The catholic family today: challenges facing the catholic family in Rwemisanga Parish of Hoima Diocese in the light of familiaris consortio
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This research contributes to the pastoral care of the Catholic family by exploring the challenges facing the Catholic family in Rwemisanga Parish and the indispensable need to tackle these challenges if the Church must foster a proper growth of the ecclesial community. Observing the indispensable role of the family in society in general and the Church in particular, for which the family is the primary unit, and drawing from the changes taking place in our society today and the consequent demands they lay on the family, I have undertaken to study the challenges facing the Catholic family, first, as an academic paper – to fulfil the requirements of the graduate school for the award of a Maters Degree in Religious and Theological Studies, but also to propose ways of improving the life of the Catholic family amidst challenging situations and the life of the society. This Pastoral and Theological study is a survey and descriptive research based the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Familiaris Consortio’ of John Paul II, and has been conducted in Rwemisanga Parish of Hoima Diocese – in the administrative district of Hoima – Kyangwali Sub-county. From a population of 41,545 people, a sample of 745 Catholics of 18 years and above has been interviewed and discussed with. The sample has been selected using stratified random sampling procedure. This study uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches of data analysis. This research brings to the fore the fact that despite the indispensability of the family at the level of the whole of society and in the Church, the institutions is today beset by various challenges and negative forces that seek to destroy it. There is a significant change in the social, political and economic spheres of the structure of society of which the family is part and the basic cell. These occasion changes and challenges in the family. On the whole the living conditions of most families, especially as far as basic human needs are concerned are very poor. On the Christian level there is a significant breakdown of the values proper to the nature and purpose of the family such as community life, stability, service of life and participation in the mission of the Church with the result that while many people get married very few are prepared to embrace the sacrament of Matrimony. Prayer life and sacramental life in the family have drastically declined. This is coupled with the fact that most of the present pastoral methods are not suited to the present predicament of the family. There is little wonder then that today we witness several signs of disintegration within the family as reflected in increased recourse to a contraceptive culture, domestic violence, single parents – especially mothers, teenage pregnancies, families and increased rates of abortion, child labour and child abuse. The conclusion of this research is that the need for strong families in the Church and in our society is indispensable. The challenges and negative forces, which put the life of the Catholic family at stake call for a response from the family not to lose its identity. This means that the Catholic family must be prepared and formed to give the expected response. To the extent that the Catholic family is succumbing to the challenges so much so that it exhibits signs of disintegration is an indication that it has not been well formed to meet its purpose. This calls for a carefully discerned pastoral programme for the care of the family. In the final analysis this study calls for a concerted effort to carry out a well carefully discerned pastoral care programme for the family through a well designed programme of catechesis for the family; training theological experts who will study salient issues concerning the life of the family; conducting theological investigations into current concerns of the family; training of Lay specialists that can contribute to the pastoral care of the family; establishment of institutes that will specialise in the study of the affairs of the family; putting into place a Directory for the Pastoral care of the family; working hard to improve household incomes; and getting actively and positively involved in the means of social communication.
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