Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Devil in Marriage Preparation

I’m working on a group that is preparing a new marriage preparation programme. It’s going really well, but I have been very interested in one difference of opinion. Some of us, including me, believe that as part of the programme, we should mention that Satan hates marriage and will attack it. We believe people should understand that it is a spiritual battle they are engaged in. Others are very concerned about this, and feel that we risk alienating people or instigating fear.

As readers of this blog will know, I do not like the culture of fear: but that is partly because we are taught to fear the wrong things (social disapproval, or remote risks, for example) rather than those things we should fear: sin and evil.

But also I believe that without a proper understanding of Man’s fallen state and the reality of spiritual warfare, we cannot make sense either of our own struggles, or of Our Lord’s triumph and what redemption means.


George Carmody said...

Perhaps the other members of the group are afraid that mentioning the devil at all will put some people off. They could be right. Talk of Satan reminds many of the "bad old days" that we've left behind. But if people intending to get married as Catholics don't believe in the devil, or find mention of him uncomfortable, what are we to think of their intentions as Catholics?

Ben Trovato said...

Yes, we're in difficult times: we can't assume any proper Catholic formation in the people we are preparing. Our bishop is quite clear he wants the new marriage prep course to be much more Catholic than its predecessor, which was the kind of thing any secular agency could have run. But quite how much one can cover in a short series of meetings is a tough consideration.

My view remains that it is a false charity not to scare people by concealing the tough stuff from them...