It is no secret that fewer and fewer Catholics in this county do NOT want a "church wedding," big or otherwise, any more than they want the other sacraments.
The Nominally Catholic Rundown has the tale of two young couples who have bucked the trend, despite the "barriers" thrown up by the Church.
Putting aside the specifics of their stories for the moment, what really stayed with me after reading it was a nagging question of whether the required marriage prep isn't making for more failed marriages rather than fewer.
Now wait, hear me out - I know it is counter-intuitive, but could it be, nonetheless true?
I'm not speaking of those couples who marry licitly, but of those who, repelled by, or too indolent or impatient to submit to, the processes we ask of them, the 6 months, the FOCUS instruments, the pre-Cana...
I don't know the stats, but I am sure these are they whose marriages have the worst chance of making it, of keeping them together for the long haul.
So aren't they the very ones most in need of the supernatural graces that God endows them with in the sacrament?
Do we or do we not believe that something happens, actually, objectively, in the administration of sacraments? something beyond our power to understand, much less to deserve?
An unmerited sharing in God's own love, His power to love.
The rest of the Church supplies the form, but the man and the woman themselves are the matter, are they not?
And if they can be made to understand and acknowledge and supply the intent - well, isn't the consequent grace they then receive going to be a much greater aid to them than any knowledge they might have gained from the questionnaire that they balked at?
I feel nearly the same about people who ask for baptism for their children, without giving the parish enough hope that they will actually raise their child in the Faith.
Do we or do we not believe in sanctifying grace? a grace that an infant receives and by which he is strengthened, regardless of his ... oh, of his two mothers intentions and beliefs?
I'm sure I'm looking at this whole thing in the wrong way, and am eager to be instructed.