An African Perspective on Marriage and the Family

An examination of the issues facing the Catholic Church in Africa

“In conformity with her constant tradition, the Church receives from the various cultures everything that is able to express better the unsearchable riches of Christ. Only with the help of all the cultures will it be possible for these riches to be manifested ever more clearly, and for the Church to progress towards a daily more complete and profound awareness of the truth, which has already been given to her in its entirety by the Lord.”   
Familiaris Consortio, 10

Over 200 delegates from across the globe attended the Fifth General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, from September 26 
to October 25, 1980.  The theme of the Synod was the Role  of the Christian Family in the Modern World.  During the first two weeks of the Synod each bishop was invited to speak about the social, economic and religious pressures on families in their own countries. They described a diverse global Catholic community, facing distinct challenges and with very different experiences of marriage and family life. 


Dr David Thomas
Dr Thomas attended the Synod as a theological adviser, or peritus, to the American bishops. He explains the African concept of marriage, and the influences of local culture.


The Southern African Bishops’ Conference response to the Lineamenta
The report describes the socio-political situation in South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia at the time.  Families were facing the effects of extreme poverty, guerrilla warfare, a migratory labour system and apartheid.

Articles, reflections and activities of a Marriage and Family Life Renewal Ministry attached to the Southern African Bishops’ Conference.