Faith Matters

Conflict and the family on the agenda at WMOF

Activists climb on top of the 60 metre tall Christopher Columbus tower in Barcelona after placing a life vest bearing the words 'Open Arms' on it, to draw attention to the loss of life of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. The Christian response to refugees is one of the topics being addressed at the WMOF.

AMONG the themes being addressed at the World Meeting of Families next month is the impact of conflict on families, and particularly on children.

This includes not only the effects of war and different refugee crises around the world, but more local difficulties and even tensions with families.

Pope Francis reflected on the reality of conflict and family in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which was published in 2016 following synods on the family in 2014 and 2015.

“There is no family that does not know how selfishness, discord, tension and conflict violently attack and at times mortally wound its own communion,” he wrote, and elsewhere: “Forced migration of families, resulting from situations of war, persecution, poverty and injustice, and marked by the vicissitudes of a journey that often puts lives at risk, traumatises people and destabilises families.”

These themes of conflict and a Christian response to the hurt it can cause have been taken up by the organisers of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

“Conflict is present at all levels of our lives, from global events to national disputes, right through to our own local communities and family circles,” they said.

“Pope Francis acknowledges that there is no perfect family, that we encounter discord even with those we love most dearly.”

Sessions on the impact of conflict on families and children include:

  • Wednesday August 22 - Nowhere to lay his head: a Christian response to refugees
  • Thursday August 23 - When plates fly: A panel discussion about Pope Francis on the reality of love in family life
  • Thursday August 23 - Coping with crises and hurt in marriage
  • Friday August 24 - The family as a key to peace in a turbulent world
  • Friday August 24 - Ministering to families with members in prison
  • Friday August 24 - Breaking the silence: dealing with domestic violence

More information on the World Meeting of Families 2018 at

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