Paternity in Crisis, Professor Tells Symposium

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ROME, JUNE 29, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The sense of paternity is in "profound crisis today," says a professor and author of essays on paternity.



"The bond between father and children has been weakened, especially because of the fragility of the conjugal bond,"
Xavier Lacroix of the Catholic University of Lyon said when addressing the European Symposium of Teachers, held last weekend at the Lateran University.

In France, in a case of divorce, "nine out of every 10 children are entrusted to the mother and the father leaves or must leave the home," Lacroix said.

He cited three causes for the lack of a model of a paternal figure: "rejection of the patriarchal model driven by democratic thought and feminist militancy; ... the division of roles between men and women; ... [and] the correlation between paternity and authority."

Lacroix said that "a correlation exists between the sense of paternity and the religious sense of life." In his opinion, the paternal bond is of an "invisible essence."

"Unlike maternity, clearly carnal, paternity passes irreducibly through the mediation of the word: word in marriage or of recognition of the child," he said. Thus, "there is a particular affinity between paternity and word, just as there is between paternity and confidence."