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The lighter side of marriage prep
July 12th, 2016
By Ed and Peg Gleason

Re “Pope: Many couples do not see marriage is for life,” June 23:

We agree with the story on Pope Francis calling many Catholic marriages null because of a lack of sacramental intent.

My wife and I did 2,500-plus marriage preparations over 25 years. We agree with Francis: A sacramental marriage needs intention. And many, many don’t.

My wife, whom everyone confides in, has kept track of the many spoken reasons for “marriage in the church” all-too-often spoken in marriage prep. Percentages are for humor.

1. Grandma won’t attend if it’s not in church: 8 percent

2. Golly gee, we are “doing the church thing” because we are Italian, Irish, Polish, etc.: 9 percent

3. We want the church venue because daddy’s American Legion Hall is tacky: 5 percent

4. We want a pretty church for the pics and video (Sts. Peter and Paul in San Francisco) where Joe DiMaggio was married: 15 percent

5. The church is only two blocks from the reception place and we can use church parking: 20 percent

6. No long Mass, as our friends want to party: 10 percent

7. We really want it in the park but San Francisco is too rainy/foggy to plan: 5 percent

8. My uncle priest coming from Chicago insists on a church: 3 percent

We gave up marriage prep in 2000 when during the faith session we had the couples break into couple groups to discuss “how are we going to pass on the faith to children?” The first group reported that “we will let the nuns do it.” Other groups said that was their idea, too. I started yelling that there will be no nuns for their children five years from now. My wife said to me, “You’re done we’re done.”

Francis is easy to talk too so he knows about sacramental intent; some bishops are not so easy to talk too so they have not heard goofy reasons for marriages.

Our work in Retrouvaille mirrored Francis’ caution on marriage because of pregnancy. The yelling of “you married me because I was pregnant” can last about 30 years or a lot sooner.

Ed and Peg Gleason
San Francisco

The writers are members of St. Boniface Parish.


From July 14, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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