Cardinal Schonborn: Marriage as a Union of Families

Forgive the personal reference, but the same experience is marked by your parents’ divorce …  
Yes, I come from a family of divorced parents.   My father remarried.   My grandparents were already divorced.   So I very soon got to know the patchwork situation.   I practically grew up in this reality, which is the reality of life of many people today.   But I also experienced the essential goodness of the family.   Despite all crises, all ideologies that we must denounce and call clearly by name, despite all this, marriage and family are the basic cell of human life and society.  
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna September 24, 2010. Senior Catholic officials have been holding talks with their Orthodox counterparts over the last few days in Vienna. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger (AUSTRIA - Tags: RELIGION HEADSHOT)
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna September 24, 2010. Senior Catholic officials have been holding talks with their Orthodox counterparts over the last few days in Vienna. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger (AUSTRIA – Tags: RELIGION HEADSHOT)
I personally felt that in the Synod was a lack of two elements: attention to children and consideration of the family as a vast network of relationships (including grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts …).   It seems to me that the Synod has been had ​​to present the nuclear family consisting of wife, husband and children, and has considered the situation from the point of view of the spouses.   Do you not think that looking on from the point of view of the children and consider the families linkages that that they are able to create would allow evaluation of things differently, more completely?  

During the Synod our interventions were almost exclusively focused on the structure man- woman-child.  I remembered – and others took it up and at last it came into the final document of the Synod – that when two people get married religiously or start a married life, there are always two families involved.   It is the elementary everyday fact, every marriage is sometimes marked by difficulties.   The family is the primary social network in society.  
Perhaps our view of marriage is so abstract that we forget that for centuries and millenniums, marriage was primarily an alliance between two families …  
At the Synod the situation in Africa was seriously discussed, where often traditional marriage is even above all between the two families.   But in general our understanding of marriage of two isolated people who form a couple is still very abstract.   Behind the encounter between a boy and a girl who come together in the wedding there is a whole network of relationships, there are two families involved.   The Church must have a strong statement to support the reality of this network of families, which is the basic fabric of society.