|Giving Couples A Vision of Marriage|
|Written by Sherry|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2007 19:29|
Pete Vere of St. Blog's has written a piece for the Washington Times on the huge percentage of couples who are already sexually active or cohabiting when they approach the Church to be married.
In the diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, "about 60 percent of couples seeking marriage [from the diocese] are cohabitating, and about 25 percent of couples seeking marriage are either pregnant or bringing children into the marriage."
The Diocese of Lexington's marriage-preparation program, Father List works closely with Mike Allen, the diocese's director of family life ministry. About 60 percent of couples are cohabiting and about 85 percent of couples are sexually active when they approach the diocese for marriage preparation,Mr. Allen said.
The solution, he said, is to persuade couples seeking marriage to accept the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and human sexuality "not as rules, but as a vision."
To this end, the Diocese of Lexington uses a program developed by moral theologian Christopher West. The program helps couples understand the four things Catholics believe are common to every marriage: permanence, faithfulness, openness to the procreation and upbringing of children, and the mutual support between spouses. The program also promotes sexual abstinence during the courtship and engagement as well as the practice of natural family planning during marriage. The last skill assists couples in spacing out childbirth and family size without the use of contraception.
Mr. Allen said the diocese's previous program focused mainly on building skills such as communication and management of household finances, leaving "a deficiency in helping couples to understand what marriage is."
The West program helps plug this deficiency by giving couples "a spiritual vision of marriage whereby they see how marriage fits in within the wider context of the Catholic faith," Mr. Allen said."