The Right Reverend John Hepworth, of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, gives a traditional Anglican perspective on the Family and Education in his address to the International Conference on the Family organised by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in Manila in March. He was the only Anglican speaker.
THE MANILA DECLARATION ON THE FAMILY
Adopted at the International Interfaith Conference
in Manila on 28th March 1999
A. THE FAMILY IN A CULTURE OF DEATH
We the delegates to this International Interfaith Conference on the
Family, while professing different faiths, are united in our belief that
God calls everyone to work for the family as the center of human development.
A global crisis confronts the family. The 'culture of death' has become the most serious threat to the development of the human person and the family. This is characterized by :
*attempts to replace the traditional or natural family with new "family
* attempts to propose new "gender forms" to include homosexuals, lesbians, and so-called transsexuals, and same sex "marriage;"
* introduction of the most violent forms of population control such as sterilization, abortion and euthanasia;
* the downgrading of motherhood in the name of "women's rights;"
* the rejection and denial of ethical and moral considerations in favor of the economic in resolving family- related issues.
We recognise that the real problem of the world is not "overpopulation"
but rather "depopulation" which has become irreversible in many
rich countries. Nevertheless, pursuing this long-held position powerful
global forces continue to shout "population explosion" and to
prescribe as a cure to poverty the same failed policies that have brought
about a sterile and shrinking population in all those rich countries.
These failed policies have brought about a pervasive climate of materialism, hedonism, sexual permissiveness, moral and religious indifferentism, which have in turn brought about, among others, large and increasing numbers of divorce, broken homes, adulterous unions, illegitimate or single-parent children. teenage pregnancies, teenage suicide, child abuse, and widespread use of illegal and dangerous substances.
We cannot remain idle and passive. We must address this global emergency promptly and adequately with appropriate actions and policies.
B. THE FAMILY IN NEED OF A CULTURE OF LIFE
United in faith in the one loving and merciful God, we the delegates affirm the supreme value of life in every human person. At the center of each person's development is the family. Amidst the various influences that confront the family, we must promote a culture of life. We hereby declare that :
1) The family is the first and most important unit of society and the primary resource of every nation. As such, it is sacred and inviolate. It is based on the marriage of one man and one woman, open to the transmission of human life and dedicated to the rearing and eduction of children.
2) The family precedes the State and any social institution, political and economic organizations and other man-made constructions. It enjoys a plenitude and primacy of rights which no political authority, national or global, may suppress, supersede or abridge.
3) Family life thrives on the core values of marriage, the rearing and education of children, caring for the sick, the disabled and the elderly;
4) The State should give full encouragement, protection and support in the promotion of family life. It should guarantee to every head of the family a living wage or an adequate source of livelihood for the entire family;
5) As we enter into the next century, developed countries should be concerned more with the rapid and increasing depopulation of the north rather than the normal population growth of developing countries which provide adequate supply of qualified manpower for human development. The vast resources used to fund programs in developing countries could be directed more meaningfully and productively to provide homes, education, training, jobs and health care for the homeless and the jobless;
6) The United Nations Organization which was originally founded to unite the family of nations should work out its programs of the promotion and development of the family, which is the basic unit of any nation. UN members need to review the legislative procedures being implemented especially those affecting human life, marriage, the family and other related issues.
C. FAMILIES, ARISE AND MOVE ON!
We raise our voices for the family. And in God, and with God, we need to rise and move up together as one big family. We ask that our call be heard and heeded:
1) We call on the leaders of the developed countries to respect the cultures and traditions of the developing countries, particularly in the filed of the family, marriage, sex education and population growth. We call on the UN leaders to harness its resources for this end.
2) We call on the government leaders of developing nations to promote the family life through legislations that promote the well being and developments of its peoples, and not simply to enhance the economic and political stance of their governments.
3) We call on all families of the world to join hands and work together in creating appropriate legal structures to counteract forces destructive to family life and marriage institutions and more to promote growth and development. Every member of the family has a significant role to play. One voice can always make a difference.
As delegates to this distinct conference on the family, we resolve to commit ourselves wholeheartedly in achieving this goal of authentic human development.
Signatories to this document include His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila, Most Reverend Oscar V. Cruz, DD, President Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Right Reverend John Hepworth, Diocesan Bishop Traditional Anglican Communion, Australia, Sen Francisco S. Tatad Senate of the Republic of the Philippines and Conference Chairman, Most Reverend Jesus Varela DD, Chairman Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Family and Life.
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