The Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Harare, Most Rev. R. C Ndlovu expressed his grief over the modern families especially in matters of their faith and how they relate to each other within and outside the family in this era of new evangelization in the church.
The Archbishop was speaking to thousands of Catechists from the Archdiocese of Harare who had their congress from the 1st to the 4th of May 2014 at St Paul Musami. Delivering a talk entitled, ‘Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of New Evangelization’, the Archbishop led the participants through a comparative analysis of the traditional life and contemporary life and juxtaposed the two and muckraked what is missing in today’s family which a pastoral worker like a catechist should do or not to do in a bid to help these emerging families of today.
“We used to talk of a husband, wife and children when we talk of a family but now it’s no longer that. We now have single parented families; some children are now looking for themselves for their upbringing which in the yesteryear was a rare situation. Grandparents have become the parents of the modern children because real parents are no more. New evangelization is giving us a challenge as teachers of faith to find ways how we can help these families and make sure they are not quarantined from the whole congregation due to their statuses”, said the Archbishop.
His Grace warned to observe deeply in each and everyone’s background before judging if the person should be exempted from some duties, responsibilities and obligations in the church one of them being the sacrament of Eucharist.
“Some single parents might have been left by their spouses who went to Diaspora and gone for good before they receive the sacrament of Matrimony or a husband might have died before the two receive the latter sacrament. Should we say these people must not receive the sacrament of Eucharist with the background of such situation? What of our children getting unplanned pregnancies, should we not baptize the child?
The problem with us is that, we are quick to condemn. We make ourselves judges and bad ones for that matter. Let’s find ways of helping these emerging families as catechists for the better of the church”, he added.
Archbishop Ndlovu also expressed his worries and fear with the rate at which the mass media, peer pressure and social media are widening the gap between parents and their children. He argued that nowadays, parents and children no longer have time together and the family union has become weak in the modern world. He added that mentorship of today’s children has shifted from the parents and they now follow what the press is saying, what they see on television and what they tell each other on social platforms. This deteriorates the relationship between children and parents. He also pointed this cause as leading to different faiths within one family which is a big challenge the Church is facing.
“Back then, faith was passed from one generation to the other and we used to follow our parents’ faith by default but now our young people believe in what they hear, see and read on social media and the influence of their peers”, he said.
The Archbishop urged all parents not to leave their children home when they go to church. He also made calls for the Catechists to have a Christ like attitude towards the faithful especially those encountering some difficulties in their faith and challenged the local Church to have a Family Desk in each Diocese or even parishes which is then equipped to deal with matters arising from the modern family trends.
Mixed marriages, HIV/AIDS, lobolla, traditional beliefs and influence of extended families are some of the issues addressed during his talk.