Latvia turns heads in synod with strong witness of marriage

Vatican City, Oct 17, 2014 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In synod discussions last week, the Baltic nation of Latvia caught the attention many synod fathers, who were keen to hear why the number of divorces among their Catholic population is so low.

“In Latvia, it is a pity, but we have the highest number of divorces: 86 percent of marriages are divorced civil marriages. But when our civil mass media started to check how it is in the Church, they discovered that we just have 16 percent, and they asked why,” Archbishop Zbignev Stankevics of Riga told CNA Oct. 9.

Archbishop Stankevics explained that such a low number of divorces inside the Church is due in part to a “serious preparation for marriage, because we have an obligatory course for persons who want to get married in the Church.”

Thanks for the link, Aby:) God bless. +Pax.

Way to go, Latvian Catholics!

I thought Catholic churches all over the world required a couple to go through the “pre-wedding” course. Non?


I’d be interested in finding out how many Catholics are marrying. If there are fewer Catholic marriages there would be fewer divorces. But the initial look into Latvian Catholic marriages seems encouraging.

16 percent was a rate. Meaning that 16 of every 100 marriages within the Church were divorced.

Pretty awesome that it’s so low!

They should be. But it sounds like the preparation courses in Latvia are especially strong.

Many people always saw it that way. Why make annulments easier when you can make the criteria for marriage much more stringent? That would just save everyone time, trouble, and heartbreak.

But Catholics don’t always marry within the Church and are still Catholics. Heck, a lot of weekly Mass going Catholics marry outside of the Church for various reasons from the religion of their partner to wanting an outdoor wedding to simply not knowing they were bound by canon law to be married in the Church or dispensed.

If they are only counting Catholics who married in the Church and not those married civilly or in another religious traditions than those numbers aren’t accurate.

However, it does show that the Church’s marriage prep requirements are helping. That’s still a good thing.

That does make a lot of sense! An ounce of preventative and all that…

The downside to this approach is that as marriage in the Church becomes more difficult, more couples will choose to get married outside the Church - and perhaps stay outside.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit