A top British rabbi told a Vatican conference on marriage today that Great Britain is developing into the most divided society than at any time in the last 150 years.
Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, says the problem stems from a number of factors including that almost half of children born in the United Kingdom are born out of wedlock, people are marrying later and that 42 percent of marriages end in divorce.
He pointed out that women head 92 percent of single-parent families and that “in Britain today more than a million children will grow up with no contact whatsoever with their fathers.”
Sacks said, “Those who are privileged to grow up in stable loving association with the two people who brought them into being will, on average, be healthier physically and emotionally. They will do better at school and at work. They will have more successful relationships, be happier and live longer.”
He said that cohabitation is not a substitute for marriage since cohabiting relationships end on average after less than two years, far shorter even than those marriages that end in divorce.
He said these developments are “creating a divide in societies the like of which has not been seen since Disraeli spoke of ‘two nations’ a century and a half ago.”
Sacks is one of many speakers at a Vatican sponsored conference on the “complementarity of men and women” and the importance of marriage and family.
This morning Pope Francis said that children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother.
A common statement on man-woman marriage from more than 14 faith traditions will be released on Wednesday.