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Title: What do German Dioceses Have to Offer for Families?
Subtitle: A Survey of Different Approaches and Programmes
Author(s): EBNER, Katharina
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 25    Issue: 1   Date: 2019   
Pages: 49-61
DOI: 10.2143/INT.25.1.3286431

Abstract :
In his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia Pope Francis explicitly acknowledges different family forms and calls for a pastoral approach which is centred around accompaniment, discernment, differentiation, and integration. By assessing different programmes for the pastoral, spiritual, and every-day needs of families, this paper aims at investigating current measures provided for the needs of families in five selected German dioceses (Cologne, Aachen, Freiburg, Munich and Freising, and Osnabrück) and subsequently exploring their underlying presuppositions. It does this by a presentation and analysis of the diocesan websites. What do these measures consist of? Who are they directed at? Do they embrace the particular needs of different family constellations? Along with a comprehensive overview, respective strengths and weaknesses are assessed on the basis of selected examples. The study focused on specific areas in family ministry – separation and divorce and a subsequent new civil marriage, blended families, single parents, and LGBTIQ couples and families – and assessed the presentation in terms of accessibility, implementation, professionalisation, and theological and religious reflection. It found a general appreciation of different family situations reflected in each of the diocesan sites. Some (Munich and Freising, Freiburg, and Osnabrück) were fairly open to new family constellations, while others (Cologne and Aachen) focused for the most part on traditional family forms. The weakest area for all of them was in regard to theological reflection, which was almost exclusively presented in regard to traditional families. Also, even though there seems to be a well-developed outreach to various types of families in all dioceses, to some degree or another, the websites nonetheless gave the impression that the ideal and the norm for families is still a married couple with children.

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