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Rome Reports

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How marriage can truly be “happily ever after”


Morality and ethics have been given a negative reputation when relating to relationships and love. In the words of St. John Paul II, “Freedom cannot be understood as a license to do absolutely anything: it means a gift of self. Even more: it means an interior discipline of the gift.” 

Pope Francis has also written about sacrificial love, especially the love characterized through marriage. 

FR. ROBERT GAHL
Ethics Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

"Pope Francis says right at the beginning of the apostolic exhortation, 'Amoris Laetitia,' he says that it's a continuation of the tradition of the Church. He's teaching what the Church has always taught, but he's really trying to challenge people in this special period in history to go deeper in their relationships. He's also helping people whose relationships have fallen apart and they've gotten into new relationships, to find the Gospel anew and come back to the sacraments.”

Thus, the morality and guidelines offered by the Catholic Church on marriage and love are meant for unity, true freedom and as a witness of faith for the world. 

FR. ROBERT GAHL
Ethics Professor, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross

“Ethics is really about what a flourishing life should look like and what happiness looks like, so really, ethics is all about love. That's why the relationship between a man and a woman, a young man and a young woman, who are in a relationship and discerning, thinking about getting married, they are thinking about really falling in love, they are beginning to fall in love, is a really fascinating area to study.”

Professor Gahl asserts that when one falls in love, he or she comes to understand more about others and themselves through self-sacrifice, reaching a new level in their vocation. 

FR. ROBERT GAHL
Professor of Ethics, Holy Cross Pontifical University

“We should be able to say about married couples that 'they live happily ever after,' that their life is one of joy, but that it passes through periods of suffering. Those periods of suffering are like a testing period, a period in which they can prove and demonstrate their love and their love becomes more mature.”

Just as there are always obstacles to overcome in any story, Pope Francis explains that true love demonstrates “a certain dogged heroism, a power to resist every negative current, [and] an irrepressible commitment to goodness.” 

As Professor Gahl asserts, it turns out “happily ever after” does exist.