24 November 2018
A Voice in favour of life and family
Bishops from Romania and Moldavia visit the Dicastery
A small community that has virtually had to start afresh but today it is growing and is very active in pastoral care, the social field and promoting Cristian values in a society divided between attraction for the European Union and nostalgia for Russia. This is what the bishops from Romania and Moldavia told us about their Church when they made an ad limina visit to the Dicastery a few days ago.
In addition to attentive pastoral work, the Moldavian Church performs intense activities social apostolate activities, providing social care for needy families, orphans, minors at risk and women in difficulty. In 2014, the first Catholic Counselling Centre was inaugurated in Chișinău, a little seed for Moldavian families, “at the service of families, to protect life and support the disabled, close to those living in situations of social hardship”.
Recently the church has fully supported a civilian initiative sustained by the lay faithful gathered together in the so-called “Coalition for Families”, in which about forty associations and Non-Profit Organisations of various religious confessions have collected more than three million signatures in favour of changing Article 48 of the Constitution, which affirms that “the family is founded on marriage entered into with the free and full consent between two spouses”. Even if the Constitutional Referendum 6 and 7 October last did not reach a quorum, it served to make the voice of the Church heard on such a delicate matter and not only that.
Still on the theme of family pastoral care, it emerged that since the Nineties the gap between the traditional family and today’s idea of the family is widening more and more. Today, the secular mentality has the wind behind its sails even if statistics say that, despite this tendency to adopt new cultures and social models, for the greater majority of Romanians, the family – to be understood in an expanded sense as it embraces several generations – still plays a role of primary importance in the hierarchy of values. In Romania, too, the average age of married couples is rising, but the country still maintains the record as the European country with the lowest mean marriage age of couples. Divorces are on the increase but the proportions of this phenomenon are still reasonably limited compared to many other European countries. On the other hand, births have dropped and significantly so. Today, couples tend not to have more than one child. Therefore, the country will have to deal with a demographic winter and the most worrying thing is that there are no signs of a reversal in this trend.
On the theme of life, the bishops reported several initiatives for defending and promoting the life of the unborn child such as “The March for Life” organised each year on 25th March in various towns in the country, the “Forty Days Vigil for Life”, “The Rosary for Life” recited each week by various parish groups. But, above all, the Church has taken on the responsibility of promoting, as an alternative to abortion, the support of women in difficulty and economic reforms to encourage an increase in the birth rate, in addition to rejecting any form of eugenics and birth selection.
On the matter of youth ministry, in answer to young people’s expectations, the bishops decided to create the National Office for Youth Ministry in 2015. The objective of this office is to coordinate initiatives in favour of young people. Moreover, they have dedicated various sessions of their plenary meetings to the young in order to better understand their world, their language, new instruments of mass communication and help them with discernment.