In a newly published report titled ‘Love Matters’, the Church of England has highlighted the importance of loving family relationships “in all their diversity” within society. The report, which was published by the Archbishops’ Families and Households Commission, states that there is no ideal family model and that the quality of family relationships matters more than the form a family takes.
The report’s focus is on the importance of a foundation of love for relationships to flourish. The Commission has made a series of recommendations for how these relationships can best flourish, and has encouraged individuals “whether married, single, or in a couple – to commit to relationships of all kinds that lead to the flourishing of one another”.
The report comes at a time when family structures are changing rapidly, with more people choosing to live alone or in non-traditional family arrangements. The Church’s stance has often been seen as conservative and out of touch with modern society, but this report aims to challenge that perception.
In a statement by Harry Benson, research director for the Marriage Foundation, “damned” marriage and “surrendered any claim that it might be the best way of forming happy families”
“We should love people, regardless of what kind of family structure they live in. I mean, my mother’s a lone parent…but that’s not the dream. There’s a reason why marriage has been the preferred regulated family structure throughout societies throughout history.
“The Church of England’s view is all families are equally stable – It’s just wrong, it’s nonsense.
“I’m afraid they’ve damned marriage with faint praise. And pretty much abandoned any sense of that marriage is the preferred or best way of running family life. It’s not guaranteed, but it stacks the odds in your favour.” He further said to Premier Christian News.
The Commission’s report acknowledges that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that each family is unique. It emphasises the importance of valuing and supporting families in all their diversity, including those with same-sex parents, single parents, and stepfamilies.
The report also highlights the challenges faced by families in modern society, such as work-life balance, financial pressures, and social isolation. It recommends that the government and employers take steps to support families in these areas, such as providing flexible working arrangements and affordable childcare.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “With wisdom and timeliness, ‘Love Matters’ encourages us to prioritise the hopes, needs and aspirations of families – in all their diversity. We must do so as institutions and as individuals. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to share the overflowing love of God, who calls us into relationship with Himself and one another. As this report demonstrates, there is much to celebrate but there is a great deal still to do if we are to ensure the flourishing of every family and household.”
The report has also been welcomed by Archbishop of York, Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, said: “This report reminds us of a simple yet profound truth: love matters. Each of us is encouraged to commit to loving relationships of all kinds that build up one another. This starts with us as individuals, in our local areas and within our worshipping communities, to support and strengthen family life so that we all flourish together. I pray that this rich resource changes how we live together in our shared family and community life.”