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Health of Church and health of family connect

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 Contents - Oct 2005AD2000 October 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Health of Church and health of family connect - Michael Gilchrist
Benedict XVI speaks out on the crisis of faith in Australia - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Books: The Incredible Da Vinci Code falsehoods exposed - Frank Mobbs
Juventutem: Young Latin Mass Catholics attend World Youth Day - Fr Glen Tattersall
Youth: The lasting impact of World Youth Day - Sannon Donahoo
Society: The latest marriage statistics: implications - Zenit News Agency
Dies Domini: Armidale Diocese promotes Sunday observance - Bishop Luc Matthys
Conference: C.S. Lewis: defender of objective truth - Adam Glyn Cooper
Culture: How the Catholic Church built Western civilisation - Thomas E. Woods Jr
Priesthood: Christ's call to priestly celibacy - Fr Thaddeus Doyle
Letters: Reverence? - P.R. Smith
Letters: Blasphemy - Alan Onraet
Letters: A sense of sin - Henk Verhoeven
Letters: Contraception - Anne Lastman
Letters: Watered-down faith - Paula Gartland
Letters: A treasured priest: Fr William Ross - Tom King
Letters: Anti-Christian media - Frank Bellet
Letters: Sacrifice of the Mass - A. Bono
Letters: New hymn lyrics for Come As You Are
Books: Your Life is Worth Living: The Christian Philosophy of Life, by Fulton J. Sheen - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: What is Opus Dei?, by Dominique le Tourneau - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: A Beautiful Story to be Told: The Legion of Mary in Oceania 1932-2005 - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Events: Who's Afraid of Vatican II? Seminars October-December 2005
Books: More good reading from AD Books
Reflection: What the early Church tells us about the celebration of Mass - Fr Sebastian Camilleri OFM

It is not without reason that the Catholic Church describes the family as the domestic Church, for the family is the cornerstone of the Church. When Catholic families are in crisis, so, most likely, is the Church.

Much the same can be said about the health of society in general, since a high incidence of unstable families, or a high rate of family breakdown, impacts on every facet of social life and government, e.g., education, health and law and order.

When governments actively or passively undermine the family, they soon sow what they reap. Radical economic rationalist policies - accompanied by a downsized workforce - have seen a reduction in the number of full-time male breadwinners who can realistically contemplate marriage. At the same time, government policies or judicial decisions equating alternative arrangements to marriage between a man and a woman, solemnly undertaken, can weaken respect and commitment leading to higher levels of divorce.

The statistics discussed on page 8 of the current issue highlight the kinds of problems facing families today and go a long way towards explaining the kind of crisis of faith Benedict XVI identified "above all in Australia" as well as in other parts of the Western world, including his native Germany.

The steep decline in Mass attendances, the low level of observance of the Church's moral teachings, the relative few entering the priesthood and religious life, all connect with the parlous state of the family - including the decline in numbers of children.

It is, of course, much easier to state the complex problem. It is far more difficult to plot a series of feasible steps that might remedy the situation.

For starters, more Catholics need to be pro-active in the political arena, so that governments are encouraged to resist the pressures of minority groups bent on destabilising the family and to better appreciate the wisdom of building a social, economic and cultural environment that is truly family friendly.

This will be good for our society and likewise good for the Church.

Michael Gilchrist: Editor AD2000 (email -

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 9 (October 2005), p. 2

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