The Pontifical Council for the Family is working to create a document to guide marriage preparation efforts in dioceses throughout the world. Through it, the council hopes to better inform young couples of what they are asking of the Church when they opt to receive the Sacrament of Marriage.
During a press conference on Friday morning to present preparations for the 2012 World Meeting of Families in Milan, discussion turned to the production of a vademecum, or manual, on the preparation of young people for marriage in the Church.
Bishop Jean Laffitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, explained on Friday that the proposal has come from the need voiced by people working in wedding preparation around the world. Although the council last produced a similar document 15 years ago to confront the theme in the contemporary context, it aims to create a new "pastoral instrument" to aid preparation efforts.
The council, he said, is now working to research and collect information on the theme. It has already compiled 400 existing documents from dioceses throughout the world to examine their work and try to consolidate information from this broad base of experience.
Bishop Laffitte said that they would like to take the "richness" from all of these documents "to make a simple, didactic instrument ... to demonstrate that love deserves to be lived and that preparation for marriage is worth it."
Continuing, the bishop said that "today, it's true that many young people need to be helped to know what they want and what is necessary for them, to know what they are asking of the Church when they wish to receive the sacrament of marriage. It's a privileged moment in which we can help people in a human way, also a privileged catechetical moment."
Bishop Laffitte later expressed hope that the vademecum would be ready for Milan's World Meeting for Families in May, 2012 to make it immediately available to the greatest number of people possible. He further hoped the document that it would be of help to all dioceses and families as an element of structure.
Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, who led the press conference, pointed out that the document will be passed on to bishops all over the world to "attempt to give orientation" to marriage preparation which varies greatly from place to place.
He also said that this is just one of several initiatives currently underway for the Pontifical Council for the Family, others include a study on the family as a subject of evangelization and another on the family as the resource of society.