Monday, August 7, 2017

MARRIAGE: PART 1 - FULTON SHEEN: MARRIAGE PROBLEMS


Last week, Fr. Jeff San Nicolas (in the name of the Archdiocese of Agana) hosted a press conference to address the embarrassing news that - as per a 2013 Economist report - Guam leads the world in the number of divorces per capita each year. 

Both Fr. Jeff and divorce attorney, William Pesch, appeared to blame Guam's "off-island divorces" as the reason for the world-leading divorce numbers. However, in my post THE REST OF THE STORY (Part 1),  I demonstrated that Pesch himself had earlier downplayed the number of off-island divorces and that even if we subtracted the number of those divorces, Guam would still rank 4th in the world. 

Further into the Daily Post report on the press conference, Fr. Jeff's comments caught my attention: 
"When I hear the numbers, it doesn't discourage me – I see it as an opportunity, as a calling for us to continue to do more," he said...We need to do what we can to be there for all marriages. ... In the sense that we can support them so that a decision that a couple makes to live together to love each other for life – they are equipped to fulfill that promise that they make to each other."
As evidence of the church's "support" for marriage, Fr. Jeff featured representatives of three groups at the press conference: Couples for Christ, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, and the Sponsor Couple program. 

Of the three, only the Sponsor Couple program is a diocesan initiative, the others being lay initiatives originating elsewhere. And the Sponsor Couple program is aimed almost completely at the engaged and newly married. Meanwhile, national divorce statistics tell us that the real problems begin 5 to 10 years into the marriage. So I'm not sure what Fr. Jeff means by "continuing to do more."

I personally do not think the "church" can do anything to help marriage, at least not so long as it looks (like it does so often) to a "program," instead of to Christ. I know that sounds harsh, but compare the average marriage "support" babble like what you get from the USCCB initiative FOR YOUR MARRIAGE to what our Church taught once upon a time, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen teaches here. Listen to it carefully...and often - especially if you've been married five years or more!



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