The word marriage has become “increasingly unmentionable”, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.
During a Mass for married couples at St Columba’s Church in Chester on Valentine’s Day, Bishop Mark Davies said that politicians were growing reluctant to use the word and teachers were too scared to propose traditional marriage as a model for life.
“We cannot fail to observe an extraordinary phenomenon in our own society by which marriage becomes increasingly ‘unmentionable’. Politicians speak of ‘new forms of family’ but often seem afraid to speak of marriage itself. In classrooms teachers, rightly sensitive to the home backgrounds of the children they teach, have often become less ready to propose the model of marriage,” Bishop Davies said.
“We have even heard horror stories of inspectors in schools questioning very young children as to whether they have been taught ‘narrow’ understandings of the family. The Church may well find herself amongst the last voices in society whole-heartedly speaking for the family based on the strong foundation of the lasting, life-giving, faithful union of one man and one woman.”
He continued: “In past decades, Marxists and feminists railed against the institution of marriage as an oppressive structure hindering the march of progress. Today, we know a quieter intimidation urging us to be silent about the immense and necessary good which marriage represents”.
At the Mass last Saturday there were 10 couples celebrating their 25th anniversaries, six celebrating their 30th, 11 celebrating their 40th, 24 celebrating 50 years of marriage, six celebrating 60 years amounting to about 2,500 years of married life between those present.
Bishop Davies encouraged those present to “speak up for marriage”. He said: “In this you speak not simply from your personal experience but from our faith that marriage is God’s plan for the health and happiness of the family and, indeed, for the whole of human society. We speak from both faith and reason when we urge those to be elected to the new Parliament to support marriage against the increasing scale of the breakdown of families which we have witnessed in the past three decades.”