The wedding season is upon us. If you ask your priest, however, he’ll most likely tell you that in the parish things are quiet on the wedding front. The reason? The percentage of Catholic weddings in Rhode Island continues to fall.
Here are the facts: In 1975, 6,695 couples were married in Rhode Island and 51 percent of them were married in the Catholic Church. In 2012, 6,412 couples were married but only 16 percent were married in the Catholic Church.
The sacrament of matrimony, instituted by Christ, seems to be less and less important to young Catholics today. The sad reality is that many Catholic couples are choosing to marry outside of the Church or simply choosing to live together indefinitely with no formal commitment.
The problem is multifaceted, but one of the reasons is a lack of catechesis and knowledge concerning the Church’s teaching on the beauty and sacredness of marriage and the family. Some of the onus falls on priests and some on Catholic parents. Both must continue to teach the truth, especially to young people, that marriage is an indissoluble, covenantal relationship that reflects the love between Christ and the Church; that couples are called to participate in a life of grace, rooted in the love of the Holy Trinity in their marriages; and that openness to life is essential to a flourishing marriage.
The Church cannot continue to capitulate to the — at times — Godless view of love and marriage that is prevalent in the culture. If we want our Catholic youth to marry in the Church, then we must catechize them now. If not, it might be too late when they choose to marry.