Protect the African Family

 by ecclesiainafrica

The future of the world and of the church passes through the family. The family is the foundation of the social edifice. Hence evangelization of the African family is a major priority so as to move towards the evangelization of families through families. Hence while adopting the positive values of modernity, the African family must preserve its own essential values.

By its nature marriage, which has the special mission of perpetuating humanity, transcends the couple.

The Holy Family is the prototype for all Christian families and the model and spiritual source for every Christian family (Mt 2:14-15). Pope Paul VI invites us to a threefold lesson: of silence, of family life and of work. In the home of Nazareth each one lives his or her own mission in perfect harmony with the other members of the Holy Family.

The dignity of man and woman stems from the fact that they are created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), endowed with intelligence, will and freedom. Man is therefore little less than a god (Ps 8:6-7). Although different man and woman are essentially equal from the point of view of their humanity and each is a help for the other (Gen 2:18-25).

Hence the synod deplores those African Customs and practices which deprive women of their rights and the respect due to them and asked the church to make every effort to foster and safeguard these rights.

God is love (Jn 4:8). Jesus Christ is the bridegroom who loves and gives himself as the savior of humanity, uniting it to his body. He reveals the original truth of marriage which is to free man from the hardness of heart capable of becoming of sacrifice to his bride (Eph 5:32-33). Hence marriage of the baptized is a real symbol of the new and eternal covenant sanctioned in the blood of Christ.

Marriage is a sacrament of the new covenant: spouses are therefore the permanent reminder to the church of what happened on the cross. They are for one another and for the children witnesses to the salvation in which the sacrament makes them sharers. Of this salvation event marriage, like every sacrament, is a memoria, actuation and prophecy.

Marriage is a state of life, a way of Christian holiness, a vocation which is meant to lead to the glorious resurrection and to the kingdom where “they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Mt 22: 30). Marriage thus demands an indissoluble love; thanks to this stability it can contribute effectively to the complete fulfilment of the spouses’ baptismal vocation.

There are many threats to the African family e.g. the Cairo Conference of 1994 which adopted resolutions contradicting many family values to which the Holy Father launched an appeal to all the world’s heads of state to safeguard the family.

By its nature marriage, which has the special mission of perpetuating humanity, transcends the couple. The family has a vital and organic link with the society, since it is its foundation and nourishes it continually through its role of service to life. The family is the first school of the social virtues animating the principle of existence and development of society itself.

Hence the goal of evangelization is to build the church as the family of God. The Christian families of Africa will thus become true domestic churches.


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