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Adelaide Archbishop talks up resilience of family unit

Archbishop Phillip Wilson recently told Rome's Zenit news agency that despite suggestions that the institution of the family is dying, it is actually "a pretty tough nut ... hard to crack".

The archbishop was in Rome for last month's ad limina visit of the Australian bishops.

He admitted that the family has weakened in the context of the whole of Western culture, but insisted that reports that the family is dying are exaggerated.

"People actually fight very hard to maintain their families," he said. "We hear that statistic that so many marriages and families break up. That's true, but at the same time, the others don't."

Archbishop Wilson said lots of people "really are doing the best they can, especially during difficult times, to love one another as spouses and to love their kids and look after them."

"I'm sure that a lot of them feel overwhelmed because they see their kids grow up and become teenagers and then another world opens up and they are then very influenced by forces outside the family," he said. "But the main point that I'd make is that the family is a pretty tough nut - it's hard to crack. Although there are lots of pressures on it, I think that people see the importance of it. And even where it's lacking, we really should have something like this operating.

Meanwhile families from across Australia are beginning to travel to Sydney for the Second National Family Gathering, which commences on Friday. The event features keynote speakers, as well as hands-on workshops that aim to be a "joyful celebration of family life".

The 16-18 April gathering - entitled Living the Dream - is an initiative of the Bishops' Committee for the Family and for Life. Organisers say there is still time to register, and families who attended the first Family Gathering in Melbourne have urged others not to miss out on the experience.

Adelaide Prelate on Marriage and Evangelization (Zenit 10/4/04)

Preparation on schedule for family gathering (CathNews 8/4/04)
National Catholic Family Gathering

14 Apr 2004