Families in Europe

As regards marriage and families, there is a huge gap between hopes and reality all over Europe. Most of us aim to have a harmonious and balanced family life, however, there have been various obstacles that have led to the destabilisation of the institution of marriage and the disintegration of families. In order to strengthen social cohesion, both personal and institutional conditions need to improve, and there has to be a family-friendly policy on the level of the European Union.

We consider it to be natural that the ideal family model changes over the centuries, and both earlier and modern models have their positive and negative aspects. Nevertheless, we are aware of the fact that the individualist and consumerist attitude of our current culture that absolutizes the freedom of the individual puts lasting human relationships and childbearing at a disadvantage. We see worrying signs of this tendency: the plunge in the number of new marriages, the rising number of divorces, the falling number of two-parent families, the dramatic deterioration of the demographic situation, the careless practice of abortions, and the spreading lifestyle of singleness based on selfishness. We do not consider marriage to be an exclusively private issue; we believe it is one of the most sacred and personal issues of the community.

Our churches are ready to use the tools at their disposal to help marriage and the joys of family become sources of a happy life for all Christians and European citizens, because we believe that through mutual service and sacrifices we can turn into better human beings, and families can form the basis of social prosperity and the preservation of values. To achieve these aims, we primarily support the development of professional and family policy programmes as well as the creation of consultation systems, in ecumenical co-operation.