Issues of marriage and family with regard in the context of woman’s innovative role in Catholic Church


  • Petro L. Yarotskiy Інститут філософії НАН України



marriage, family, human dignity, mercy, conservatism of the clergy, church reform, theology of women


The article is based on the value of the human personality and the principle of mercy proposed by Pope Francis. It explores the threats to the modern functioning of the Catholic Church in the context of globalization and secularization of the issues of marriage and family that were submitted to discussion and decision-making by the Extraordinary Synod of the Catholic Church Bishops holding in 2014 – 2016 in Rome. The work of this Synod proved the conservatism and the lack of readiness of the synodal bishops to resolve the crisis situation with modern family which was assessed by Francis as a crisis of synodality and the bishops’ opposition to the modern Catholic Church reform. In order to overcome these negative factors Pope Francis decided to change in a categorical way the current salutation with the clergy's frames formation and processing of an innovative "theology of women" which would become a determining factor in the church’s reform and replace the modern formation of the conservative clergy.

The purpose of this study is to identify and characterize the causes and consequences of the modern family’s crisis from theological and religious points of view. As a result of this study it has been proved that cardinals and bishops of the Extraordinary Synod ambiguously and conservatively assess the complex problems of the modern family. And so they appeared to be unable to offer actual preventions to overcome this crisis.

The factors of the crisis state of the modern family are revealed and characterized in the further aspects:

  • during last 25 years (in the crossing of second and third millennia) the Catholic Church has lost from 15 up to 30 percent of its parishioners in many countries particularly in Europe and in Latin America;
  • in such circumstances according to Francis the issues of marriage and family are such issues that "disturb” the society and church" since the western ritual parishioners no longer accept church marriages, divorce and marry again outside the church (therefore the church does not recognize such marriages) in the consequence of thereof the exclusion of these people from the church takes place;
  • such form of marital intimate relationships as concubinage is constantly increasing (long-term extra-marital cohabitation with an unmarried woman) that is family status by "faith" not being the official marriage (in the words of people "without a stamp in the passport");
  • the number of families with mixed-confessional couples and with the problem of denominational education of children is constantly increasing;
  • homosexuality and same-sex marriages acquire legitimacy;
  • the natural conception and birth of children is replaced by surrogate motherhood.

Key words: marriage, family, human dignity, mercy, conservatism of the clergy, church reform, "theology of women".