The challenges that pastoral care in Poland has to face today are not less numerous than at the time when it was established several dozen years ago. It seems that we should begin our survey of these challenges from indicating a group of challenges that may be called challenges to marriage and family. Here we find that the structure of marriage as a relationship between heterosexual persons: a husband and wife is more and more commonly questioned; marriage is questioned as the foundation of family; the processes of marital disintegration increase, divorces and remarriages; free unions that last for years. The causes for this group of challenges as ideological or practical. Another group of challenges consists of separation due to economic reasons, mainly going abroad to work. This causes the increasing process of marital disintegration, rapid growth of social orphans, old parents and often ill are left unattended by their adult emigrating children. It follows from job problems that the competitive model of interpersonal relations is extrapolated on the marital bond. We have to add the issues of psychological and physical violence in the family, abortion and calls to legalise euthanasia. A further group of challenges consists of those related to sexual activity. Contraceptive mentality and practices are popular, the phenomenon of marital infertility is increasing, life is conceived beyond its natural and marital milieu. In view of the above challenges, pastoral care for families in Poland should change its legal-moral categories of marriage and family into sociological and theological, it should purify the image of God from its anthropomorphic elements. It depends much on this image that man can understand himself and build his marital relationship. Another important issue is to link theological knowledge and adequate aspects of the particular sciences. This link must be methodologically correct in pastoral care. Theological knowledge shows a model of marriage and family, whereas the particular sciences provide practical solutions how to accomplish this model. All this calls for an ordering of basic concepts of marriage and family, as there is much disorder there. Eventually, such actions should bring about milieus of support for the family that would make it easier to defend the principal Christian values.
Ks. Krystian Wojaczek, Katedra Duszpasterstwa i Profilaktyki Dysfunkcji Rodziny na Wydziale Teologicznym Uniwersytetu Opolskiego, ul. S. Adamskiego 13/12, 40-069 Katowice, Poland
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