What does the gospel say to family life today?

Jun 1, 2023 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

In March 2021, the Archbishops commissioned a project to look at issues around family and households; this was the third of four Commissioners arising from Justin Welby’s 2018 book Reimagining Britain (which I reviewed here), the previous ones covering housing and care respectively, alongside the ongoing commission on racial justice.

Before I read the report myself, I decided to think about what issues I would like to see tackled which are hallmarks of our contemporary cultural approach to family and household life. For me, the issues cluster into three or four groups, though they are inter-related and each has an impact on the others.

1. The loss of confidence in lifelong, committed relationships.

The most obvious sign of this is the decline in marriage as the normative pattern of couple relationship, and the rise of cohabitation as either prior to marriage or an alternative to it. But the consequences of this change are well documented, and include the impact of divorce, parental relationship breakdown and fragmented, unstable family structures on children—their education, mental health, physical wellbeing and earnings potential. Research on all these can be found at one of the Coalition for Marriage resource pages here.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the breakup of relationships has led to an increase in older people living alone, raising issues around loneliness, care support, and the pressure on housing as the number of single-person household has grown. Astonishingly, fully one third of all households in the UK now comprise a single person. This must surely be a major factor contributing to the ‘epidemic of loneliness’ in the UK today.

Read here


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