In an address to Bishops of the Dominican Republic this week, Pope Francis returned to a theme he has been hammering home all year: marriage as the union of one man and one woman, an institution that he said is undergoing a “serious crisis.”
Less than a week after Ireland’s landslide passage of a gay marriage referendum, which the Vatican qualified as “a defeat for humanity,” Pope Francis underscored the indispensable role of mothers and fathers and said that when marriage is seen “as a mere form of emotional gratification,” it loses its value for society.
Marriage and the family, he said Thursday, “are going through a serious cultural crisis.” This doesn’t mean “they have lost importance,” he said, but rather “the need for them is more acutely felt.”
Francis said that the family “is the place where you learn to live together amidst differences, to forgive and to experience forgiveness, and where parents transmit values to their children and especially the faith.”
“Marriage, seen as a mere form of emotional gratification, ceases to make an indispensable contribution to society,” he said.
The Pope also encouraged the bishops to devote more time to families, saying that a broad catechetical effort on marriage and family life is “urgent,” and should include “a spirituality of fatherhood and motherhood.”
He also urged them to pay greater attention to “the role of men as husbands and fathers, as well as the responsibility they share with their wives for their marriage, the family and the education of their children.”
As the secular idea of marriage continues to drift further and further from the Judeo-Christian model, Francis once more underscored “the beauty of Christian marriage,” insisting that “being married in the Lord” makes husbands and wives channels of God’s blessing and grace for society.
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