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Title: Der verlorene Vater?
Subtitle: Menschliche und göttliche Vaterschaft in der Spannung zwischen gerechtigkeit und Barmherzigkeit
Author(s): DILLEN, Annemie , POLLEFEYT, Didier
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 12    Issue: 2   Date: 2006   
Pages: 199-213
DOI: 10.2143/INT.12.2.2018329

Abstract :
It is often said that we live today in a “fatherless” society. In this article, the authors critically research the implications of this thesis of the fatherless society and investigate why the sociological, psychological, pedagogical and theological literature stresses the importance of the father. Further, they analyze what the meaning of fatherhood today could be. They underline the importance of the care and commitment of the father, and they explain how an approach that emphasizes exclusively the role of the authority of the father is insufficient in a fatherless society. In this context, the critique of the concept of “new fathers” is critically analyzed. Democratic parenthood is proposed as the best framework for understanding the role of the father. The authors suggest ways for encouraging the commitment of the father to the education of the children. They present a multifaceted model that underlines the individual motivation of fathers, social support and possibilities for ameliorating situations where fathers are less committed. In the second part of the article, the meaning of God as father is analyzed. The Christian picture of God as a just and merciful father forms an inspiration for human fatherhood. On the basis of the image of God as father, the authors also show the limits of education and the danger of thinking about absolute sovereignty in speaking about human fatherhood.

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