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Family and education in the teachings of the Founder of Opus Dei

Family and education in the teachings of the founder of Opus Dei

In Chile, the first International Congress on the Family and Education, organized by the Fundación Hacer Familia [Becoming a Family Foundation], took place on August 9 and 10 in honor of the centennial of the birth of Josemaría Escrivá. The six hundred people attending discussed specific proposals connected with the family, education, marriage and work,

As the chairman of the congress, Jorge Montes, reported: “We were truly impressed by the response of so many Chilean families, from Arica in the far north, to Punta Arenas in the south, and representatives from more than a hundred schools throughout the country, who have seen this Congress as an exceptional opportunity to learn and to improve as persons.” The conference showed, he added, “that a broad sector of society in Chile is concerned about these topics.”

Over the course of the two days, seven plenary conferences, twenty reports and ten pro-family activities were presented.

Prominent among the panelists was the Spaniard, Rafael Pich, founder of the International Foundation for the Family, who said that in spite of the fact that today the concept of the family is often ridiculed and discredited, the family is actually stronger than ever. A growing movement among families in various parts of the world to take simple measures and to work together as a team among parents and children, allows one to be optimistic in the face of the “denaturing” of the family that is seen in various trends in today’s world.

A British speaker, Victoria Gillick, gave some strong advice for defending the family in Chilean society. She pointed out specific signs for recognizing when public policies and legislative initiatives are harmful to the family. “The great paradox of our ‘culture of death,’” she said, “is that life is rejected in the very act of embracing it.”

Legislation about divorce, a very timely topic in Chile, formed the subject of a talk by an American family expert, Patrick Fagan. In his address, he pointed out that since divorce was made easily available in the United States forty years ago, there has been “a veritable explosion in the number” of divorces, and that today “more than a million children each year undergo the trauma of seeing their parents’ obtain a divorce.”

Mr. Fagan added that there is a high correlation between divorce and “criminality, abuse, abandonment and drug addiction.” He also mentioned that in the U.S. some quite liberal newspapers are beginning to publish editorials about the need to reduce the high number of divorces taking place each year.

Among the Chilean participants was the well-known poet and theologian Fr. José Miguel Ibañez, who presented the large audience with five points that can help ensure a marriage that lasts “until death do us part.” Another speaker was Cristian Zegers, publisher of the periodical La Segunda, who spoke on “the influence of the family in the communications media.”

The closing address was given by Juan Enrique Zegers, President of the Fundación Hacer Familia. He announced the establishment of the Association of Friends of the Foundation, whose purpose is to develop an Institute for Studies on the Family and a Center for Family Assistance, which will provide free help to poor families.

Romana, No. 35, July-December 2002, p. 345-346.