The French National Confederation of Catholic Family Associations (CNAFC) publishes every week a newsletter with news and initiatives to help Catholic families during the time of quarantine. The Confederation even created a Facebook group called “Esprit de famille” (Family spirit) where families can share their experiences, find activities for their children or simply exchange with other members of the group.
The CNAFC is also raising awareness on the increased risks for minors to be exposed to online pornography during the confinement and continues to consistently ask the French authorities to implement effective filters to protect minors. On the 9th of April, 7 presidents of associations, including the President of the French Catholic family associations, co-signed a letter the President of the Republic asking him to restrict free access to pornographic sites, to protect children, to fight against paedocriminality and to protect victims of sexual exploitation.
Finally, some family associations were recently alerted that, in some public hospitals, patients were refused the possibility to see chaplains of any cult, and were therefore condemned to die alone, without any spiritual or sacramental accompaniment. The Confederation initiated an emergency legal procedure to inform the French Government, which quickly ensured that measures would be taken to remedy this situation.
The German Catholic Family Association (Familienbund der Katholischen) demanded to the federal government to consider the number of children in a family when allocating the short-time work allowance.
“Parents with several children are confronted with higher expenses due to the food supply or even the size of the required housing. The short-time work allowance must be in line with the economic reality of families and must therefore be urgently adjusted“, declared Ulrich Hoffmann, President of the Familienbund der Katholischen. Under the current law, short-time working compensation is paid at 60 percent of the net wage lost. Employees who have at least one child are entitled to 67 percent. However, no further increase is planned for those who have two or more children. Familienbund President recalled that “in these difficult times for everyone, families with several children, especially families with many children, should not be driven into poverty”.
The Italian Forum of Family Associations is committed to ask the Italian Government to provide concrete help for families in this context of pandemic. The President of the Forum, Gianluigi de Palo, called on banks to suspend family mortgages until the end of the emergency to reduce the economic difficulties of families resulting from the coronavirus emergency: “An initiative of this kind would relieve the families of an important burden and a decree-law would be enough to make it enforceable”. Those measures should be “universal, immediate and as accessible as possible”.
Given the impossibility to organize seminars or conferences, the Italian Forum is currently organizing Facebook live-streamed public meetings with experts from different domains. On the 2nd of April the Minister for the Family, Elena Bonetti, took part in one of these meetings to answer to the questions of the members of the Italian Forum of Family Associations.
The Spanish Forum of the Family started a “Quarantine Family Week” on social media to support families in their everyday struggles, sharing “recipes and tricks to make it more enjoyable for the family”.
The Forum is encouraging families to see this crisis as an opportunity, for example to celebrate Father’s Day (celebrated on 19 March in Spain) and the central role of every father in the family.
At the same time, the Forum is committed to ask the Spanish government to provide clear indications and measures to support parents in this situation emergency, especially regarding the closure of the educational establishments.
The association Enraizados initiated a one-month prayer chain to pray for sick and dead people, their families, health staff, researchers, politicians, hospital chaplains and everybody who is suffering from or helping in this crisis.
Enraizados also recently launched a fundraising campaign to help different projects in Madrid: the University Hospital “La Paz” for biomedical research, social dining room of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, canteen of the Missionaries of Charity in Madrid and finally menus prepared by the Parish Cooperators of Christ the King. In addition, the association is supporting a parish in Venezuela to buy food, medicine and hygiene products.