BY Ian Dunn | August 18 2017 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Radical action urged as Catholic marriages hit lowest level since 1941

Scotland needs a Catholic marriage association, tribunal head says

The Scottish bishops have been urged to take radical action after the number of Catholic marriages in Scotland hit the lowest level since 1941.

There were just 1,346 Catholic marriages in Scotland last year, down from a high of 7,066 in 1970.

Mgr Peter Magee, head of the Scottish Catholic Interdiocesan Tribunal, which rules on annulments, said he would like to see better preaching about marriages in parishes, the establishment of a Catholic Marriage Association, and one Sunday in the year dedicated to matrimony.

“We need more systematic and intensified preaching and catechesis on marriage, preaching at Mass and catechesis both in Catholic schools and in the preparation of couples for marriage,” he said.

“Here we need to harness the expert help of communicators, psychologists in line with the Catholic vision of marriage and any other professional class which would help get the message across, including Catholic media, Catholic think tanks and Catholic social media wizards.”

Mgr Magee added that Catholic marriages should be ‘a source of inspiration.’

“This would include examples of marriages from the past and present and ways of enabling solid Catholic marriages to witness to others about the truth of what marriage is, with all its wonders and problems,” he said.


New body

The monsignor also called for the establishment of a Catholic Marriage Association.

“[This would] have the task of critically analysing the cultural and philosophical trends in our society, in order to demonstrate when those trends are, or are not, serving the true need for love, intimacy, stability, children and interpersonal development of a coupled man and woman,” he said.

“It would demythologise the lies which are thrown at us concerning love, sex, relationships, happiness and fulfilment and which proceed solely from the self centred needs of the hedonism which has infected and corrupted our culture and our laws.

“We need a sensitive but articulate presentation of why cohabitation does not respond humanly, never mind Christianly, to what the human being craves deep down.”


Message on marriage

Mgr Magee said we should have one Sunday in the year dedicated to marriage, ‘much as we have one for life and other worthwhile causes.’

“It would not be just a day to preach about marriage nor to pray for it—these are givens,” he said. “It would be a day to celebrate marriage in the parish, both liturgically and socially.

“It would be a day to issue a message on marriage to the nation in the exercise of our right of free speech and in our sense of duty to present the Christian vision courageously and positively to our sceptical and secularist culture.”

He also suggested we need more ­marriage advisory services on a ‘more widespread basis, closer to local communities.’

“But those who lead them need proper training in the rich teaching of the Church in such matters, be it for those already married or those curious about getting married,” he said.

“While the culture around us seems against us, there are probably thousands of young people just waiting to hear ‘the Gospel of Marriage.’”

“[Young people] who would be enthralled and inspired to enter into marriage as God intended it, if someone would just take the time and explain to them, with love, the rich and profound treasure that it is, and that it can only be since it comes from the hands of God.

“I realise that much of what I propose requires resources, financial and personnel, but to precisely what other cause would it be more important to do so?”




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