b) How successful have you been in proposing a manner of praying within the family which can withstand life’s complexities and today’s culture?
We look at what prayer actually achieves: a photographable and measurable transfer of energy that has a beneficial affect on the recipient.
We look at the nature of prayer: the need for the prayer to have the right intention; the measurable power of visualisation of the expected goal; the obligation that prayer places on the prayer; ways to remove negative influences from the prayer process.
We look at ways to support prayer: contemplation, meditation and sound. We even look at spiritual dance, sacred geometry, mandalas and the use of mantras in other belief systems.
c) In the current generational crisis, how have Christian families been able to fulfil their vocation of transmitting the faith?
By living what we believe and talking about those beliefs when asked to.
d) In what way have the local Churches and movements on family spirituality been able to create ways of acting which are exemplary?
By encouraging debate, discussion and tolerance. By showing kindness and compassion without judging. By embracing practices like meditation from other belief systems. By explaining with tolerance instead of condemning as used to happen when I was young.
e) What specific contribution can couples and families make to spreading a credible and holistic idea of the couple and the Christian family today?
By living in harmony and consideration of each other, and tolerance and compassion towards the needs and lifestyles of those in their community and beyond it that they meet. By resisting the urge to measure the success of their children by exams and certificates of achievement, but by whether they are happy. fulfilled and becoming a kinder person by what they have achieved.
f) What pastoral care has the Church provided in supporting couples in formation and couples in crisis situations?
In general, too much preaching and not enough acceptance of the couples’ decisions. Couples that I have known in crisis have sought a secular body to help resolve differences, because they felt that the Church would not be open–minded and objective enough. There would always be a bottom line that you were stuck together for life, so find a way to survive it, whereas the secular advisor would help them isolate the problem and would ask them all the time, what did they think they should or could do to resolve it.
The only restricting parameter, once they had reached a decision, might be ‘what solution is best for the children’.
That however is the general picture and it will vary with each individual priest that you speak to, so if you feel you have one you can confide it, you have a greater chance of success. However none has ever been able to give me a moral answer to this question. “If I marry in the church, divorce because the man I find is a child–abuser and violent, have a legal marriage with another man and bring up three happy children in a loving relationship, would the church think I should divorce him, abandon my children and return to my only legal husband in the eye’s of God?”
Until it can give a moral answer to that question, the Church is not in a position to help any couple in crisis.