This analysis looks at the marriage policies of 119 Latin-rite marriage sex counseling michigan. It identifies common practices, significant differences, and current trends that are evolving, such as cultural adaptations, an emphasis on the total life cycle of the marriage, and liturgical rituals. It references specific diocesan policies that are especially well-developed on particular topics.
It also suggests sources for additional information and explanations. This analysis was completed in the fall of 2005. The Committee recognizes that dioceses continue to revise their marriage policies in response to changing circumstances in society and in the Church. As the Committee receives copies of these new policies, it will make every effort to keep this analysis up-to-date so that it remains a useful resource.
Overview of Diocesan Policies Of the 119 policies, a few were in revision and eight were over 15 years old. Generally, policies allowed parishes to add further specifics, as long as they did not conflict with the diocesan policy, i. Audience Most policies are directed primarily to the parish priest, deacon or lay minister who coordinates the couple’s immediate marriage preparation. Others involved in marriage preparation, including sponsor couples, Engaged Encounter leaders, natural family planning teachers, and Pre-Cana speakers, are not the direct audience, although policies usually outline the kinds of programs that are accepted and the general content of those programs. Style of policies Policies range from brochure-length to over 160 pages.
The average comprehensive policy is about 75 pages. The discrepancy in length is often due to appendices that cover canon law, church documents, details regarding mixed marriages and second marriages, description of programmatic content, and liturgical guidelines. Thus the core of each diocesan policy is usually about ten pages. Some policies state the policy and then add documentation such as canon law and pastoral tips.
Others simply state the policy, provide a brief explanation and put related information into an appendix. Others focus on canon law and impediments to a valid sacramental marriage. Sources Policies draw on Scripture, canon law, church documents, and the lived experience of generations of faithful Catholic married couples and their priests. Sources that are foundational for marriage preparation ministry in the U. The promulgation letter from the bishop or archbishop is a personal touch. It is brief, with a tone of welcome and pastoral care.
Under canon law, the purpose of a marriage preparation policy is to make sure that people are free to marry and have the capacity to marry. More broadly, the policy aims to strengthen marriage in the Catholic Church through effective formation, pastoral care, and celebration. Many dioceses also take this opportunity to give background on the theology of marriage and the Church’s pastoral concern that couples make this commitment with as much wisdom and church support as possible. Church to see marriage catechesis as a life long process, the primary focus of all marriage policies remains on immediate marriage preparation, i. Many policies do point out that remote preparation begins at birth, e. It includes all family and environmental factors that influence the person in positive and negative ways regarding marriage. It is through the “family of origin” that the role models, values, traditions, communication styles, attitudes, etc.
These policies describe how parents sow the seeds for healthy and mature future relationships, for example, by showing affection to each other and to their children and by teaching their children about the goodness and healthy use of one’s sexual powers. Proximate marriage preparation is usually defined as the time from puberty to formal engagement. Proximate marriage preparation involves, through appropriate catechesis, a more specific preparation for and rediscovery of the sacraments. It is also critical to address the role of media and the importance of media education during this stage. Although parents continue to be instrumental in the formation of healthy relational skills and attitudes during this period, many policies refer to the value of classroom instruction in marriage and family life during junior high, high school, and college. The Archdiocese of Louisville aptly phrases one of its sections on proximate preparation as “Learning about Weddings in the Eighth Grade.