23 January 2017

The Relationship between Faith and Marriage

In his speech for the inauguration of the Judicial Year of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, Pope Francis indicated the “remedies available” for dealing with the worrying situation marked by the gradual increase, even today, of the number of invalid marriages.

Beginning with a text of Saint John Paul II (Fides et Ratio), which reiterated the relationship between the knowledge about faith and that of reason—”the farther one drifts from the perspective of faith, the more ‘the human being runs the risk of failure'”—Pope Francis opened the judicial year of the Roman Rota, by asserting that “a context, lacking in religious values and faith, cannot but condition matrimonial consent.” If, today, people need great courage to get married, it is also true that without a serious and adequate preparation—”a real catechumenate”— there is a proliferation of null marriages celebrations. Having said this, the Pope suggested the following remedies.

“I indicate a first remedy in the formation of the young through an adequate process of preparation aimed at rediscovering marriage and the family according to God’s plan…. Today more than ever, this preparation is presented as a real opportunity for the evangelisation of adults and, often, for those who have drifted away. Indeed, there are many young people for whom the proximity of marriage constitutes the opportunity to encounter anew the faith long relegated to the margins of their lives… Therefore, workers and entities engaged in family pastoral care must be inspired by a strong concern to make paths for preparation for the sacrament of marriage increasingly effective, not only for human growth but above all for the faith of engaged couples.”

After stressing the need for a “new catechumenate” during marriage preparation, Pope Francis indicated a second remedy “that of helping newlyweds to follow the path of faith and in the Church also after the celebration of marriage. It is necessary to identify, with courage and creativity, a project of formation for young couples, with initiatives aimed at a growing awareness of the sacrament received.”