New family forms

Family in upheaval

Must we redefine the term family?

02.10.2014, 16:03 hrs | mmh, dpa, t-online.de

Mom, Dad, child – how do you define family today? (Source: Thinkstock by Getty-Images)

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Patchwork families, rainbow families, single parents – the repertoire of more or less recognized family variants besides the classical form has become richer in our society. Marriage and family law in particular have reacted to this. But has this already reached all people in society? Or do we have to redefine our concept of family?

The “wild marriage” has long since ceased to be an experiment of the hippie era, but has become a way of life for many people. The two fathers pick up their child from the kindergarten, the son’s boyfriend lives half the week in the mother’s family, the other half in the father’s new family, the other boyfriend lives with his single mother, the daughter has a homosexual teacher who is now marrying his partner and you yourself are invited to the wedding of a divorced girlfriend who marries a man with children from two previous relationships. No one has to hide anymore, many things are tolerated and discussed.

New forms of the family – broad spectrum

Not everyone is good for all forms, but no one can deny them anymore, not even the Pope and his bishops. The Pope asked around the globe how the Catholic Church sees marriage, family and sexuality. The results present the world church with a great challenge.

About 30 percent of the world’s population profess Christianity, about half of them, about 1.1 billion people, are Catholics. Thus this event becomes symptom of a small revolution, Does this established institution rethink church? Divorce, contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage also belong to the complex of topics. Many church members criticize the church’s attitude, which marginalizes and frustrates many people.

Setting the course for family and sexuality?

Church experts speak of a change of course by Pope Francis. Skeptics say: “New realities must be recognized in marriage and family, but the doctrine of the Church will not change.

The Church maintains that marriage between men and women is the basis of the family. Especially in Europe and America, however, “wild marriages” are no longer experiments but stable forms of life. All Bishops’ Conferences had indeed spoken out against a new definition of marriage. For example, the church had to find a respectful, not condemnatory attitude towards homosexual marriage.

Do we need a new definition of “family”?

Topics that are also taken up outside the church. After all, it was a long process until same-sex partnerships were legally equal or homosexual couples could adopt children. Topics that even non-Catholics do not always easily deal with. Not everyone takes the rich variety of family forms for granted. Some ask themselves: Does our society need a new definition of the term “family”?

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