Situation of the Family in Europe Is Serious, Warns Bishop

Austrian Points to Divorce and Low Birthrate

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VIENNA, Austria, OCT. 13, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The phenomenon of fewer births and more divorces has dealt marriage and family life in Europe a severe blow in proportions "unimaginable 30 years ago," says an Austrian bishop.



Bishop Klaus Küng, president of the Commission for the Family of the Austrian episcopal conference, made that warning at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Austrian Institute for Marriage and the Family.

The bishop of Feldkirch spoke about the importance of the institution of the family and the tendencies of contemporary society, such as de facto unions and homosexual couples, the Italian episcopate's SIR service reported.

"A society can only be healthy if it promotes the realizable ideal of a family with children, based on marriage," Bishop Küng said. It is a model "worth being committed to" at the level of social policy, he added.

"The present crisis of the pensions and health system can be resolved long term only with more children," he continued.

He cautioned, however, that state-backed financial support for parents "is not the only determinant factor" to achieve an increase in the birthrate. "A change in mentality is needed in regard to life, feelings and love," he said.

Bishop Küng assailed the "absurd and harmful eroticization of society," stressing the importance of "complete sexual education" of children, appropriate to their age, which is the responsibility, "in the first place, of parents."