Mary Hasson, director of Catholic Women’s Forum at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, says that Christians no longer see marriage as a lifelong commitment. She agrees with Pope Francis’ claim that couples lack complete understanding of the marriage vows.
“It’s individual consumerism applied to sexuality — what I want, when I want it, and only for as long as I want it,” Hasson commented in an interview with The Christian Post. “It’s meaningful only from a ‘what’s in it for me’ perspective. Relationships often take on the same quality — they are vehicles for personal fulfillment (however defined) and, like an old car, they can be traded or dumped when the repair costs get too high or a new model appears on the scene.”
Hasson says often couples preparing for marriage freely state a lifelong commitment to each other. However, she notes that often they have unspoken “exits” of justifying divorce and marriage if things don’t work out.
“That mindset is toxic to marriage, where couples need a unified vision, a capacity for sacrifice, a willingness to compromise, and a commitment to the good of the marriage, spouse, and children.”
Pope Francis informed participants at the Diocese of Rome’s pastoral conference last Thursday that most Catholic marriages are void because couples don’t comprehend that marriage is a lifelong commitment.
According to Catholic News Service, the Pope feels that most couples say ‘yes to committing to marriage’ yet are unaware of what the spouses are saying “because they have a different culture”.
Pope Francis added that marriage is seen by society as a temporary obligation indicating a larger issue wherein everything is provisional.
Jennifer Roback Morse (Founder, Ruth Institute) informed Christian Post that she felt the pope’s comments were unwise- although she understood the concerns. Morse calls the pope’s comments, “imprudent for him to express himself in the manner he did”, citing that it does not uplift those who are struggling in marriage.Interesting to note, that according to the Catholic News Service, Pope Francis said that when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he banned “shotgun marriages”. He felt that the pressures to marry for couples expecting meant that they were unable to freely pledge themselves to each other for life.
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