Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2018.

Degree Name

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)


George Griener, SJ


It is striking that "Mozambican societies considered marriage to be one of the most important stages in an individual's life." 1 Amoris Laetitia reminds us that "the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people."2 Yet, the percentage of marriage in the Church is declining as showed in Chapter One. The Bishops of Africa and Madagascar admitted that the multilayered challenges "destabilize the life of couples and families" because of inadequate pastoral approaches. 3 On the other hand, Amoris Laetitia recognizes, "In some countries, especially in various parts of Africa, secularism has not weakened certain traditional values, and marriages forge a strong bond between two wider families, with clearly defined structures for dealing with problems and conflicts." 4

This dissertation underscores the traditional values that enhance marriage and family (Chapter Three), such as the interdependence between community, marriage, family, and life; the keen sense of belonging; respect for elders and ancestors; and a formation to adulthood with an effective preparation for marriage and family. The dissertation shows that those values are covenantal (Chapter Two), compatible with the Christian faith (Chapter Four), and foundational for an inculturated pastoral approach.

Such an approach integrates the covenantal and Mozambican values in the preparation, celebration, and ongoing support of marriage (Chapter Five). It encompasses a formation of young adults modeled on the retreats of initiation. It recognizes Small Christian Communities and marriage groups as supportive structures for marital life. It permeates the covenantal values in every aspect of the life of the community.

This research joins the conversation the Mozambican Church has already begun through Theological-Pastoral Weeks on Matrimony in 2000 and 2001 and through her effort in preparing a National Directory for marriage and family. It responds to the recent invitation of Amoris Laetitia to "reach the hearts of young people ... inviting them to take up the challenge of marriage with enthusiasm and courage. " 5

My methodology follows the four steps of the pastoral circle as described by Peter Henriot and Joe Holland: insertion and analysis (to understand what is happening and why) and theological reflection and pastoral planning (to look at the context in the light of the Christian faith and respond through an inculturated pastoral approach).

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