News, on 16 July 2016, from Canada, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Ireland, about the decline of religious marriages, the meeting of the Teams of Our Lady in central Africa, the Congolese Bishops speak on pastoral ministry of the family, Dublin does not legalize abortion in the case of a malformation of the fetus.
• CANADA / RELIGIOUS WEDDINGS
According to the official statistics published on 5 July, since the 1970s, the number of marriages in Quebec has declined by more than fifty percent. Moreover, the religious marriages, i.e., those celebrated by a minister, continue to decrease to the benefit of civil marriages. In 2015, 44% of the marriages were between persons of the opposite sex. Since 2002, that is since the implementation of a new law permitting new categories of celebrants for civil marriages, their number has decreased by 27%. In addition to the clerks of the courts, we now find, among the celebrants, notaries and "persons appointed" by Quebec‘s Minister of Justice. The persons appointed may be the mayor or an employee of the municipality, but also a friend, or a person belonging to the couple‘s family. The authorization of civil marriages at the end of the 1960s already resulted in a first decline of religious marriages, but their number had stabilized at around 70% in the 1990s.
• GABON / TEAM NOTRE-DAME
The National College of the Teams of Our Lady met at the Focolari Center in Libreville, Gabon, from 6 to 8 July, on the theme: "Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves." An article about the meeting was published in the national press. The opening Mass, presided over by Msgr. Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan, Bishop of Mouila and President of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon, was celebrated in Saint-Michel de Nkembo church. The aim of this meeting was to reflect on the prospects and the priorities of the Teams of Our Lady for the coming years. The participants then worked on various issues, among other things, the mission of the priest spiritual adviser, the responsibility of the couple responsible for a sector, the expansion of the movement in Gabon, the gift to the movement, etc. "The wolf, in our context, refers to the very difficult environment in which couples live today, marked by polygamy, divorce, and the lack of understanding of matrimonial unity, an environment that promotes values opposed to marriage," said Fr. André Fils Mbeme, priest of the archdiocese of Douala and spiritual adviser. The region of the Teams of Our Lady in central Africa includes four countries: the Central African Republic, Gabon, Chad and Cameroon.
• REPUBLIC OF CONGO / PLENARY ASSEMBLY
On the opening day of the Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Bishops‘ Conference of Congo Brazzaville, its president, Msgr. Daniel Mizonzo, spoke among other things about family ministry in Congo, says the report on the website of the Conference. "We have to develop a family ministry of forgiveness and mercy. Any pastoral activity that creates and cultivates suspicion and tension in families must be completely prohibited. "It does not emanate from God," reaffirmed the Bishop of Nkayi in his speech. Msgr. Mizonzo‘s text is available at this link.
• IRELAND / ABORTION
On July 7, the Irish parliament rejected the bill to legalize abortion in cases of serious malformation of the fetus, in conformity with the line of Ireland‘s Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, who emphatically opposed all reform. Currently, abortion is allowed in Ireland only if the mother‘s life is in danger. The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland considers that the baby to be born has the same right to life as the mother. Anyone who practices abortion could face up to 14 years in prison