02/24/2017, 14.30
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Bangalore archbishop inaugurates first family counselling service

by Nirmala Carvalho

The goal is to solve the crisis of the family, and emphasise again the sanctity of the institution of marriage. The archdiocese will rely on the expertise of 20 Holy Cross priests. The disintegration of families is evident in the rise in marriage annulments.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) – Mgr Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore (Karnataka), inaugurated the first Church-run family counselling service.

The initiative, he said, stems from "deep concern over the increasing number of Catholics who cohabit with little regard for the sanctity of the institution of marriage."

The service offered by the archdiocese will also help to rebuild family ties increasingly under threat in today’s world.

“Even after long years of training for the priesthood, priests still go through crisis and need the help of a spiritual director or counsellor. How much more do families need help when in crisis,” the archbishop added.

The family counselling service was launched on 20 February. Locally, the city already offers a similar service, but "we felt the need for an official archdiocesan service for families, and we sought the help of the Holy Cross Congregation of priests."

Some 20 professionally trained counsellors met at the Paalanaa Bhavana, the archdiocesan pastoral centre. For six months, discussions were held on how to offer counselling to couples in crisis and help them reconcile.

According to Mgr Moras, the service is the concrete response to the recent Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops of India, which decided to focus on helping families solve their issues.

"At the Synod of Bishops on the family in 2015, Pope Francis stressed the need to protect families from disintegration and discord.”

“At the Archdiocese, we felt the need to protect the sacrament of marriage and the family itself in a society that continues to change and tends to damage the family."

The most obvious consequence of family breakdown is the rise in matrimonial annulments. This, according to the bishop, is also due to the shallowness of pre-marriage preparation.

"Sadly, even priests and nuns sometimes hesitate to give the proper Church teachings and guidelines on sexual life and life skills in marriage. The existing two-day course is not enough if we consider all the challenges and difficulties that couples face in marriage."

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