Families

(2016/2) Editor(s): Susan Ross(c), Lisa Cahill, Erik Borgmann, Sarojini Nadar
Cover Page

Articles of the issue

Table of Contents 2016/2 - Families

 

Edited by Susan A. Ross, Lisa S. Cahill, Erik Borgman, and Sarojini Nadar

Part one: New Testament Resources

Gospel and Family – Mary R. D’Angelo

Part two: Families in Diverse Contexts

Eating from many Dishes: Polygamy Reconsidered – Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator

The Family at the Crossroads: Young Couples in Italy Between Fragility and Resources – Domenico Simeone

Families in Poverty on the Outskirts of Buenos Aires – Ana Lourdes Suárez

Part Three: New Challenges for Families

Families and Migration – Gemma Tulud Cruz

African Catholic Women Engage with Humanae VitaeMartha Mapasure & Susan Rakoczy

Tangle of Perils: The Eschatological Dilemma of Black Families in America – Christophe D. Ringer

Water is Thicker that Blood: Adoptive Families and Catholic Tradition – Darlene Fozard Weaver

Part Four: Theological Forum on Sam-sex Marriage

Irish Families Vote for Marriage Equality: Big Tent Catholicism Confronts Rome’s Narrow Gate – Julie Clague

Same-sex Marriage and the Supreme Court of the United States – Jeannine Gramick

The Same Sex Marriage Debate: Matters Arising – Paulinus I. Odozor

Radical Alternatives for LGBT Bodiliness and Islamity: Is this the Avant-Garde of New Islamic Theologies of Liberation? – Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed

Part Five: Report on the 2015 Synod on Families

Divided Synod Limps to Conclusion – Thomas J. Reese

                 Editorial

            On January 2, 2016, local television stations and newspapers in Chicago announced, as is their usual practice, the birth of the first baby born in the metropolitan area in the New Year. This year, a 15 year-old unmarried Hispanic girl gave birth to a daughter at 12:01 a.m. in a suburban hospital. Her delighted parents spoke of their joy and dedication to helping raise their new grandchild; the mother was shown gazing lovingly at her new baby, while also declaring her intention to finish high school and to become a police officer. It is doubtful that fifty years ago, this family’s situation would have been celebrated as it is today, but the situation of families around the world in 2016 has changed enormously in the last few decades. Having a child “out of wedlock” is no longer seen as a scandalous situation. Same-sex couples with their children sit alongside “traditional” heterosexual couples in many churches. Families struggle to survive in complex global economic and political situations. This issue of Concilium aims to highlight the diversity of issues that confront families in the present.

            “The family” is often identified as the “domestic church.” We learn to become Christians in our families. As Catholic teaching has always maintained, parents model the relationship of Christ and the Church and children are the embodiment of their parents’ love. Family experiences, for good or for ill, shape us into the persons we become. But families are increasingly complex and face challenges for which there are no easy answers, either from the Church or from society.

                The 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family and the 2015 Synod were notable for their new openness to discussion and to hearing about families through the questionnaires that were distributed in advance and the documentation that was made widely available. Yet despite the complex range of issues faced by families and the diversity of cultures in which families struggle to live, most of the Synod discussions were about divorce and remarriage, the admission of remarried (but not annulled) Catholics, cohabitation, and same-sex marriage. Underlying these discussions were deeper concerns about the synodal processes, the directions taken by Pope Francis, and geographical and generational divides in the church........

Eating from many Dishes: Polygamy Reconsidered

Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ – Abstract

This article explores the practice of polygamy in Africa and analyzes the arguments for and against. Considered a pastoral challenge, the responses of Christianity range from ambiguity through accommodation to opposition. Polygamy affects women in ways that justify giving prominence to their voices in the debate about its implications. This article proposes a view of polygamy as an asymmetrical system that devolves privileges and entitlements to men in relation to women. Further, it considers pastoral options that include empowerment of women, compassionate attitude toward women in polygamous situations, and ecumenical convergences with other ecclesial traditions.

The Family at the Crossroads: Young Couples in Italy Between Fragility and Resources

Domenico Simeone – Abstract

Faced with the challenges that have affected the family in recent years, the aim here is to shed light on the characteristic aspects involved in the transition of young couples towards life as a family and as a couple. On the basis of statistical data relating to the Italian situation, some questions will be voiced relating to the difficult transition of young Italians towards adult life and towards life as a couple, illustrating the changes that have affected the way of life and affective relationships of young couples, their way of entering matrimony or forms of cohabitation, entry into parenthood and the difficulties of having to reconcile work demands and family life. This concerns aspects that confront young families with new challenges and at the same time threaten, potentially at least, the possibility of establishing new relations between male and female and between the generations. In order that young families know how to grasp the generative aspects that every crisis contains. It is indispensable for them to be able to find around them a welcoming and solidarity social context, capable of promoting their potentialities and supporting their transformative capacities.  

Gospel and Family

Mary R. D’Angelo – Abstract

In the Biblical texts, “gospel” and “family” sit uneasily together. Most of the sayings on family attributed to Jesus are those designated “anti-familial” by scholars and Paul explicitly prefers celibacy in serving the gospel. Conflicts within families, imperial ideology and anxieties about sexual probity led early believers to defend their “family values” against charges of “homewrecking.” Good news for families requires returning to the texts with a hermeneutic based on Laudatosi’, one that rejects not only domination but also submission, speaking the same counsels of justice to all: love one another, but do not submit, and do not fear.

Families in Poverty on the Outskirts of Buenos Aires

Ana Lourdes Suárez – Abstract

Our study explores in depth three aspects of the lives and circumstances of three families living in poverty on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. The first explores the dimensions that define socio-urban marginalization. The second, how faith is nurtured and expressed in popular religious practice and empowers and gives hope to the poorest. The third delves into the nature of support given by the Church to those most excluded from society. The relevance of Popular Theology’s approach stands out as do the implications for religious life when embedded in places of high marginalization.

Families and Migration

Gemma Tulud Cruz* - Abstract

Human mobility is regarded as the engine of human history. People, communities, and nation-states have been transformed because individuals or groups of people have moved by land, sea, or air. Families have been part of these movements of peoples for centuries and generations. This essay explores the experience of families in the context of migration. It argues that,while families split by migration continue to be mired in oppressive systems, they are, at the same time, in fluxas they take on new faces and engage in new strategies in belonging, becoming, and being a family in the twenty first century.

African Catholic Women Engage with Humanae Vitae

Mapasure & Susan Rakoczy, IHM – Abstract

The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on contraception, as articulated in the encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), remains a contentious issue. A great deal has been written about this subject in Europe and North America, but African voices have been few.  This article presents the results of research with African Catholic women in Pietermaritzburg (South Africa) which sought to discover to what extent the women knew and agreed with this teaching. Using both African sexual ethics and Margaret Farley’s “just love” approach to interpret their responses,  the results of the research demonstrate that the teaching of Humanae Vitae, with one exception, has not been received by these women and that compliance is inimical to their relationship with their husbands.

Tangle of Perils: The Eschatological Dilemma of Black Families in America

Christophe D. Ringer – Abstract

The essay explores the challenges of mass incarceration and inequality to black families in American through lens of the Moynihan report.  This article frames the Moynihan report as an eschatological symbol that allows America to interpret contemporary social miseries through the history of slavery and Jim Crow.  This claim is pursued through an analysis of journalist Goldie Taylor’s and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’ critiques of representations of black families.  The arguments of these writers are interpreted through the eschatological categories of space and time to move toward a contemporary public theology of the common good.     

Water is Thicker that Blood: Adoptive Families and Catholic Tradition

Darlene Fozard Weaver - Abstract

Historically, the Church has played a significant role in facilitating care for orphans and for other vulnerable children.Nonetheless, adoption and adoptive families receive very little direct attention in Catholic treatments of families. Such inattention is curious since adoption is an important motif for Christian identity and our ecclesial community. The theological significance of adoptive families is largely unappreciated. Recent magisterial notice of adoption tends to consider it in the context of opposition to assisted reproduction, abortion, and same sex marriage. This undermines Catholic exhortations to care for orphans and vulnerable children and obscures important social justice issues that surround adoption. Adoptive families witness the truth of Christian baptism, the significance of salvation history for understanding creation, and the priority of mercy in Christian life.

Theological Forum

Irish Families Vote for Marriage Equality: Big Tent Catholicism Confronts Rome’s Narrow Gate – Julie Clague

Same-sex Marriage and the Supreme Court of the United States – Jeannine Gramick

The Same Sex Marriage Debate: Matters Arising – Paulinus I. Odozor

Radical Alternatives for LGBT Bodiliness and Islamity: Is this the Avant-Garde of New Islamic Theologies of Liberation? – Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed

 

Report on the 2015 Synod on Families - Divided Synod Limps to Conclusion