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the Church of Indonesia looks at guidelines to better prepare couples

by Mathias Hariyadi
Marriage, divorce and the future of the family future are some of the topics discussed at a three-day conference in the Diocese of Makassar. Participants expect the Synod in Rome to provide guidelines for better training of priests since they will be called to guide couples. Pre-marriage courses are important and must be improved to strengthen the union between future spouses in accordance with the “Catholic model.”

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Catholic priests and leaders from 13 Indonesian dioceses met to discuss marriage, divorce, and the future of the family, which are some of the same issues currently being discussed at the Synod (5-19 October) in Rome between.

The three-day gathering was held in early October in the Archdiocese of Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi Province, with the participation of representatives from the dioceses of Amboina, Atambua, Denpasar, Ende, Jayapura, Larantuka, Makassar, Manado, Maumere, Merauke, Ruteng, Weetebula and Samarinda.

Participants’ reflections alternated with personal experiences, stories of family life and calls for better preparation for the men of the cloth who will guide couples in their journey of life before and after marriage.

The conference, pushed by the local archbishop, Mgr John Liku Ada, was meant as a way to meet the growing challenges Indonesian families face, not only divorce, but also all the issues related to “safeguarding” the Catholic marriage.

Such challenges and threats, at least in the Asian country, tend to become manifest in the first five years of marriage and must be addressed immediately and effectively.

Fr Albertus Sujoko, from the Major Seminary of Pineleng in North Sulawesi, stressed that economic difficulties and reluctance to share one’s life are some the first problems couples have to face and solve.

For this reason, it is essential to provide better training, especially at the parish level, to prepare people for marriage. Pre-marriage courses are the goal as the initial step to ensure a solid and serene union for the future.

“We hope to get clear answers” from the Synod in Rome, Fr Sujoko said. The same goes with respect to the training of priests and men of the cloth called to lead couples in their existential and spiritual journey.

So far, the priest said, parishes have failed to provide “the necessary education” to help couples prepare for their wedding or assist already married couples cope with the vagaries of marriage.

During the discussions, Indonesian priests have suggested some concrete proposals to minimise the risk of divorce or marital breakup.

They want more in-depth and advanced preparation for young people who want to marry so that they can understand the meaning and value of “union in accordance with the Catholic model.”

Even today, many couples decide to get married because “she is pregnant” and want to legalise the union, despite their lack of preparation.

Finally, the priests said that those who suffer from a marriage’s breakup should not be ignored or forgotten because the Church is “called to take care of neglected people.”

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Catholics number only seven million or 3 per cent of the population. In the Archdiocese of Jakarta, they are around 3.6 per cent.

Over the years, Catholics have contributed to the nation’s development and play a major role in emergency operations, as was the case during the devastating floods of January 2013.

By Edos News

 

Indonesia

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