206. “The complexity of today’s society and the challenges faced by the family require a greater effort on the part of the whole Christian community in preparing those who are about to be married. The importance of the virtues needs to be included. Among these, chastity proves invaluable for the genuine growth of love between persons. In this regard, the Synod Fathers agreed on the need to involve the entire community more extensively by stressing the witness of families themselves and by grounding marriage preparation in the process of Christian initiation by bringing out the connection between marriage, baptism and the other sacraments. The Fathers also spoke of the need for specific programs of marriage preparation aimed at giving couples a genuine experience of participation in ecclesial life and a complete introduction to various aspects of family life”.(Cf. Relatio Synodi 2014, 39)
- The Christian community has a role in forming couples for marriage. How often do parishioners of various talents and experiences contribute to this formation?
- Of the possible virtues listed, chastity is the first out of the gate. My sense is that the argument for chastity is strengthened by other values more embraced in modern society: courage and loyalty, among others.
- Connections with other sacraments: yes, this. Without such connections, weddings become more of an ecclesiastical sanction for marriage–little more than a blessing of a personal, social, and civic reality. Catholic theology on the connection of marriage to baptism and the Eucharist is fairly weak. Most of the institution’s historic effort has been to apply canon law to marriage. Mystical theology, sacraments–not so much.
- Programs for church involvement and family life? I would say more important would be a welcome into parish social life, not only with other young couples, but also those who have experienced long, fruitful and positive marriages.
For your reference Amoris Laetitia is online here.