Mgr Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore (Karnataka), inaugurated the first Church-run family counselling service.
The initiative, he said, stems from "deep concern over the increasing
number of Catholics who cohabit with little regard for the sanctity of
the institution of marriage."
The service offered by the archdiocese will also help to rebuild family ties increasingly under threat in today’s world.
“Even after long years of training for the priesthood, priests still
go through crisis and need the help of a spiritual director or
counsellor. How much more do families need help when in crisis,” the
The family counselling service was launched on 20 February. Locally,
the city already offers a similar service, but "we felt the need for an
official archdiocesan service for families, and we sought the help of
the Holy Cross Congregation of priests."
Some 20 professionally trained counsellors met at the Paalanaa
Bhavana, the archdiocesan pastoral centre. For six months, discussions
were held on how to offer counselling to couples in crisis and help them
According to Mgr Moras, the service is the concrete response to the
recent Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops of India, which decided to
focus on helping families solve their issues.
"At the Synod of Bishops on the family in 2015, Pope Francis stressed the need to protect families from disintegration and discord.”
“At the Archdiocese, we felt the need to protect the sacrament of
marriage and the family itself in a society that continues to change and
tends to damage the family."
The most obvious consequence of family breakdown is the rise in
This, according to the bishop, is also due to
the shallowness of pre-marriage preparation.
"Sadly, even priests and nuns sometimes hesitate to give the proper
Church teachings and guidelines on sexual life and life skills in
marriage. The existing two-day course is not enough if we consider all
the challenges and difficulties that couples face in marriage."