The German Bishops’ Conference has published a document containing key points for marriage preparation based on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. The German document, released May 7, is intended to be the first module in a series of “building blocks” the bishops are currently developing based on the Pope’s exhortation on the pastoral care of families. His Grace Bishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, president of the bishops’ Commission for Marriage and the Family highlighted that the bishops felt they needed to publish the document because of a lack of emphasis in modern society that marriage requires a commitment to a lasting bond.
As reported by CNS, His Grace Bishop Heiner Koch remarked that “It is important to us that a Christian marriage does not just mean the fulfillment of a compulsory duty but, instead, is an invitation to abundantly live the life that we bind together with the sacrament of marriage. These cornerstones present the values upon which Christian marriage is founded. With them, we take marriage seriously as a vocation and directly approach the diversified situations of people in our society, gather them and accompany them on their common path in life.” The document says, “Not all who wish to marry in the Catholic Church are brought up in the faith. Also, couples are coming to us in which one partner is not Catholic or not baptized. In marriage preparation, we would like to encourage these people of goodwill to embark on a path of development, in which they (re)discover their dignity and mission as baptized people and become incorporated into the sacramental life of the Church.”
The Bishops in the statement highlighted that “The couples should be prepared for the values of a Christian marriage, which is sacramental in the Catholic understanding and based on permanence, loyalty and exclusivity, as well as prepared in regard to their relationship as a couple, and should be accompanied (by the Church) throughout their entire married life.”