What ever happened to Catholic marriage?
Before Vatican II if you wanted to get married, you went to a priest, he explained the rights and duties of marriage and published the banns over three Sundays. Then you could get married. Every family had an uncle or aunt that had separated and maybe even divorced, but they remained chaste because they still considered themselves to be married. Those that did remarry knew they were automatically excommunicated and not eligible for the sacraments.
By the time that I got married in 1971 we had to go through a pre-Cana course. It seemed like it cost like $25.00, took one night a week for several weeks and was a complete waste of time. The diocese instituted age limits and the counselling requirements so Catholics would be better equipped to stay in their marriage. So what did we get?
Well, the divorce rate for Catholics went from being lower than the general population to just about the same as the general population.
Annulments in the U.S. went from 338 in 1965 to 4,000 in 1968, to 60,000 in 1984 with the 60,000 holding steady since 1984. Incidently, 90% of all anulments worldwide are granted in the U.S. Add to these numbers the unknown number of remarriages that are using the “spirit of Vatican II” inspired **The Internal Forum Solution. **[FONT=Arial]This nifty idea lets the parish priest marry divorced Catholics if their conscience tells them that they not sinning, then the priest can marry them. Hard to believe? Then try this link, it’ll give you the full scoop on this neat little deal.
So where are we? We have gone from a Church that said marriage is forever, to a Church that says marriage is forever, maybe, er sorta. Ask yourself, how can we believe that the annulment tribunals find so many marriages null when the people had to go through counselling before marriage, have the wedding in the Church, and witnessed by a priest or deacon, and that the marriage never occured?
I am told that it is near impossible to get married in my diocese faster that 6 months after your first meeting with the priest. Pre-Vatican II it could be done in 3 weeks. The big difference I see is that then we KNEW that our vow was forever and not conditional.