Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Marriage Not a Private Commitment, Bishop Says

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Marriage Not a Private Commitment, Bishop Says

Article excerpt

The San Francisco archdiocese's Marriage Preparation Task Force has not "formally addressed the question of gay marriage," but has devoted "some signif leant time to discussion of a related issue: the assumption among many and perhaps most men and women in American society that marriage is fundamentally a private commitment between two people which can legitimately take on whatever goals the two people share," San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy said.

Promotion of gay marriage--a high-profile issue in California and volatile one in the San Francisco Bay area--makes the "reasons for marriage decline" list of many who contend it undermines the traditional understanding of marriage as a unique relationship between a man and a woman and, thus, reduces the appeal of marriage itself.

Formed in May of last year; the task force has been studying marriage preparation and related issues in the archdiocese that might shed light on the sharp decline in the number of Catholic marriages there over the past two decades and more.

Catholic marriages there fell from 2,068 in 1996 to barely over half that 0,070) last year, according to Official Catholic Directory figures. The Catholic population grew by 11,600 in that time frame.

"We believe that a shared understanding of the truly covenantal nature of marriage will not solve every problem," McElroy said, "but will greatly help the growing tendency to view marriage as merely the set of terms that a particular couple choose to buy into. …

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