Bishop Mark Davies: Lay Catholics must speak up for marriage
18 February 2015
On the Feast of St Valentine Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, held a Diocesan Celebration of Marriage at St Columba’s, Chester. The Bishop urged those present to speak out in defence of marriage:
Sadly, we cannot fail to observe an extraordinary phenomenon in our own society by which marriage becomes increasingly “unmentionable”. Politicians speak of “new forms of family” but often seem afraid to speak of marriage itself. In classrooms teachers, rightly sensitive to the home backgrounds of the children they teach, have often become less ready to propose the model of marriage. We have even heard horror stories of inspectors in schools questioning very young children as to whether they have been taught “narrow” understandings of the family. The Church may well find herself amongst the last voices in society wholeheartedly speaking for the family based on the strong foundation of the lasting, life-giving, faithful union of one man and one woman.
In past decades, Marxists and feminists railed against the institution of marriage as an oppressive structure hindering the march of progress. Today, we know a quieter intimidation urging us to be silent about the immense and necessary good which marriage represents. I want, therefore, to encourage you today to speak up for marriage, to speak uninhibitedly of the good of marriage! In this you speak not simply from your personal experience but from our faith that marriage is God’s plan for the health and happiness of the family and, indeed, for the whole of human society.
His Lordship also spoke about the need to propose the full truth about marriage, including the harm caused by cohabitation and divorce:
Today, marriage is in decline not merely because it has been discriminated against in the tax/benefits system; or mocked by political correctness or denigrated in public entertainment but due to a deeper neglect. We are today facing the challenge of encouraging new generations not to accept cohabitation, easy divorce and family breakdown as a normal part of life, something our society has become resigned to despite its immense human cost, especially for the young. We need to rebuild a culture of the family founded on marriage.
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