Catholics struggling against 'tide of materialism'
British Catholic families feel in danger of being swept away by a "tide of materialism" and want the Church to do more to counter it, according to a report released yesterday by the Bishops of England and Wales.
The London Times reports that families are under increasing pressure from the "work ethic" and the treadmill of exams and assessments at their children's schools. It says many end up too tired to go to Mass.
The report paints a picture of religiously active families under pressures from increasing consumer and other demands. Some criticised the Church for its lack of awareness of the reality of modern life.
The Listening 2004 survey of 15,000 families by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales represents the first part of a three-year plan to make parishes more welcoming and supportive of the family.
The 90-page report, Not Easy but Full of Meaning, is intended to help the Church to understand better the spiritual dimension of family life and the role of parents and grandparents in passing on the faith. It illustrates the complexity of issues facing families.
One family found it "difficult and stressful" to take their autistic child to Mass. Another said: "Family life will always seem second best when celibacy is held up as the ideal." A third family said: "We have been unable to have children and feel such a failure at Mass."
In contrast to the criticism of the media from church leaders, the survey found that Catholic families liked the media and saw communications technology as a "major blessing".
Auxiliary Bishop John Hine of the London Diocese of Southwark, who chairs the Church's marriage and family life committee, said: "Despite the fact that families described their biggest blessing as their time spent together, hardly anyone talked about God's presence in that togetherness. Perhaps as a Church we should address this together."
Catholics are struggling to make room for Mass in a material world (London Times 18/7/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Church in England and Wales | Listening 2004: My Family, My Church | 'Not Easy But Full of Meaning' report
Bishops issue report on family life (Independent Catholic News 18/7/05)
19 Jul 2005