In this article issues of sexual relationships and families in the present are discussed from a Central European perspective. Traditional perceptions of sexuality and relationships are questioned against the backdrop of postmodern insights on bodies, sexualities, and genders. It is argued that the Catholic endorsement of heterosexual marriage alone as a guide for sexual relationships seems insufficient today and that other forms of committed personal life must also be considered. The second part of the article focuses on the complexity of modern living environment and the “exhausted family” with its challenges for women and men. It also looks the challenge of addressing problems and especially domestic violence in Christian contexts and asks about ways to empower children and their caregivers.
The article discusses some aspects relevant to gender in the context of fundamentalism, secularism and the church. It lists some phenomena that affect women and men differently in functionally differentiated societies with a gendered division of labour, leading to inequalities. While fundamentalist groups disqualify this struggle for justice and human rights that uses gender as an analytical tool as “gender ideology”, the author argues for a continuous social negotiation process on gender and human rights in society and in the Catholic Church.