The Catholic Church has a rich theology of marriage and family life, one that has been developed to a great extent since the Second Vatican Council.
The ideas that families were created to be communities of love that exist to serve the Church and the world — and not only by bringing forth and raising children — isn’t one many Catholics hear very often, according to organizers of a July 18-21 symposium at the University of Notre Dame.
“If you told most Catholics that there’s not much attention in the Church paid to families, people would say, ‘What?’ Because it’s the singles that get left out,” said Julie Rubio, a professor of social ethics at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University who will participate in the symposium. “But I’m not sure how much deep reflection we get on what it means to be a family, what it means to be a Catholic family, and is that different than other families?”
Those are some of the questions that will be discussed at the Catholic Family Life Symposium. The event was organized by Greg and Lisa Popcak of the Pastoral Solutions Institute in collaboration with the OSV Institute, Holy Cross Family Ministries and the McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame.
The invitation-only gathering is to include more than 30 internationally recognized theologians, including Rubio, along with social scientists and pastoral ministry professionals from the United States, Canada and Australia.
The disconnect between theologians and pastoral ministers “is kind of a problem that’s hidden in plain sight,” Greg Popcak said. “There’s a lot of fairly high-level theology about the Catholic vision of family life, but not much of that has trickled down to the practical level.”
At the same time, Rubio said, theologians like her don’t often hear from people working directly with families to find out what their challenges and experiences are.
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