02/07/2017, 18.44
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Vietnamese bishops launch the Year of the Family against divorce and marriage crisis

by Thanh Thuy

In 2016 there were over 60,000 divorce cases across the country. The causes of separation are family lifestyle, followed by adultery and violence. The crisis affects mainly young couples. The Church offers prayers and meetings to rebuild the foundational unit of society.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – To meet the challenges of modernity and rebuild Vietnam’s increasingly fractured social fabric, the Vietnamese Church has decided to dedicate the year of 2017 to the family, the basic unit on which the country is founded.

To reach this goal, Vietnam’s bishops decided to focus on future families, providing seminars and courses for couples preparing for marriage and family life.

According to official data for 2016, there are over 60,000 divorce cases in Vietnam each year, a growing trend, experts warn.

The leading cause of divorce is differences over family lifestyle and everyday problems, followed by adultery (25.9 per cent), financial problems (13 per cent), domestic violence (6.7 per cent), health (2.2 per cent) and living apart.

One source of great concern is that the problem is not limited to cities and larger urban centres, but also affects rural areas.

Furthermore, more than 70 per cent of divorce cases involve couples aged 22 to 30. About 60 per cent of couples have been married from one to five years and have had children together.

These alarming figures have prompted the Catholic Church to mobilise catechists and religious to help families through pastoral meetings, outreach, counselling, and prayer groups.

This comes in response to the call by priests and others, who stress the need for a path to marriage based on faith, the only way on which to found a relationship that can be truly permanent.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mr Thu, a social worker at the archdiocese of Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, said that "some young couples are not yet aware of the meaning of marriage and family life".

For some, marriage is a way to get out of their original family but without understanding what living with another person entails.

Often divorce is used as a "threat" during everyday quarrels. In fact, “When the first difficulties appear, they are unprepared to deal with them.”

Ms Hien, a Catholic volunteer in Đà Lạt, points out that if "moral education" is imparted in the family, every member is capable of "taking care" of others and the "risk" of breaking bonds is reduced.

"The important thing,” she notes, “is that couples ought to know how to think about and take care of others, respectful of traditional Vietnamese family values."

Family problems do not concern Catholics lone. Among Buddhists, the country’s main religion, leaders are equally concerned.

"The parents’ faith will help children,” said Mr Huy, a Buddhist social worker, “lending them a hand to overcome difficulties. A family consists of people who love each other, who help children to have faith and hope in life."

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