“The immediate and perhaps most important arena
of lay witness to Christian faith is marriage and the family”
(Pope John Paul II to Filipino Bishops during their “ad limina visit” in Rome, 2003)
Many families today suffer. In spite of their sincere efforts to love and care for their children,parents find it more difficult each day to raise their family. Is the so-called generation gap to blame? Are the television, the internet and the mass media as a whole beyond control, and so are drugs, violence in schools and demonic cults?
Parents and educators generally know that environmental factors affect children negatively. But what exactly are these factors? We need to pinpoint them, if we are to protect the family. A vague idea of these attacks against the family will not suffice to correct the family’s deteriorating situation today.
As its title suggests, SAFE discusses the subtle attacks against family and life. How come foreign agencies want to decrease our country’s population, when in their own countries they give all sorts of subsidies to mothers, just to encourage them to have more children? United Nations projections show that the Philippine population will go below fertility replacement levels by the year 2025. How does New Age attempt to exalt the person’s divinity, to the extent of making us believe that we are gods? Is it truly “values education” to ask children in class how they feel about the statement, “parents are old-fashioned and do not really understand the needs of their children“, or the statement, “parents who neglect their children should also be neglected when they grow old“? Why do movies, TV programs, books and advertisements almost always portray families with only two children? How and why are grade school children taught that contraceptives and abortion are future options for them? How are pornography and violence subliminally (aside from explicitly, of course) expressed in the mass media?
By explaining thousands of subtle attacks, and by explaining how the family should really be according to human nature and God’s plan, SAFE allows parents and their collaborators in Church and society to understand better the difficulties families face today. True enough, human weakness and defective social structures contribute to their problems. But many other difficulties are caused by programs intentionally designed to weaken the family, and implemented, so to speak, right under our noses. Knowing their mechanisms will let families defend themselves and counterattack. Family and life apostolates, parishes, schools, organizations and other entities multiply the effectiveness of their existing programs once they identify and manage the subtle attacks against the family, when they are no longer held back by these formerly unseen obstacles.
SAFE empowers leaders from all sectors of the Church and society to meet the challenges faced by the Filipino family today, particularly by avoiding and overcoming these subtle attacks, and by proactively eradicating them. SAFE heeds the Church’s call to prioritize the family and life in its pastoral mission, and contributes to a renewal of morality in Philippine society by promoting and defending its basic unit.
SAFE is not an organization in itself, but a program serving existing organizations, and which can be perfectly adapted to different circumstances and needs.
SAFE draws inspiration from His Eminence, Jaime L. Card. Sin‘s Pastoral Letter, Subtle Attacks against Family and Life (July 9, 2001). The program responds to the January 2001 National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal’s call to prioritize family and life in the Church’s pastoral mission, and continues in the spirit of the Fourth World Meeting of Families held in Manila last January 2003.
(Cartoon on this page from: Philippine Daily Inquirer September 4, 2005, by Mr. Jess Abrera.)