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We want Church truth on marriage, young Catholics say

By MARY REZAC

Denver, Colo., Oct 5, 2014 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News) - It always bothered Grace Raun when she heard her college classmates saying “nobody waits anymore” for marriage, because she knew it wasn’t true.  

As a practicing Catholic who had been dating the same person for five years, Grace knew all about waiting. But she said following the rules of the Church regarding premarital sex never felt oppressive.

“I waited. I never felt like I didn’t ‘discover myself’ in college just because I was chaste,” she told CNA. “In fact, I felt like I knew myself better, because I wasn’t just looking for simple pleasures, but I was seeking a purpose to my life and the deeper meaning of who I was.”

Grace and Ben Raun may be a cultural anomaly. They waited to move in together until after marriage, and they married before the age of 25, while it is increasingly the norm among millennials to cohabit before marriage and to tie the knot later in life, if at all.
But the Rauns, as well as many other young Catholic couples, believe the Church has something to teach them in regards to marriage that the culture cannot offer.

“Even though our world is becoming more and more infatuated with pleasure and instant gratification, the Church’s teachings on what love is and what family is for has never been in error,” Grace said. “We need her truth now more than ever.”

Bishops in the Church will examine issues of marriage and family at the Synod on the Family, which is set to begin this Sunday, Oct. 5th in Rome. Particularly in the spotlight has been whether divorced and remarried Catholics who lack annulments may receive communion, though the topics at the meeting will reach well beyond that.

The permanence of marriage in the eyes of the Church, while it is something the culture rejects, gives great freedom to couples, said Mitch and Marilyn Klein of Kansas City, Mo.

“It seems that the cultural understanding of marriage has been watered down to the equivalent of shopping. It’s become utilitarian,” Mitch said. “(It’s as if) my spouse is only to bring me happiness and other things that I want, and once that stops, I have the ‘right’ to find someone else to give me what I need or want.”

Marilyn said her mom told her a long time ago that marriage vows made in front of God were not something to be taken lightly.

“When you marry a person, he or she is going to let you down and maybe make you feel like you deserve more or that this wasn’t what you signed up for, and it’s tempting to want to just quit and give up,” she said. “But when you promise Jesus that you’re going to love your spouse…it’s a promise to a faithful, loving God that is perfect, and so it’s much more binding.

“There’s a lot less fear and insecurity when you know your spouse isn’t ever going to leave.”

Many Catholics are hoping the synod will emphasize the sacramental value of marriage.

Chris Stefanick, who has been involved in youth ministry for 14 years and speaks to tens of thousands of young Catholics in the United States each year, said the synod needs to be a light for young people who live in an often misguided culture.

“There is profound confusion among the vast majority of young people about what marriage even is – its sacramentality, its purpose, the significance of the complementarity of the sexes, or even what a vow is,” Stefanick said.

“If the synod doesn't end up focusing first and foremost on these macro issues, I fear it will have will have been very out of touch with the cultural reality young people are facing.”

Father Matthew Eickhoff of the Diocese of Lincoln has spent 20 years helping couples prepare for marriage through retreats called Engaged Encounter. Over time, Fr. Eickhoff said he saw more and more young people fail to fully grasp the sacrament of marriage.

“I think that unfortunately young people do not have as strong of a sense of what marriage and what family really are, by God’s design,” he said. “They look at them more as kind of a means to a personal end, instead of a response to a vocation by God that has significant spiritual ramifications.”

Among young people today, there seems to be two “movements” when it comes to understanding marriage and the family, he said.

“I have seen a strong movement among young couples that are involved with their faith (who have) a more traditional appreciation for and understanding of the family, and are more generous with regard to having children and more conscientious about preparing for marriage as a spiritual vocation,” he said.

“But there’s also a contrary movement in the culture that is claiming many young people as its victims, and those are the ones that consider the Church’s teachings and moral standards a burden.”

Brendon Pond, who is in his second year of working with college students as a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), married his wife Mikayla this summer before moving to North Dakota to serve on a university campus with her.

Brendon said he believes young people need to see examples of sacramental, traditional marriages in order to desire them.

“The unfortunate thing is that our culture is losing the witness of what the fullness of marriage is supposed to be,” he said. “Almost everyone has been directly affected by divorce – whether it’s parents, siblings, aunts and uncles…”

A child of divorced parents himself, Brendon said it was his faith and the example of other faithful Catholic couples that made him desire sacramental marriage, and that attracts other young people to the same.

“Because in the few examples that there are of people living out the beauty and the fullness of the vocation, when people encounter that, they no longer can settle for anything less.”

Young people are looking for marriage to be something more radical than the currently popular cohabitation culture, Brendon added.

“When couples say, ‘Let’s live together to kind of test this out’, you’re taking a small step in the relationship,” Brendon said. “Marriage just becomes another small step after that, because what really changes? Then when things get tough, getting a divorce seems like just taking a small step backwards, because you never actually made that full step or full commitment.”

While some studies have linked cohabitation and divorce, Brendon said regardless of statistics, he has seen that young people are looking for something more.

“They see that if they continue to build relationships in the way the culture is telling them to…that there just has to be more than what the culture has to offer. And you can find that in relationships that are truly founded on the sacrament and truly founded on a Christ-centered marriage,” Brendon said.

“I think young people are done being deceived.”

Past Issues

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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