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Waking Up to the Problem of Fatherlessness

By August 13, 2007September 3rd, 2007Chainmaille, Family, News

Steven Malanga has written an article in City Journal called “City Without Fathers.” He comments on the out-of-control crime rate in Newark, New Jersey by pointing out that the rate of fatherlessness in that city is also out of control:

According to 2005 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 32 percent of Newark children are being raised by their parents in a two-adult household. The rest are distributed among families led by grandparents, foster parents, and single parents??mostly mothers. An astonishing 60 percent of the city’s kids are growing up without fathers. It isn??t that traditional families are breaking up; they aren??t even getting started. The city has one of the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates in the country, with about 65 percent of its children born to unmarried women. And 70 percent of those births are to women who are already poor, meaning that their kids are born directly into poverty.

Most interestingly though, he notes how not only are politicians and policy makers are silent on the subject, but also our religious leaders as well:

The starkness of these statistics makes it astonishing that our politicians and policy makers ignore the subject of single parenthood, as if it were outside the realm of civic discourse. And our religious leaders, who once preached against such behavior, now also largely avoid the issue, even as they call for prayer vigils and organize stop-the-violence campaigns in Newark. Often, in this void, the only information that our teens and young adults get on the subject of marriage, children, and family life comes through media reports about the lifestyles of our celebrity entertainers and athletes, who have increasingly shunned matrimony and traditional families. Once, such news might have been considered scandalous; today, it is reported matter-of-factly, as if these pop icons?? lives were the norm.

The obviousness of this problem would seem to be a screaming opportunity to preach the gospel, and to reassert a little paternity. “Oh well,” we say, “pass the remote.”

Are we awake yet?

Fr Angelo

Author Fr Angelo

I am Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate, and a priest for more than twenty years. I am now studying in Rome for my licentiate in Theology.

More posts by Fr Angelo

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Ave Maria says:

    One could almost think that it was part of some ‘evil plan’ for the government to continue to fund out of wedlock births….

    In the pharmacy where I work, I see moms and kids and essentially NO dads. Moms with several kids of several races and no dads.

    I have a 23 year old son and a good number of his buddies just live with girlfriends. The young people have ‘relationships’ but they are not love and they are not commitment. Is this growing problem ever mentioned in the local Catholic churches? NEVER! In fact, it is rather the norm.

    There is an elephant in the living room! Millions of children have no fathers and no stable home life; the schools cannot make up for this lack and in the future will we be able to build enough jails for those who grow up with no morals?

    Perhaps only God’s intervention can turn this tide? In the meanwhile, we are not praying enough.