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By Rachel Hoover, Crisis Magazine, Oct. 18, 2021
Rachel Hoover is a technical writer by day and a critic and essayist for several Catholic publications in the early evening. She holds a B.A. from Christendom College and lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Much has been written in Crisis and elsewhere about the declining marriage and birth rates in Western society and the rising average age of the marriages that do occur, including among Catholics. Many factors appear to contribute to this pattern: the epidemic of sins such as pornography use and fornication; the educational and wage-earning gap; student loans and financial stagnation; fear of commitment, in part because of the high divorce rate of the older generation; and widespread contraception use. (This last factor, in addition to underlying all of the other factors, is a problem in its own right: some studies have suggested that hormonal contraceptives may make women less attractive to men, as well as alter what type of men women prefer.)
Sadly, these factors impact Catholics nearly as much as the rest of the world because so many people who “identify as Catholic” do not really know their faith or practice its moral teachings. But, even among solidly practicing Catholics who are not deeply mired in sexual sins, marriage can be difficult to achieve. In addition to experiencing some of the same difficulties as the broader population, I suspect another obstacle is in play for Catholics specifically. …