.The arts, music, song and dance ancient and modern are full of love stories, one of the most famous probably the tragic tale of   Romeo and Juliet.  The legends of King Arthur have a beautiful but also a sad story of a king, queen and a knight she falls in love with. Does she remain faithful and does either of the men abuse her? The two men fought each other over her but neither abused her.  There are different endings to versions of the legend but she doesn’t marry the knight.  Such legends are wonderful teaching stories, on many levels, for families.

But, in the musical Camelot, the question King Arthur asks when his queen appears to be growing distant from him is, “How to handle a woman?”  Should he flatter, threaten, plead, romance her? Merlin the king’s mentor tells him “Love her, simply love her.”      If only it was that simple with love, life and sexual attraction and relationships.

MARFAM’s Daily Thoughts during August have focused on Sexuality as a Family Gift and each day’s scripture readings have been inspanned to consider some of its aspect.  Gender, justice, balance, equality, abuse, gender based violence, child abuse, pornography, teenage pregnancy, love and marriage have all featured in the daily thoughts published on  

In South Africa August is commemorated as Women’s month and 9th August as Women’s Day because of a strong stance a large number of women took against oppressive legislation.  Much of the month, in the public domain and the media, the focus has been on women’s empowerment and equality in the work place and almost nothing on the role of woman in the first and very important context of family as wife and mother.  Pope St John Paull II’s letter to women in 1995 in the context of the Beijing Women’s Conference presented a different picture to the secular public one.   He thanked women for being wives, mothers, daughters etc but also women who work and mentioned consecrated women who choose virginity and celibacy.  

I think it is important to ask,  “what is the true role and rightful place of a woman in society and the Church too? ” But whatever her life situation the other question “How to handle a woman?” and its answer is a powerful statement, a question of justice but most importantly of the true meaning of love.  And yet after reflection are the question and answer not wrong. Should it not be “How should men and women handle one another, if not with respect and the human dignity due to them as God’s creatures?

But as we draw closer to the end of Women’s Month, In our troubled world of today may I nevertheless recommend listening to the song, or even watching the whole delightful musical.    A treat in our world today where intimate partner violence is talked of so much more often than intimacy and love.     This is my prayer for every woman.     TR  FAMILY WEEKLY  30 August 2023   


Almighty God,

You are father and mother to us, your children.

We thank you for the particular and special gifts you have given to women, 

the gift of nurturing life, of sustaining and supporting life,  

the qualities of compassion, commitment, generosity and a willingness to share.

As they progress towards their rightful place in society  we request your blessing on all women

               that they may continue also to hold their rightful place in the family.

               that women and men together may build a society

               which will bring about the Kingdom You have promised us.

We call on Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who nurtured and cared for her son and now reigns with Him in heaven

to inspire the women of South Africa,

               to pray with them in their joys and in their struggles,

               and to intercede for them with her Son.

Mary, Queen assumed into heaven, patroness of South Africa, pray for us.


August 30. Pornography.   Mrs Buthe shared her perceptions and experience of the last month. “Our sexuality and spirituality are gifts from God, beautiful and to be cherished.  Too often this is spoilt and attacked by negative influences and images.  I love art and for me the arts are meant to edify and raise our spirits to wonder at God’s greatness.  Pornography is a perversion of art, sadly too accessible to anyone, also too early in life and too commonly used.” “Why do people view pornography if not for titillation and sexual arousal and also escapism from real relationships.”               

Reflect, share, act. Scripture: O Lord you search me and know me.    If I take the wings of a dove or dwell at the sea’s furthest ends even there your hand would lead me, your right hand would hold me fast.  From Psalm139. Pope Francis. The Synod Fathers expressed concern about the current spread of pornography and the commercialisation of the body, fostered also by a misuse of the internet.  AL 41