Troubled Cuba Sees a "Year of the Family"

Church Plans Workshops and a Congress

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HAVANA, FEB. 4, 2004 ( In a country where 70% of marriages end in divorce, the Church has proclaimed 2004 the «Year of the Family.»

A Church symposium on the family has already been held, and a national congress on the topic is scheduled for December, wrote the Cuban bishops’ conference spokesman Orlando Márquez in the publication Palabra Nueva.

Workshops will be held during the year at the parish, regional and diocesan levels. National and foreign speakers will address topics such as the role of the family in building a healthy society.

«How important is it to dedicate a year to reflect, pray, think and rethink about the family in Cuba for a Church lacking influence outside its own perimeter, not listened to and disregarded by the authorities on this and other issues?» Márquez asked in his article.

He continued: «What is the importance of about 10 people discussing family disintegration in a symposium workshop, of commenting about it afterward in an assembly of, perhaps, 100 people, and of even printing and distributing those reflections among several hundreds more — if, in reality, the greater part of that 70% of marriages that end in divorce, or a great number of Cuban families, separated by emigration, will not know about these reflections and the suggestions that might ensue?»

«Of course, there are governmental structures affecting family life that are not going to change simply because the Church dedicates a year to reflect on the family,» Márquez stated.

«However,» he noted, «when a Catholic doctor refuses to practice an abortion, for example, not only is he witnessing to his faith, but he is also making a concrete effort to humanize the surroundings where he works.»

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