Marriage is tough and it requires work and commitment to make it last forever. On Thursday, June 16, Pope Francis remarked that marriage is tough for couples today. He said a ‘great majority’ of Catholic marriages may be null. He added that Catholic marriages are invalid because couples do not understand that it is for a lifetime.
Pope told his participants at John Lateran Basilica in Rome that, “We are living in a culture of provisional. Because of this, a great majority of our sacramental marriages are null because they say, ‘yes, for the rest of my life’ but they don’t know what they are saying because they have a different culture”.
Pope’s criticism of marriage creates a storm
The Pope feels that the idea of commitment is temporary almost everywhere – even in priestly and religious life. In order to explain this culture, he mentioned a conversation with a bishop saying that he met a boy who finished his studies and was willing to become a priest, but only for 10 years. He shares another example where a young man told him that he has not celebrated his wedding because he is looking for a church that matches well with his fiancee’s wedding dress. He wonders how can he change people’s concerns.
Pope said, “The crisis of marriage is because people do not know what the sacrament is, the beauty of the sacrament; they do not know that it is indissoluble, that it is for one’s entire life. It’s difficult.”
Critics appeared to take Pope’s comments as a suggestion that most Catholics do not take their vows seriously. Some regard him in the wrong. For example, Edward Peters, a U.S. canon lawyer said that the Pope’s comments were bad and can even encourage couples in a difficult marriage to give up.
Pope: It’s enough to intend permanency in marriage to make it valid
The Catholic church teaches that marriage can only be ended by death or annulments. The Pope believes that the church should offer better marriage preparation programs. He said, “There are boys and girls who have purity and a great love, but they are few.” Conservatives have informed the Pope that couples cannot be forced to get married, if they are not ready. But the Pope feels that the priest should “let fidelity ripen”.
What is your stand on this? Do you agree with the Pope?