Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan recently spoke to the Catholic News Agency about challenges facing the Church in the U.S.

Notice what is the first challenge he mentions:  instability of marriage and family.

“That’s where we have the real vocation crisis,” he remarked, noting that “only 50% of our Catholic young people are getting married.”

“We have a vocation crisis to life-long, life-giving, loving, faithful marriage.  If we take care of that one, we’ll have all the priests and nuns we need for the church,” Dolan said.

I just want to say thank you and amen for shining a spotlight on the crisis of marriage in the Church and noting the relationship between the vocation to marriage and religious vocations.

I’m not sure where that 50% statistic comes from or who it includes.  I’m sure some of that 50% are entirely rejecting the Church’s teachings on sex, marriage, and family in favor of the secular world’s Unholy Trinity of fornication, cohabitation, and artificial contraception.  Some have probably been traumatized by their parents’ divorces and see marriage as something doomed to painful, life-shattering failure.  Some are probably just too immature to think about things like commitment and responsibility.  Some my age have already been married and divorced.

And then a small number of them are probably people like me: faithful Catholics who honor the holy vocation to marriage and indeed desire more than anything to fulfill it–but find it nearly impossible to meet eligible people who would make suitable spouses.  That is, people who actually share our values and beliefs.

In any case, the state of marriage and family within the Catholic Church is pretty much as messed up as in the secular world.  And our bishops and priests don’t talk about it nearly enough.  We need a major wake-up call.  Without strong marriages and families, we’re soon going to be lacking more than religious vocations.  We’re going to be lacking Catholics, period.

On a somewhat related note, I’m very close to signing on with Ave Maria Singles.  It seems to be the best hope for unmarried Catholics who are actually faithful to the Church and actually want to get married and raise faithful Catholic families.  The more I think about it and hear about it, the more I am drawn to it.

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