Presentation on theme: "Numbers and Facts Numbers and Facts Why? Why? The Needs The Needs The Plan The Plan How? How? New Strategies for Preparing Couples to Live Happy and Holy."— Presentation transcript:
Numbers and Facts Numbers and Facts Why? Why? The Needs The Needs The Plan The Plan How? How? New Strategies for Preparing Couples to Live Happy and Holy Marriages
NUMBERS - 65% - 64% - 93% State of marriage in the UK Catholic Church:
NUMBERS State of Marriage in the Canadian Catholic Church Drop of 74% in 34 years.
NUMBERS State of Marriage in the US Catholic Church Drop of 70% in 39 years
Daniel 13:9 “They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind God’s just judgments.” Daniel 13:9 “The two causes of this terrifying indifference and profound universal lethargy are, obviously, ignorance and the unrestrained love of sensual pleasures that, by darkening the interior eye of the human soul, bring all its aspirations down to the narrow level of of the present life, and cut it off from the vision of the beauties and rewards to come.” Father Charles Arminjon, foreword of The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life,1881 WHY?
Changes in society Changes in society: Church liberalism Weak or no faith education Rise of New-Age Consumer society mentality Feminism Increase of divorce, broken families Increase of the entertainment business Sexual revolution Availability of contraception
John Paul II Angelus April 1, 1979 “Modern man experiences the threat of spiritual indifference and even of the death of conscience; and this death is something deeper than sin: it is the killing of the sense of sin. Today so many factors contribute to killing conscience in the men of our time, and this corresponds to that reality that Christ called the ‘sin against the Holy Spirit.’” John Paul II Angelus April 1, 1979
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We must equip couples to resist the fads of the day and to have the courage to walk upstream... The Catechism and Theology of the Body are our best tools in this process.
Average age at first marriage: Women 1970 = 20.8 2010 = 26.1 Men 1970 = 23.2.1 2010 = 28.2 Women giving birth for the first time at age 30 or older: - 1970 = 4% - 2007 = 22% The needs are not the same as 35 years ago. MORE NUMBERS
Nowadays, an engaged couple can learn well just about everything they need to know regarding the human dimension of marriage – e.g., good communication skills, good budgeting practices, good parenting principles, etc. – from reliable secular sources. However, with respect to the religious dimension of marriage it is the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church alone that can teach them what they need to know.
Faith affiliation % Divorce reduction or increase Protestant - Nominal +20 % chances of divorce Protestant - Conservative -10 % Protestant - Active Conservative -35 % Catholic (nominal) -5 % Catholic - Active -31 % Catholic practicing NFP-95% Jewish (nominal) +53 % Jewish - Active -97% Numbers: W. Bradford Wilcox and Elizabeth Williamson, “The Cultural Contradictions of mainline Family Ideology and Practice,” in American Religions and the Family, (2007) p. 50 Research shows that couples who seriously practice a traditional religious faith – be it Christian or other - have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice.
Couples today need more a moral and spiritual compass than just human life-skills that are easily available anywhere. They need to move beyond communication to communion. They need to understand what marriage truly is. They need to learn self-giving love, and how to let Christ’s grace work into their marriage. They need deep foundations... When you build a house, you start by digging deep enough foundations that will allow it to resist the storms (CHRIST), then, and then only, you add the building and decorating. The secret to a successful life-long marriage is for it to be Christ-centered Christ-centered. Christ himself said, John 15:5 “Without me you can do nothing..." John 15:5 THE NEEDS
Understand What Marriage Is Couples are now immersed in a culture that wants to “redefine” marriage as “the public recognition of a committed relationship between two adults for their fulfillment.” (William B. May) when actually “Marriage is the universal institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with the children born from USCCB, 12/6/12 their union.” USCCB, 12/6/12
Pope Benedict XVI address to Cor Unum, Jan. 19, 2013. "... the Church stresses her great "yes" to the dignity and beauty of marriage as an expression of a faithful and fecund alliance between man and woman...” "... The Church is guided by the fact that the reciprocity between man and woman is the expression of the beauty of the nature willed by the Creator....” Pope Benedict XVI address to Cor Unum, Jan. 19, 2013.
Do not Be Afraid to Proclaim the Truth 1) Do not Be Afraid to Proclaim the Truth Trust couples with the truth. They long for a strong and uplifting Church, a Church they can be proud of, capable of feeding their hunger for what is true and beautiful. Prepare the Soil 2) Prepare the Soil Nothing ever grew on concrete! The preparation needs to be gradual and personal to give couples the means to process, understand, and own the teachings. The Word of God is the foundation. THE PLAN Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J. condemned to death by the Nazis, 1945. ”God sows the seed, and some time or other he will do the reaping. The one thing I must do is to make sure the seed falls on fertile ground.” Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J. condemned to death by the Nazis, 1945.
Dig deep Foundations 4) Dig deep Foundations Teach couples to invite Christ in their marriage. If Marriage has been raised to the dignity of a sacrament, it means that Christ’s grace is vital to its success. 5) A Holistic Approach We are whole, body and soul. Do not separate the human from the divine, the life-skills from the spirituality of marriage. Instructors need to be witnesses: they live what they teach. Take the Time 3) Take the Time Marriage is a vocation. As it takes time to form a priest, marriage deserves more than a weekend preparation.
Pope Benedict XVI to American Bishops, March 9 th, 2012 “Young people need to encounter the Church’s teaching in its integrity, challenging and countercultural as that teaching may be; more importantly, they need to see it embodied by faithful married couples who bear convincing witness to its truth.” Pope Benedict XVI to American Bishops, March 9 th, 2012
HOW? 1)A Self-Educating Process We want the couples to ponder on the questions to find their own answers first. We then complete with the teachings of the Church. This process allows the couples to stay engaged in the subject being discussed and helps them “own” the knowledge that is being passed on.
2) Start with the Origins (preparing the soil) God invented marriage. Genesis will set the bases of the preparation by defining God’s plan of love for man, woman, and marriage. (Natural Laws). Mary Healy, Men and Women are From Eden The point of returning to the beginning is not only to rediscover the meaning of marriage but also to help us grasp the significance of being male and female. Mary Healy, Men and Women are From Eden
But it also means that we come from the good earth by an act of the Creator. … The human being is made in the image and likeness of God. … We carry within us His life-giving breath and all human life is under God's special protection… Pope Benedict XVI -February 6 th, 2013 - General Audience The garden tells us that…Humanity must recognize the world, not as property to plunder and exploit, but as a gift from the Creator … to cultivate and care for respectfully, following its rhythms and logic, in accordance with God's plan..” Pope Benedict XVI -February 6 th, 2013 - General Audience “The creation stories in Genesis … help us to know God's plan for humanity. First, they say that God formed man out of the clay of the ground. … This means that we are not God; we have not made ourselves; we are clay.
Veritatis Splendor, 35 The power to decide what is good and what is evil does not belong to man, but to God alone. Man possesses an extremely far reaching freedom since he can eat of every tree of the garden. But his freedom is not unlimited: it must halt before the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for he is called to accept the moral law given by God. Veritatis Splendor, 35 Pope Benedict XVI “Sin begets sin and all the sins of history are related. This aspect leads us to speak of what is called 'original sin'. What is the meaning of this reality, which is so difficult to understand? Pope Benedict XVI
3) Gradually introduce the different concepts (the foundations) Formation of conscience. What is a Sacrament? What is the sign of the Sacrament of Matrimony? Its grace? What does Christian marriage represent? This will introduce the theology of marriage and sexuality...
4) Follow the Rite of Marriage Analyze each sentence: Freely and without Reservation To Give Yourselves to Each Other For the Rest of Your lives Will you Accept Children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church I Take You
5) Give them the tools they need for the building What do we expect from marriage? What is going to hold our marriage together for the rest of our lives? What are our potential problems? How is our past going to affect us? What is our common life-project? How do we want to raise our children? Communication skills must bring forth communion. Teach them how to pray together.
“For a family that prays together is a family that stays together.” Father Peyton, Mother Teresa Marriage is a work in progress, a journey, not a destination. Motivate couples to be involved in the parish. Offer follow-up with marriage enrichment resources.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, President of the USCCB, November 2011. "Maybe the greatest threat to the Church is not heresy, not dissent, not secularism, not even moral relativism, but this sanitized, feel-good, boutique, therapeutic spirituality that makes no demands, calls for no sacrifice, asks for no conversion, entails no battle against sin, but only soothes and affirms." Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, President of the USCCB, November 2011.
Answers from over 2,000 couples who completed the online or live Agapè CMP marriage prep courses. Abstinence: Yes or Maybe = 97.0% NFP: Yes or Maybe = 94.0% (Yes: 78.0%, Maybe: 19.0%, No: 3.0%) (Yes: 64.0%, Maybe: 30.0%, No: 6.0%) Agapè CMP’s 2012 NUMBERS
Over 10,000 couples successfully prepared since May 2004 A Division of Agapè Catholic Ministries