Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

Pope's Valentine's Day message to young people: Don't fear marriage

Compiled by Sam Clemence, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Sat, Feb. 15 7:10 p.m. MST

 Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leaves  St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Pope Francis met a group of engaged couples on Valentine's Day and gave them advice for a successful marriage.

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Pope Francis met a group of engaged couples on Valentine's Day and gave them advice for a successful marriage.

(Alessandra Tarantino, Associated Press)

In a Valentine's Day message from the Vatican, Pope Francis encouraged young people in a tweet to get married.

The tweet comes on the heels of a large gathering in St. Peter's Square the same day, where, according to Official Vatican Network, the pope met with 10,000 engaged couples to celebrate the joys of marriage, give advice on how to have a happy and fruitful relationship and encourage those who may be hesitant about taking that step.

"The family is born of this project of love that wishes to grow, as one builds a house that becomes the locus of affection, help, hope and support. Just as God's love is stable and lasts forever, we want the love on which a family is based to be stable and to last forever," the pope said.

He described marriage as "an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey," but also warned that "we must not allow ourselves to be conquered by a 'throwaway culture,’ ” which makes divorce an easy option.

Some of the benefits of marriage that the pope spoke of were documented in a study by the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project in March of 2013.

The study found that the average age of marriage in America is 29 for men and 27 for women.

And while the study examines the pros and cons of marrying later, it did find that married people were more likely to be satisfied with their lives than their single or cohabitating counterparts.

"Thirty-five percent of single men and cohabitating men report they are 'highly satisfied' with their life, compared to 52 percent of married men. Likewise, 33 percent of single women and 29 percent of cohabitating women are 'highly satisfied,' compared to 47 percent of married women," according to the study.

Claudio Lavanga of NBC News mingled with couples gathered in St. Peter's Square where the event had to be moved from an event hall inside the Vatican due to the overwhelming number of people that attended — 25,000 people, married and single from more than 28 countries.

"In a way there is no more appropriate place for lovers to spend the day. Valentine’s Day is named after a priest who was killed in the 3rd century for marrying Christian couples during the Roman Empire," Lavanga said.


1. Wilf 55
Feb. 15, 2014

How credible can the pope be on marriage, heading a church that forbids its clergy to marry?

2. badgergirl
Up North, WI,
Feb. 15, 2014

Speaking as a Catholic-the Holy Father is truly preaching what Christ himself taught, as passed on by God the Father. The holy bonds of matrimony should be celebrated and honored.

3. higv
Dietrich, ID,
Feb. 15, 2014

I don't get celibacy. Cause of reformation. How can a priest counsel a married couple when he can't get married. They do a lot of good but Celibacy is a mistake some founders made some time ago.

4. K
Mchenry, IL,
Feb. 15, 2014

Clergy is married. Nuns are the bride or Christ. Male clergy above deacons are married to the church. It's funny host he average Joe who is married has all sorts of ideas how priests and nuns should live. Deacons can be married at the time of their ordination.

It is a church of married people, singles, and religious. I think a church that requires marriage more limiting.

The founders didn't institute celibacy. The people did to stop church property from being left to heirs and to relatives from running monasteries.

5. Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 15, 2014

No surprise that the Pope would deliver a greeting card on Valentine's Day.

But like all greeting cards, his is long on sentiment and short on logistics. (Don't get me wrong. As Margo Channing says in "All About Eve," "I adore cheap sentiment." So do I, cheap and expensive both. I just don't plot my life on it.)

First, the Pope "encourages" people to get married. Then he cautions us not to take part in our "throw-away society" by divorcing.

Logistically, he should strongly *discourage* people from getting married. This would weed out all those who are "in love with love"--prime candidates for an eventual divorce. And it would leave only those who love each other so deeply that marriage, despite the Pope's discouragement, is the only state that can accurately reflect their love. They'd be prime candidates for never "throwing each other away."

This would include same-sex partners as well. But that, of course, brings forth another of the Pope's greeting cards: a sympathy one.

I think I'll skip the greeting cards except for my Margo Channing moods. I'd rather have real love, and one which lasts.