Bishop Alberto SETELE 
(Bishop of Inhambane, Mozambique)

The celebration of marriage and family life pose great pastoral challenges for us. In fact, the young, who would like to legally sanction their marriage, must at the same time undergo traditional procedure which is very expensive, civil procedure and canonical procedure. Most of the time, the missionary stations and the various registry offices are distant from the villages of those interested parties.

Pastoral charity pushes us to the understanding of the bureaucratic obstacles posed by these three procedures created in the young who, many times, are tempted to live their marriage illegally. How to adapt, without irenicism, the canonical and traditional procedure, to facilitate, as possible form the pastoral point of view, the preparation of canonical marriage?

The clan does not admit that marriage is a question between two parties, because their relationship passes into the community through thousands of cracks and may perturb the tranquil waters for cohabitation and the harmony of the clan. The mental structures of the clan exercise great influence on the faith of the individuals.

The life of the Christian couples is permeated by its culture, in the Aristotelian sense of the term. We, the preachers of the Gospel, because of our sins or due to the lack of deep theological formation, cannot always avoid the mysticism of the civilising mission and we identify our mental structures, our culture, with the biblical message, with the mission which we have accepted to take on.

They express the hope that this Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops will make us realise that we have been sent to transmit the message of Christ which is not identified with any culture and that, therefore, we must not preach theories of our own invention. This way, we will be able to evangelise cultures and the people of Africa. Outside of their own culture, the families will not be Christian, but only copies of Christian families and little more.

Original text: Portuguese



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