Deacon Robert V. Thomann: Marriage: Why Bother?

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The walls of the Sacred City of Matrimony have been widely breached, and the hordes have entered. The battle began in the late 1960s, raged for a few decades, and now is over.

By Deacon Robert V. Thomann, Crisis Magazine, Jan. 4, 2023

Robert V. Thomann, D. Min., Ph.D., is a Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. He and his wife, Joan, minister in the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where they also walk in the Neocatechumenal Way. …


Deacon Robert V. ThomannThe fact that marriages in the Catholic Church have been declining is hardly news. The percent of marriages relative to the Catholic population in the U.S. have declined almost 80 percent from 1970 to the pre-pandemic year of 2018. This is not a small-scale marginal decline but a crisis of catastrophic scale, the consequences of which have been analyzed, reported on, and deplored for at least a decade or more. So, marriage decline is not news.

What is news is that, recently, a kind of response to this decline—to the state of marriage in the Church—has been made by way of the Vatican announcement of a catechumenate for marriage preparation. But this diverts attention from the point of the crisis; and a crisis it surely is. Now, it is clear that preparation for Christian marriage is essential and crucial and is not debatable, but the issue of marriage preparation is directed toward those couples who have appeared at the doors of the parish already with the desire to be married, whatever their reasons are. But this is not the problem with marriage today. …

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