MARRIAGE, “MAKING A SINGLE LIFE OUT OF TWO, IS A MIRACLE”
Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis continued his series of catecheses on the family and marriage and focused on the period known as engagement. (photo: news.va)
Engagement, he said, has to do with trust and reliability. It is beautiful that two people who are engaged to be married undertake a path together during which they learn from each other, sharing and participating in this profound commitment. “It is love itself that demands deep reflection and an approach that is fully aware of what it means to enter into marriage.”
Francis stressed that “the alliance of love between a man and a woman is an alliance for life. It cannot be improvised, it is not something you do from one day to the next.” He also said, “there is no quick-fix marriage, one has to work on love, one has to walk, the alliance of love between man and woman is learned, refined.”
In an off-the-cuff remark, the Pope said, “Allow me to say that making a single life out of two lives is a home-made alliance, and also perhaps a miracle, a miracle of freedom and of the heart entrusted to faith.”
He also urged Italians to read and perhaps re-read the Italian classic romantic novel “I Promessi Sposi” (The Bethrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni. “You Italians in your literature have a masterpiece on engagement, and youngsters should be familiar with it. Read it, it’s a masterpiece that tells the story of fiancés who have undergone difficulties and walked a road to marriage. Don’t overlook this masterpiece on engagement in Italian literature, go on and read it and you will see the beauty.”
Speaking on the idea of nuturing love – “it is very hard work,” he said to great applause – Francis noted that “whoever wants everything immediately will give up everything immediately at the first difficulty or opportunity.”
The Holy Father also mentioned how today’s society and culture are increasingly indifferent to marriage and do not help young people in this delicate moment of their lives. He then encouraged engaged couples to follow courses of marriage preparation which he described as a precious aid as they help them reflect together on their love, their future and on the importance of faith and prayer in the life they are about to share. “You might wonder if this is important or will help you, or wonder if you have time to attend these sessions, but they will help and you’ll discover new things,” he said.
“Engagement is a time when couples come to know one another better in planning for the beautiful yet demanding enterprise of marriage. Love itself demands this preparation, which makes possible a free, generous and sober decision to enter into a life-long covenant of love. For this reason the Church stresses the importance of the period of engagement by offering courses of marriage preparation.”
CARDINAL SAYS IRISH VOTE IS “A DEFEAT FOR HUMANITY”
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said Tuesday that last weekend’s referendum in which Irish people voted to legalize gay marriage was “not just a defeat of Christian principles but a defeat for humanity.” He was speaking at an award ceremony Tuesday evening for the Social Doctrine of the Church sponsored by the Centesimus Annus Foundation.
He said: “The result left me deeply saddened. Certainly, as the archbishop of Dublin said, the Church must take into account this reality (same sex marriage), but must also take into account that, in my opinion, she must strengthen her commitment and make an effort to evangelize our culture as well. I believe this (vote) was not just a defeat of Christian principles but also a defeat for humanity.” The secretary of State added that, “The family remains at the center and we have to do everything to defend it and promote it. Striking it would be like taking the foundations away from the building of the future.”
The family, founded on the union of two people of different sexes, must always be cared for. In any case, the Church believes the result of the Irish referendum must be taken into account. (Translated from Vatican Radio – Italian section)