‘Poverty tearing families apart’


DOES the family still matter?

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) raised this question as a special synod of bishops in the Vatican on family matters closes.

The CBCP expressed concern that poverty is a threat to families and marriages, citing the millions of Filipinos who leave home to work abroad.

CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said many marriages in the Philippines are threatened by the separation of couples as one spouse is forced is seek “greener pastures” abroad.

“Many marriages are threatened by the separation of couples owing to overseas employment of one or the other spouse; this peculiarity of the national social psyche is threatening for it can only mean that not even the family is powerful enough a factor to keep Filipinos home, especially when, we observe, the Filipinos who pack their bags and seek employment abroad are not really impoverished Filipinos,” Villegas said in a statement.

He explained that because the family is also an economic unit, “poverty impacts on it.”
He noted that sometimes, the terrible wounds inflicted on some members of the family never heal.

“Does the family still matter to the Filipino, and does it matter sufficiently to come before every other consideration that may sacrifice the unity of the family? To cling to idyllic pictures from the past of members of the family cohesively constituting an economic unit working not only in proximity to each other but living under the same roof will be a disservice to a Church that is sparing nothing to be more effective in its pastoral care for members of the family,” he said.

“It would be presumptuous to offer any definitive answer to this question, but the matter has to be raised, and the problem addressed. Does the Filipino find in family ties and bonds a value so high that others, including the prospect of higher salaries and more comfortable living, can be sacrificed for it? And if the Filipino’s valuation of the family has suffered a downturn, what can the Philippine Church do about it?” he added.

The bishop said this is an issue that the Catholic Church “must resolutely and studiously confront.”


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  1. well, filipino family should be educated to one or two siblings only. we call it family planning. don’t spend more than what you get unless philippines has welfare program just like USA.

  2. How can the Church help in this case, not much, unless it can find a job for this poor family. There is no doubt that splitting the family because of poverty is not conducive for family’s unity, besides when overseas due to loneliness, it is difficult to resist the temptation to have a living in partner. Once this happens, the family left behind is forgotten, unless the individual has a very strong commitment and love for his family. There is no doubt that OFW employment has a great potential to tear the family apart, but what can the Church do? Prayer is good, but the husband or wife has to find a better future for their family. This is the question.