[quote=mike182d]I know you’re not trying to bash the Church; these are tough issues. But I think the root of it all has to do with our lack of understanding of marriage as a Sacrament and vocation. It really wasn’t until Theology of the Body that the Sacrament began to be truly understood in terms of the Eucharist and its proper role in our salvation history.
Personally, I think marriage should be treated exactly like the priesthood. People apply to seminary, go through rigorous study for six years (minimum) to understand the role of the priest, theology, and how their role fits into God’s plan. However, when two people decide to get married, often the priest just makes them sign a paper and their off on their own. If marriage is as crucial to the life of the Church as the Catholic Church says it is, it needs to be treated as such. I think there should be marriage “seminaries” where two people who wish to get married study the role of the married person in the Church, the theology of marriage, NFP, and even practical matters like how to raise kids. Seriously, I’m often struck by how unprepared engaged couples are for marriage and it makes the disillusionment phase of their marriage even more difficult because of it, increasing the odds of divorce.
The fact of the matter is that marriage is not just something people who can’t become religious do. It is not a “vocation for the rest of us,” so to speak. It is just as crucial to the life of the Church as the priesthood itself, as John Paul II so wonderfully explained, and it needs to be treated with the same regard.
In those regards, if the Church has a right to judge a seminarian’s vocation to the priesthood, they have every right to judge a person’s vocation to marriage.
I understand your point, and to avoid a problem of circular reference, you might be right on the money.
But in all reality, it is the job of the PARENTS over the child’s lifetime to instruct them on the “how to’s” of married life. All of the topics you described (NFP, how to raise kids, theology of marriage) are topics that should be taught and shown by example to children over 18 years or more as they are being raised.
We cannot put all tasks on our Church.
But as I indicated previously we may have a problem of circular reference. We all know there are many Catholics out there who haven’t a clue about any of those issues and there has been such a lax attitude by many parents regarding teaching these very important topics. How do today’s children learn these topics in time before they are married with children themselves?
Part of the answer lies with those of us who ARE practicing Catholics to be good and kind examples of what that means.