By: Dr. Gregory Popcak
Pope Francis had some truly inspiring words for married couples in his address given to the Pontifical Council on the Family just a few months ago.
The Catholic Church must help young people understand that marriage isn’t always easy, “but it is so beautiful,” Pope Francis said. “There are problems in marriage: different points of view, jealousies, arguments, but tell young couples to never let the day end without making peace. The sacrament of matrimony is renewed in this act of peace,” the pope said Oct. 25 during a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for the Family. “This path is not easy, but it is so beautiful,” the pope said. “It’s beautiful. Tell them that.” For the Catholic Church, he said, a family isn’t simply a group of individuals, but it is a community where people learn to love one another, share with and make sacrifices for each other and “defend life, especially of those who are more fragile and weak.” The family as a special community must “be recognized as such, especially today when so much emphasis is placed on the safeguarding of individual rights,” he said. “We must defend the rights of this community that is the family.” Defending the family also means defending the basic fact that it is a community founded on the marriage of a man and a woman, he said. “Spousal and familial love clearly reveal that the vocation of the human person is to love one other person forever and that the trials, sacrifices and crises in the life of the couple or the family are stages for growth in goodness, truth and beauty,” he said.
I have to say that this is exactly why Lisa and I wrote Just Married: A Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First 5 Years of Marriage. Our oldest kids are in college and we host a lot of their friends for dinners and other things and we’ve been blessed to have so many conversations with them about their concerns about relationships and marriage. There is so much fear out there and so little confidence among young people that they have what it takes to form healthy marriages that can last a lifetime. Lisa and I are so glad that Pope Francis has offered these words of encouragement for married couples. We hope Just Married will help get the word out about the beauty of marriage and what it takes to make love last.