Marriage: Why Bother? – Crisis Magazine

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

The walls of the Sacred City of Matrimony have been widely breached, and the hordes have entered. The battle began in the late 1960s, raged for a few decades, and now is over.

The fact that marriages in the Catholic Church have been declining is hardly news. The percent of marriages relative to the Catholic population in the U.S. have declined almost 80 percent from 1970 to the pre-pandemic year of 2018. This is not a small-scale marginal decline but a crisis of catastrophic scale, the consequences of which have been analyzed, reported on, and deplored for at least a decade or more. So, marriage decline is not news. 

What is news is that, recently, a kind of response to this decline—to the state of marriage in the Church—has been made by way of the Vatican announcement of a catechumenate for marriage preparation. But this diverts attention from the point of the crisis; and a crisis it surely is. Now, it is clear that preparation for Christian marriage is essential and crucial and is not debatable, but the issue of marriage preparation is directed toward those couples who have appeared at the doors of the parish already with the desire to be married, whatever their reasons are. But this is not the problem with marriage today.

The measured marriage decline precisely reflects those couples and singles who have not come to the door of the rectory, who may have thought and discussed marriage but decided that they are not interested in marriage, even if they are not necessarily opposed to it. In fact, they may even be physically present in the parish on Sunday, not as a married couple but as a nice twosome or onesome, maybe admired from afar as they walk up to receive Communion. In their discussions between themselves and family and Church, the fundamental question that inevitably arises loudly and clearly regarding marriage is “Why bother?”

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Marriage: Why Bother? – Crisis Magazine

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