Which gets us back to why the Pastoral Synod on the Family, and the Humanum colloquium, are so important. Families provide the experiential material for our most deeply held intuitions about the reasonableness of faith. So it’s not really a question of tinkering around the edges of the teachings. The teachings are clear, and have been expressed well by so many great witnesses of the faith. There is little room for development of doctrine in matters related to family life.
Instead, the great question confronting the Church today is not what to teach, but how to teach it. When families everywhere are beset by fragility – when huge majorities of our children never know a loving father – when men and women everywhere have a hard time forming stable unions – in this environment, just how can the Church proclaim the "gospel of marriage"? How can she proclaim the gospel at all?
This is the question that the colloquium takes up – the video project being just one new attempt to aim at the heart and not just at the head. I do not know whether these videos will be the new genius that the Church needs, but I do know that exploring new arts and their relationship to the senses of the people is a task worth undertaking.
We are supposed to learn about the romance at the heart of human history from the love story that brings us into being. If we care about the salvation of souls and the future of humanity, we must care deeply about whether this schooling of the heart is taking place. And if we see that it is not, we must conclude that this is the most troubling poverty, and the most pressing evangelical need that we can think of – to lack the human expressions of fidelity and self-gift which are meant to make the reality of God a self-evident reality. The work of Humanum could not possibly be more important. Keep your eye on those videos.
Catherine Ruth Pakalukis an Assistant Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University, a Faculty Research Fellow at the Stein Center for Social Research, and a Senior Fellow in Economics at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. Her research is focused in the areas of demography, gender, family studies, and the economics of education and religion. She also works on the interpretation and history of Catholic social thought. Dr. Pakaluk earned her doctorate in economics at Harvard University (2010). She lives in Ave Maria, Florida with her husband Michael and seven children.