As most of our readers probably know, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting this week in Baltimore. CUF president Mike Sullivan is representing us at the meeting, and will be providing updates and insights as he is able.
There are several interesting items up for discussion at this year’s fall meeting, including the ever controversial faith and politics document, as well as new curriculum guidelines for high school catechesis and chastity education.
An item that immediately caught my attention was ”For Your Marriage,” the U.S. bishops’ new public awareness and marriage education campaign.
Now I realize some might equate the bishops’ conference saying that they’re starting a program to support marriages with a federal agent saying “I’m with the government and I’m here to help.” Yet, I am well aware of the good work being done by the marriage and family committee of the USCCB, so I took the time to browse through the campaign website at www.foryourmarriage.org.
And the site has some very good features, including sound Church teaching and some interesting, useful articles on a range of marriage-related topics. For the life of me, though, I couldn’t find an explanation of the intrinsic sinfulness of contraception. Maybe I just missed it. I hope that’s the case. Humanae Vitae is listed among other Church documents related to marriage, but even its brief description doesn’t mention the “C” word: ”The authoritative encyclical of Pope Paul VI reconfirming the church’s teaching on the purposes of married love, the gift of fertility, and responsible parenthood.”
More of a concern to me were some of the recommended resources. Nothing outrageously bad, but the selections and omissions of some titles concerned me. For example, in the list of the four main books recommended for couples preparing for marriage, the first title was by Dr. Richard Gaillardetz, who is known for pushing the “liberal envelope” in his lectures and writings. The other three titles I hadn’t heard of–one title was actually about how to avoid marrying a jerk. I’m not kidding! Where was that book when my wife needed it?
Seriously, though, as I browsed through the site, I had some real criticisms and concerns. At the same time, there’s plenty there to be affirmed and built upon. And so I pray that this marriage initiative succeeds in carrying out its mission as described by Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville:
“More than ever, in the spirit of Christ’s call and through the example of the Holy Family, we must renew our commitment to spouses and families and inspire those around us to do likewise. Our initiative provides couples with the spiritual and practical tools they need to overcome real-life obstacles, live a committed life and, as a family, be an example for others.”