Vatican releases new plan to better prepare couples for marriage

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The new pastoral guidelines for marriage published by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life place married couples with years of experience in the center of the marriage preparation process. 

For example, the Dicastery recommends that they be paired with newlywed couples to share their experiences with them and help other couples in crisis. 

Under-Secretary, Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life

It is necessary for seasoned married couples to have a strong presence in the lives of other couples – especially those experiencing difficulty. This is important to create a foundation of mutual trust and respect in the relationship.

The document also encourages priests to seek advice from experienced couples in carrying out their pastoral work. 

Under-Secretary, Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life

Especially during this pastoral journey, it is important to give value to the complementary co-responsibility between vocations in the Church. It is here, in the preparation for marriage that, together with priests, the experience and competence of married couples can contribute to a more adequate accompaniment for today's couples.

But, above all, the new pastoral guidelines establish a formation itinerary for couples in all stages of their relationship.

Moving from one stage to another is marked by a rite that takes place in the parish community. However, the Dicastery says it is important that engaged couples feel free to leave the relationship at any time, if necessary.

Undersecretary, Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life

Because sometimes, for example, it is enough that these rites, such as the blessing of the bride and groom or the giving of the Bible, are not done in a public way. Many small gestures can be made to mark growth, an evolution in the journey, but sometimes it is enough to do it privately or without involving the families of the bride and groom. In this way, the couple will be able to freely continue their discernment.

Following Pope Francis' call to offer new formation opportunities to couples, the document provides a more in-depth pastoral plan for marriage preparation and counseling. 



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