Church in Thailand Hopes to Shore Up the Family

Issues Pastoral Message to Rediscover Value of This Institution

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

BANGKOK, Thailand, JAN. 30, 2004 ( In a country suffering from divorce, prostitution and poverty, the Church in Thailand has dedicated the year 2004 to the family.

Cardinal Michael Kitbunchu, president of the episcopal conference and archbishop of Bangkok, made the announcement in late December. A pastoral guideline on family life, the community, dioceses and the nation is being distributed.

With the emphasis on the family, the Church in Thailand is following in the footsteps of John Paul II, who highlights the importance of this institution, Cardinal Kitbunchu noted in an AsiaNews report.

It also is in keeping with similar endeavors in Asia. The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, for instance, will hold a plenary assembly in Korea from Aug. 17-22 under the theme «The Family: Leading to a Culture of Life.»

The pastoral guideline being distributed in Thailand this month presents theological and canonical aspects of the Christian family. It emphasizes that families, as images of the Trinity, are nourished by praying and reading the Word of God together.

The text also states that parish communities must provide the faithful with catechism programs, foster prayer groups, and promote interaction and dialogue between generations.

Among the greatest problems threatening Thai families is divorce, which intensified over the last decade. The difficult economic situation and the high rate of prostitution are also problems that require a response, the cardinal said.

Poverty and the practice of polygamy help foster prostitution in Thailand. Poverty, particularly in rural areas, also leads parents to sell their own children to prostitution rings, sometimes for less than $200.

Thai government figures show that the country’s divorce rate is increasing every year. In 1993 the rate was 9.6%, 1994 (11%), 1995 (11.37%), 1996 (12.98%), 1997 (15.71%), 1998 (20.8%), 1999 (17.32%), 2000 (21.01%) and 2001 (23.4%).

Since 1997, the number of marriages has decreased by about 50,000 couples. In 1993, 484,569 marriages were celebrated, compared with 324,661 in 2001.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation