Brasilia (Fides Service) - “In Brazil militant groups well articulated and well financed are exercising strong pressure to approve laws to legalise abortion, same sex unions, elimination of the abnormal foetus. One has the impression that this is the work of trans-national movements and organisations, not only local” Bishop Odilo Pedro Scherer auxiliary of São Paulo told Fides. The Bishop, Secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Brazil, kindly answered some questions put by Fides with regard to ever fiercer anti-life and anti-family campaigns in various countries and not only in Latin America.
For some years in many countries governments have considered laws which threaten life and the family. What in your opinion are the reasons and the goals of these policies ?
The weakening of the family is not an isolated fact it goes hand in hand with spreading individualism. This in itself is not negative, but when exaggerated it leads to an individualism which ignores others and opposes organisations and institutions including the family. What we are seeing is a cultural and ideological change. Sad to say affirmation of the individual often damages the family. Adult interest groups seek ever more social and political affirmation, but not the family. Family organisations need support and must be allowed to participate in political debates. States have lost sight of their mission to protect and privilege the family ever weaker and ever more excluded. This is a new anthropological and social factor: the family is being replaced by the individual, by interest groups and the suchlike.
Please tell us about initiatives undertaken by the Catholic Church in Brazil to protect life and the family ?
Dozens of proposals in favour of respecting family questions have been presented to parliament but the majority have implications contrary to the family. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Brazil has its own Commission For Life and For the Family to support and encourage families and to follow matters concerning the family in society and in parliament. The Bishops’ Conference always follows parliamentary and government debates and decisions with regard to the family. We give utmost importance to family pastoral care.
Laws which aim to equal same sex unions with marriage destroy the family. How do you see this situation ?
The tendency to equal homosexual unions with the natural family is a sign of a serious crisis in civilisation. No one in their right mind can say that these are one and the same and that it is good for society. Unions of people of the same sex cannot lead to the birth of children and so society cannot receive what it expects and receives from natural families. Therefore society must resist this pressure and guarantee special protection to the family based on the union of a man and a woman: the natural family deserves more attention from society and the state. A weakening of the institution of the family will have serious negative consequences for individuals and for society.
What is the Church doing to tackle these difficulties?
Brazil has the same problems as other countries and the Church in Brazil has not failed to recall openly the teaching of the Church. Pro Family organisations and family pastoral work are engaged in promoting awareness. As the Church in Brazil we follow closely parliamentary debates and offering advice and material.(R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 11/6/2005, righe 50, parole 611)