Couples commit for life

By 
  • September 12, 2008

{mosimage}A new pastoral message from Canada’s Catholic bishops aiming to “encourage and support” young couples in their search for happiness includes insights from its target audience.

About a dozen young couples from across the country contributed to the pastoral letter, released by the bishops Sept. 4, titled “What Does Marriage Add to your Love?”

“With Christ’s help, the married couple is able to bring to the world the additional love it needs,” the bishops’ letter said.

The six-page document explores marriage as a call from God; what the sacrament adds to human love; the meaning of freedom, fidelity, stability and fruitfulness; and the mission of the married couple. It draws from theological teachings of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

By including quotes from young couples, bishops of the theology commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops delivered a message that is “more attuned to the questions and expectations of young couples,” said Sylvain Destrempes, the commission’s senior theological advisor.

“It’s a relatively new approach for the theology commission, that the bishops would quote directly from the consulted persons who happen to be chosen among the targeted audience,” he said.

The quotes are from couples already seeking to keep Christ at the centre of their marriage, he added. Said one couple, “For my wife and me, marriage is a ménage à trois, for Christ cannot be on the outside of our commitment.”

In a media release about the letter, Bishop Luc Bouchard of St. Paul, Alta., chairman of the theology commission, said the bishops hoped to “present young couples with a positive and true understanding of Christian marriage and how it can enhance their love for one another and for their families.”

He said the young couples who spoke with the bishops “give witness to what is possible when Christ is welcomed into their married lives.”

Jonas Abromaitis, the bishops’ conference co-ordinator for the bureau of ecclesial relations and doctrine, said the letter comes at an important time — when the church’s point of view on marriage is not properly discussed by the secular media.

“There seems to be a lot of negative language surrounding the marriage debate,” he said. “(Marriage) is a beautiful diamond set in an ugly setting.” 

The theology commission expressed hope that the letter will be distributed through parishes to young couples considering marriage, that it be used in marriage preparation programs and also offer the chance for reflection among married couples.

To obtain copies of the letter, go to the bishops’ publications services at cccbpublications.ca.

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