Moscow, February 14, 2017
The family, as the foundation of human society, is ever at the center of the Church’s pastoral and social mission. Patriarch Daniel of Romania has consistently and vocally supported those traditional families struggling to cope with the multiple challenges and crises of modern society.
In this light, recent statistics on marriage and divorce in the Eastern European Orthodox country are cause for rejoicing. According to recent information from the National Statistics Institute, 133,000 marriages were recorded in Romania in 2016, with 28,000 divorces, reports Romania Insider.
125,300 marriages were recorded in 2015, with 31,500 divorces. The 2016 number is the highest since 2009, probably connected to the recent positive economic trend. The state had also decided in 2007 to give financial support to couples getting married.
According to Eurostat data from 2011, more than sixty percent of Romanians over twenty were married, which is one of the highest shares in the EU.
Thus, as Patriarch Daniel continually emphasizes, family is an essential element in Romanian society. However, despite the good news, the family itself is in a fragile situation according to the patriarch, as “the model itself of the traditional family is considered by some to be antiquated or obsolete.”
According to the site of the Romanian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude is concerned about the individualistic and secular mindset that also exists in the nation, by which people are not seeking to sanctify their lives by prayer, family life, and life in the Church. He warns that there is a growing number of people who view marriage simply as a contract or partnership, whether between different or the same sexes.
“Social partnerships or cohabitation between persons cannot be treated as a traditional family, and any attempt to identify them as such is an artificial innovation,” the primate has said. Highlighting that families are in fact a gift from God, the patriarch has called on all to support the efforts of the Church to defend the traditional, natural family.
Indeed, families are a gift and blessing from God, as the Church teaches, and thus they cannot be reduced to biological, legal, psychological, sociological, or economic factors. The family is the realization of the sacred, in which human beings are perfected in love, with the parent-children relationship being modeled on and finding its fulfillment in the relationship of the faithful with God. Thus the patriarch has urged parents to spend more time with their children, and to attend to their bodily and spiritual needs.
“Each of us needs to have a permanent concern for our families and for the future of the Christian family and of the Romanian nation, by rediscovering and living out Christian values in our homes, in the parishes to which we belong, and in the great family of the Church,” reads a statement from the hierarchy of the Romanian Church.
In this vein, the Romanian Orthodox Church also, of course, condemns the horror of abortion which is not only murder, but the murder of an innocent and defenseless child. The Church calls on all to instead give birth to their child and raise him or her in a loving Christian home.