Preparing Catholics for a good marriage

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Participants at a group discussion.

KUCHING Under the guidance of Archbishop Simon Poh, The Christian Family Life Commission organised a one-day seminar at St Mary’s Room, ACCPC on 2 November to review the Pre-Marriage courses in the Archdiocese.

Forty-eight current and previous course presenters and facilitators participated.

In his keynote address, Archbishop Simon mentioned the sacredness of Catholic marriage which is indissoluble. All life is sacred. There should be no abortion and families should have more children so that the task of looking after aging parents will become lighter as it is shared among the children.

Because of finance being a big issue, the millennials (those born between 1981-1996) are marrying late and have fewer children. The Archbishop requested the participants to design a course best suited to the marrying couples so that they will have blessed families thus becoming a blessing to the church.

In his presentation, Chairman of the Commission, Peter Wong showed statistics of marriage and divorce rates in our region, country, Sarawak, and our archdiocese.

There is a general increase in the number of divorces and separations. The main causes cited differ among the region, state, and country.

Common causes identified are lack of communication, adultery and financial problems. He also reminded participants and parents that marriage preparation should begin at home, to continue in school and only finally at the Pre-Marriage Course before matrimony.

Anthonius Sindang, the Secretary of the Commission gave a very detailed account of the topics covered in Pre-Marriage Courses conducted in English and Bahasa Malaysia in the archdiocese.

He also highlighted the importance of teaching methodology, delivery and presentation skill of the facilitators in imparting knowledge and skill effectively to the participants to obtain a right attitude on marriage.

After lunch, the seminar broke into six discussion groups for an hour-long deliberation before returning to report. Listed below are some of their observances and recommendations:

  • Shocking high percentage of pre-marital sex among the participants of Pre-Marriage Course.
  • That the course should be a flow from “the foundation to love God,” to “the role of Christian families” before acquiring the knowledge and skills.
  • To include the input of the first three chapters of Theology of the Body, and a call to Love.
  • To approach with caution on digital addiction and financial issues.
  • Proposal of some sort of examination at the end of the Pre-Marriage Course to ensure the participants participate fully and take the programme seriously.

In conclusion, the general opinion of the participants of the essential topics, in the order of priority, are: –

  • God and marriage and commitment
  • Finance in marriage
  • Communication and resolving conflict
  • Knowing oneself and the partner
  • Natural family planning
  • Role of husband and wife
  • Parenting
  • Christian sexuality
  • Celebration, Liturgy and Sacrament
  • Morality

The Christian Family Life Commission

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