Call for politicians to address marriage education
A conference co-sponsored by the Catholic Society for Marriage Education has been told that recent federal funding for Family Relationship Centres would have been better directed at the prevention, rather than cure, of marital breakup.
The MARENC 2005 Conference was held in Sydney over the weekend. Keynote speaker, Elizabeth Van Acker, Senior Lecturer and current Head of the Department of Politics and Public Policy, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, addressed the topic of putting relationships on the political agenda.
She said that in a time of 'disposable' relationships, it is difficult to convince people about the effectiveness of relationship education. But that it is essential for Catholics to lobby the government to put in place measures aimed at preventing marriage breakup.
She said: "The Federal Government recently announced the establishment of the new Family Relationship Centres with funding of $189 million. Most of the funding is earmarked for dealing with relationship difficulties. Nevertheless, there is funding for early intervention and skills development that will expand marriage education services.
"Preventing marital break-ups in the first place is a way of avoiding the need for intrusiveness. If the number of divorces could be reduced by preventative measures, this would lead to quite substantial savings for the public purse."
The other major speaker - Anne Hollands of Relationships Australia - spoke about the sometimes uneasy relationship between marriage educators and the media.
"Many of us, particularly the baby boomers, grew up to regard what goes on at home as private, and the airing of private matters in the media as somewhat distasteful."
"You may be expecting me to argue that 'the media is the most powerful educational tool we have available to us' when in fact 'people' are the most powerful educational tool we have. And the media is simply a way of getting real people's stories out there to massive audiences, to inform, educate and entertain."
MARENC 2005 (Catholic Society for Marriage Education 22/9/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Society for Marriage Education
Vatican may soften views on unmarried couples (The Universe 25/9/05)
Vatican weighs shift in policy on unmarrieds (Associated Press/MSNBC 19/9/05)
26 Sep 2005