Page 3, 26th April 1996

26th April 1996
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Page 3, 26th April 1996 — Bishops stress marriage for life
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Bishops stress marriage for life

BY PIERS MCGRANDLE

THE CATHOLIC Church has criticised registry office wedding services for failing to uphold the fidelity of marriage.

His Eminence Cardinal George Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, speaking on behalf of the hierarchy which met last week in Westminster for their Low Week conference, demanded that change is needed in the civic ceremony so that the commitment to life, which is stated in marriage certificates, was included in the vows.

"The only thing you have to say is `Mary, I do take thee to be my wife' he said. A registrar might make a few statements. But he may omit the fact that marriage is for life at the request of a couple".

The Cardinal also urged the Government to reform wedding ceremonies as part of its attempt to strengthen marriage. He claimed that "the complex process in law to end a marriage should be matched by appropriate mechanisms prior to entering a marriage, such as a period for preparation and reflection".

He also urged the Govenment to fund marriage and counselling for those with marital problems, saying "we think we should make the entrance to marriage more difficult and not something that people just drift into".

A MESSAGE OF congratulation was sent to the Queen on the occasion of her 70th birthday. The Bishops expressed their "loyal and affectionate greetings to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her 70th birthday. The Bishops recall with great gratitude the gracious presence of Her Majesty at Solemn Vespers in

The Cardinal added that such preparation would lead to fewer divorces.

The Bishops are seeking to reinforce the Family Law Bill now being debated in Parliament. They said they supported the Bill's proposals to "minimise the distress and damage" of divorce and to abolish "quickie" divorces.

The hierarchy reiterated their belief in the indissolubility of marriage and the Church's opposition to FIND ways of lifting the burden of unpayable debts from the world's poorest countries.

ARCHBISHOP Michael Bowen as new Vice President of the Bishops' Conference, to

succeed Archbishop Worlock.

MESSAGE of support and Westminster Cathedral on the Feast of St Andrew, 30 November 1995, and assure her of the prayer of the whole Catholic community." The Queen's visit to Westminster Cathedral was the first occasion since the Elizabethan Settlement on which a reigning sovereign attended a Catholic service in this country".

divorce. They claim that it demonstrably inflicts great damage on marriage and society, and in the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "is truly a plague on society".

The Cardinal's statements on marriage came in the week that a long-term study into teenage development showed that those who spend more time with their parents, brothers and sisters were those most likely to avoid the

sympathy to the peoples of the Middle East in the midst of the present troubles. CONGRATULATIONS to the Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust on reaching its 40th birthday. WORLD to be rid of "the pernicious evil of antipersonnel mines".

pitfalls of drugs, unwanted pregnancy and unemployment.'The results demonstrate more than ever the effect that divorce can have on family break-up and single motherhood, confirming critics' view of the deleterious effect the break-up of marriage can have on children.

Some of the figures were startling.71% of those who stayed at school after the age of 16 spent most time with their family at the age of 15. A mere 8% of those living with their families at the age of 15 were unemployed at the age of 18. This unemployment figure rose to 24% with those from a single parent family.

The conclusions of the report were a surprise, given the left-leaning credentials of their source the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It was the foundation which last year angered the government with its brutal assessment of poverty in Nineties Britain.

The survey was garnered together from a long-term series of interviews with 1,000 Scottish youngsters being carried out by the government-funded Medical Research Council.

The analysis also showed that the children from all backgrounds benefited from a family background. Youngsters from a working class or impoverished background benefited just as much as those from well-off teenagers spending time with their parents.




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