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Expert: African Culture Backs Family Educative Role

Urges Participation of Catholics in Shaping Cultural Framework

MEXICO CITY, JAN. 16, 2009 ( The role of families in the education of children is backed not only by the Church, but also by traditional cultures, says an economics professor from Uganda.

Germina Ssemogerere affirmed this today at the World Meeting of Families, in her presentation titled “The Educative Vocation of the Family: An African Perspective, With Particular Reference to Uganda.”

She stated that the successful fulfillment of this educative role is determined by the “constitutional and institutional framework in place and by the state of the family itself, which, in turn, may be affected by positive or negative influences from the environment.”

In this regard, Ssemogerere expressed concern about the effects of the changing socio-economic environment on the family, in that “while some families remain steadfast and undeterred in their role, others are losing confidence in the execution of their role, or are being rendered totally incapacitated and unable to do anything.”

Referencing “Ecclesia in Africa,” she pointed out the compatibility between Catholic teaching and various cultures, including Africa.

The economist explained: “The constitutional and institutional framework of a country is a good and practical reference as to the extent to which the family’s role in education […] is accommodated, and as to what strategies may be designed or improved upon for the purpose.

“In this regard, using Uganda as a representative example, it may be concluded that a standard democratic constitution, with an entrenched Bill of Rights, provides a reasonable framework for the purpose.”

Ssemogerere urged laity to be vigilant and to “participate in constructive engagement with the state authorities” to put a framework in place that is favorable to the family, and to counteract any negative influences that could undermine it.

She pointed out the necessity of supporting the “morally based traditional family by encouraging the devout, by building confidence among those in doubt, and by removing or overcoming institutional impediments to family life as it has all along been promoted by both the Church and culture.”

Ssemogerere concluded by making several practical recommendations: the promotion of “active participation by Catholics in matters of public interest,” training for clergy and laity through “Catholic-friendly” professional associations, collaboration with organizations directed at influencing public policy, and “more systematic mobilization for Catholic institutions” and programs.

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