The Pope’s recent comments on marriage are under fire.

Last Thursday, June 16, during the question-and-answer session of the pastoral conference of the Diocese of Rome held at the Basilica of San Giovanni, a person asked Pope Francis the reason for the “crisis of marriage” that exists today, and how Catholics can help the young people to overcome their reluctance to get married, mainly due to their delusions and fears about marriage.

The Pontiff replied that a “great majority” of Catholic marriages are religiously null because people do not understand the concept of a lifetime commitment. People say “yes” but they do not know what they are saying.

In Catholic teaching, marriage is a sacrament. The marriage crisis can be attributed to people who do not know what the sacrament is, says Pope Francis. They do not understand the beauty of the sacrament.

Citing a case in which he heard a young man saying he wanted to become a priest, but just for ten years, Holy Father said that the culture is too provisional. As a result, most of the sacramental marriages are null. A majority of the people say it with good will when they say “yes,” however, they honestly do not understand the long-term commitment that they are making.

When he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he prohibited “shotgun weddingss,” where the bride was expecting. He did it on the ground that there was a question of the free consent of the spouse, to marry.

It is Pope Francis' opinion that the Church today needs better marriage preparation programs. As of now, many of the young couples have a superficial and materialistic approach to their wedding day. For instance, many are obsessed with choosing the right dress, the right church, and the right restaurant.

These comments from Pope Francis drew flak from some of the prominent traditional Catholics. They tagged it as “irresponsible” and said that such a response from the Pope could discourage people from working on their marriage relationships. According to a popular canon lawyer, and blogger, Edward Peters, the potential message that Pope Francis' comments gives a couple who is working on their marriage is that their marriage is already null, so just give up and save everyone a lot of trouble and time.

In the wake of the criticisms, Vatican, last Friday, issued an Italian transcript changing Pope Francis' usage of “great majority” to “some.” A Vatican spokesman justified the change by stating that, sometimes, the Pope's off-the-cuff remarks are edited, after consulting with him or between the aides.

Last April, the Church released a doctrine that stated that the divorced and remarried couples should not be excluded from the Church life. Through the document, Pope Francis urged the priests to be merciful while considering their case to receive communion.

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