intended as a “guide and resource for Christian living, marriage and family”, said Lynn Harrison of publishers Mariannhill Mission Press.

It is also an attempt to address the teaching of the encyclical letter of Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, concerning marriage and responsible family planning, offering more clarity, guidance and leadership.

“In 13 chapters if covers marriage, natural planning, the role of conscience, and asks the question: was Pope Paul VI right after all?” Ms Harrison said “It suggests good preparation for preventing marriage breakdown, addresses single unmarried parents and co-habiting couples, and abortion, euthanasia and suicide., the range of sexual abuse, woman in the likeness of God, people with the same sex attraction, and ends with living the truth in love – together.”

Archbishops Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, William Slattery of Pretoria, Jabulani Nxumalo of Bloemfontein and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban wrote the book because “all of us – including bishops – need ongoing faith formation to handle the many challenges we have to deal with as Christians in today’s world,” the bishops said in the book’s preface.

God, Love, Life and Sex also includes prayers and reflections and an extensive selected bibliography and informative endnotes, adding the possibility to open the door to real discussion, deeper reflection on the teaching of the magisterium and a more pastoral approach to the sacred scriptures, inviting a conversation around the controversial issues we face today.

“It could be a very useful tool for a deeper consideration on love and an extended view on life,” Ms Harrison said. “It offers topical material for discussion groups and is a resource for RCIA, confirmation candidates, marriage preparation discussion groups, and a new perspective for priests, catechism teachers and youth leaders. The book is for the whole Church”

The book sells for R40 plus postage and packaging, or can be bought at Catholic bookshops and repositories or online at www.godandlife.co.za

Article by: Claire Mathieson. From: The Southern Cross. Issue: May 29 to June 4, 2013. Page 2.

Find God, Love and Life and Sex on Facebook.

 IMBISA Centre – Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa, Pastoral Department – Social Department, 88 Broadlands Avenue, Avondale , Harare, Box EH 99 Emerald Hill, Harare, Zimbabwe. Tel. 336 775 / 336 908. E-mail: owermter@ymail.com, oskarwermter@imbisa.co.zw (pastoral), creis@imbisa.co.zw (social). rmenatsi@gmail.com (director).

IMBISA assists only in matters that individual dioceses or national bishops’ conferences cannot do by themselves (Principle of Subsidiarity).

 

 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s