Om katolsk ekteskapsforberedelse

Før bispesynoden om ekteskapet begynner, leser jeg en artikkel som tar opp forberedelsen til katolske ekteskap. Katolikker skal lære om ekteskapet gjennom hele sitt liv; i sin egen familie og i Kirkens katekese f.eks. før konfirmasjon, og så er det endelig et obligatorisk ekteskapskurs før man gifter seg. De kursene jeg har nå består av 5×2 timer om katolsk ekteskapsteologi og noen praktiske tips om hvordan man kan få et godt ekteskap. Dette kurset kort tid før vielsen skal visst tas opp på bispesynoden:

On the eve of the Synod of Bishops on the family, battle lines have been drawn on hot-button issues such as divorced and remarried Catholics and annulments. Yet little is being said about two reasons that often cause a marriage to fail in the first place: lack of preparation, and forced marriages.

An approved marriage preparation program is one of the four usual requirements to marry in the Church, the others being a six-month notification to the parish priest, Catholic baptism of at least one of the partners, and documentation certifying the freedom to marry of both partners.

Yet according to a preparatory document that will guide discussion for the synod, preparation is often more honored in the breach than the observance.

Programs come in different formats, such as intensive weekends, a series of weekly encounters, on-line formation, and “in-home” mentor couple programs.

They can be offered by priests, experts, and married couples, and the content of the programs varies from one country to another. The one thing they have in common is that they generally require less time than the hours spent by many brides choosing their wedding dresses.

Compared to the lead-in time for the other two sacraments that require mandatory preparation — confirmation and holy orders — eight hours preparing for a lifetime commitment seems a fairly modest requirement. Yet as the synod document notes, it’s often seen “more as an obligation than a freely undertaken opportunity for growth.”

Cardinal Raúl Eduardo Chiriboga of Ecuador certainly sees it that way. “Preparing for marriage shouldn’t be seen as part of the routine that couples have to go through to finally get married,” he said.

Speaking in March, Chiriboga said the Church “should carefully examine these ‘marriage prep classes,’ so that they give couples a deep formation and take all the time that is necessary.” …

The Rev. Héctor Franceschi, one of Rome’s leading church lawyers at the University of the Holy Cross, said the Church needs to rethink the preparation for marriage. “Many times, it’s reduced to two or three lessons on theoretical issues, with priests not even knowing what the future spouses are being taught,” he said.

Franceschi says the Church actually has rich teaching on family issues, with documents such as Familiaris Consortio, Mulieris Dignitatem, Gratissimam Sane, and Humanae Vitae. “The problem is that very few pastors and laymen have read them,” he said. …..

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