233 pages cover 13 chapters of material that will challenge and test views on living in our world today. It should not be read as a book of rules, but rather as a guideline and resource book for exploring a way to live that is life-giving.
Chapter 1 looks at marriage as a human bond and a sacrament, the family as the domestic church and the vocation to celibacy. “In both marriage and consecrated celibacy, love is fruitful and brings happiness and fulfillment”
Natural Family Planning -what it is… and how it becomes a blessing, forms part of chapter 2… NFP is not just a “Catholic thing” – it promotes the stability of the marriage.
The chapter on “Openness to life versus contraception” guides us through the role of conscience and puts forward the suggestion that: “in forming one’s conscience we are challenged to use our understanding, examining the decision carefully looking for more information and discussion with other.”
Chapter 4 asks the question: was Pope Paul VI right after all? Could we have “missed the boat” in the controversy of Humane Vitae, the Encyclical Letter written 40 years ago?
“Good preparation helps prevent marriage breakdown”. Offering information on preparation, divorce, annulment of marriage, divorced and remarried people… chapter 5 makes interesting reading, and provides opportunities for group discussion.
“Who is more likely to pay the price?” Chapter six tackles the issues of single unmarried parents and co-habiting couples. “Single parents by choice”, “moving in together”, “civil and traditional marriages” are the topics that again challenge young and old alike.
Abortion, euthanasia and suicide are dealt with in a compassionate way in chapters 7and 9. Drawing on the gospel values of mercy, justice, forgiveness and healing the book reminds us that everyone is responsible for his/her life before God (CCC 2280)
The chapter on HIV/AIDS offers chastity as the real answer to this pandemic, giving us the truth concerning condoms and how to live with your spouse who is infected.
Chapter 10 deals with pornography, paedophilia, human trafficking, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape… common occurrences that fill our newspapers and filter through our TVs. Good and sound information that will be useful in preventing the dehumanizing of people.
“Women in the likeness of God” covers topics such as: “Jesus and Women” and “What is expected of the followers of Jesus.”
Homosexuality is a controversial and emotive topic toady and it is a reality that homosexual people are often not understood nor well accepted in their families and in society. The book, in chapter 12, takes a look at “people with the same-sex attraction” and offers insights that could begin a conversation around the issue, and challenge a change in attitudes!
Chapter 13 entitled “Living the truth in love – together”, touches on a thought provoking idea that now is the “time to heal and unite”… and that “the deepest desire of the human heart” is – love.
Prayers and reflections add to the pastoral approach of the book and a comprehensive bibliography points to books, documents and websites for more information and deeper reflection on how to be Catholic in our world today!
Useful endnotes complete the book.
“It is our hope that this book will lead to a deeper reflection on the areas it addresses” – Archbishops of the SACBC