Marriage for many co-habitating couples has just become an excuse for a “great party,” the Bishop of Derry has said.
Dr Donal McKeown said marriage used to mark a “hugely significant” transition from the single to married life, but that transition had been devalued.
Speaking at a Mass to mark the Derry Diocesan Pilgrimage to Knock, Bishop McKeown said “our increasingly disorientated modern society” seems unsure about what value it places on marriage.
“On the one hand, what is called ‘marriage equality’ seems to see it as a title that no-one should be stopped from claiming for themselves.
“On the other hand, the term marriage for many no longer has a clear agreed content. It can be temporary, depending on the emotional wishes of the parties.”
Dr McKeown added: “In the past, the marriage ceremony marked the hugely significant transition of two people from being single to becoming a couple.
“Our modern culture tends to suggest that promiscuity is just part of growing up and that the use of pornography is fine.
“In that situation, for many the marriage ceremony marks not a key transition point in people’s lives but rather the time when they have been living together and gathered enough money for a great party.
“Indeed, much evidence suggests that, for some, the marriage ceremony marks a crisis time for some cohabiting couples.”
The bishop also referred to “our emotionally unhygienic culture” telling a “different and destructive story” about marriage.
During his homily in Knock, Bishop McKeown also predicted that next year’s World Meeting of Families will be an opportunity for Irish society to celebrate “relationships, faithfulness and heroism”.