Amoris Laetitia in Catholic Marriage Preparation

Many discussions and writings extolled the virtues and goodness of the book, with some even classifying it as a “bible” of Catholic Marriage Preparation Course (CMPC), a minimum six (6) week programme that all engaged couples must attend prior to permission to marry in a Catholic church.

Sep 07, 2018

Dear Editor,
The 214-page Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father Pope Francis contains 325 paragraphs. It was addressed to all clergy and faithful. The original Vatican imprint was dated March 19, 2016 and it was reprinted in Malaysia in May 2016. Many discussions and writings extolled the virtues and goodness of the book, with some even classifying it as a “bible” of Catholic Marriage Preparation Course (CMPC), a minimum six (6) week programme that all engaged couples must attend prior to permission to marry in a Catholic church.

Amoris Laetitia provides relevant guidelines and useful readings for practical applications in allowing families and couples to live out enriching, fruitful and sacred Catholic Marriage life.

While it provides general ideas to couples with respect to preparation for a good, enriching Catholic Married life (Chapter 1 to 5), the existing couple packs (1 to 6) contain more detailed discussion and ideas on LOVE as a CHOICE, DECISION and COMMITMENT. The USA styled SIX WEEK couple packs introduced by Fr Chuck as adopted by the Catholic Church (Central Zone) for the last 25 years remain relevant and beneficial.  Perhaps some of the teachings of the Amoris Laetitia can be incorporated into the sharing by the facilitators in presenting CMPC.

The later chapters (Chapter 6 to 9) deal more with living a Sacred Christian Marriage Sacrament and other realities of family life which provide useful references, espe cially in areas of parenthood and spirituality of Marriage and the Family. However, I found the Amoris Laetitia to be Eurocentric and likely prepared from the clerical perspectives.

In paragraph 187, the “Wide Family” does not mention grandparents or the great grandparents at all. The questions of extended family (issues on in-laws), as well as issues and challenges of raising babies (as against older children), have not been explored. In fact, the cover of the Malaysian Reprint exhibit a matured family of a set of grandparents (better) and a set of grown-up children. Why not babies? In fact, the challenges of raising families from the infant stage seem to have been overlooked.

Despite the omissions of certain “Asian” issues etc., the Amoris Laetitia deserves a good comprehensive reading and understanding for one to appreciate the CHOICE families can make to live out fulfilling and Sacred Catholic Marriage and family life amidst the various challenges of the secular world. Couples who come for the CMPC sessions these days are invariably either of mixed faith beliefs or already not very in touch with Catholic belief and faith practice in a meaningful way. The Church (meaning the presenters and the clergy) can seize this opportunity to RE-EVANGELISE them and encourage these couples to rediscover the JOY and meaning of our Catholic faith, rather than to load them with an avalanche of Catholic Theology and mere rhetoric preachings. Edmund Tham Kuala Lumpur

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