On 21 January, Pope Francis addressed the Roman Rota (the highest ecclesiastical court of the Holy See) on the occasion of the inauguration of the new judiciary year. In his speech the Holy Father called for a new catechumenate for marriage in view of improving marriage preparation and accompany couples throughout their marriage.

Pope Francis considers that there are too many null and inconsistent marriages, due not only to our culture, but also to an inappropriate preparation for marriage. Nowadays one needs great courage marry and those who are ready to commit themselves in marriage should receive more support from the Church, argued the Pope.

The Holy Father suggested two ‘medicines’ to tackle the current situation. The first one concerns marriage preparation, which should be a path leading young people to “rediscover marriage and family according to God’s plan”, contributing not only to their development as persons but more importantly to the growth of their faith and their insertion in the life of the Church. This preparation should be an integral part of the marriage process, like the catechumenate that adults go through for baptism.

The second medicine consists of pursuing this path after the wedding, inviting the spouses to deepen their understanding of marriage progressively and to consider how their everyday life is “a signal and an instrument of God’s love”. The Christian community is also called to accompany the young couple, especially during the first period of family life, and to be present through prayer groups and groups for married couples.

These remedies, says the Pope, should open the way to an environment where spouses can live out their faith through the marriage celebration and married life.

You can read the speech here (Italian and Portuguese only).