By Mary DeTurris Poust
Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany writes an insightful column about the breakdown of marriage in anticipation of the U.S. bishops' upcoming pastoral letter, which will "communicate in contemporary language the Church’s teaching about the beauty, goodness and truth of marriage as revealing divine love."
In the Nov. 5 issue of The Evangelist, Bishop Hubbard writes:
"Last month at our annual Marriage Jubilee Mass, I joined with couples from throughout our Diocese who are observing one, 10, 15, 40, 50, 60 or more years of marriage during 2009.
"It is always such an inspirational and uplifting experience to celebrate with these spouses who offer such marvelous witness to the sacred bond of matrimony, and to the many sacrifices and boundless love which serve as the foundation for this most fundamental human relationship.
"Sadly, fewer and fewer couples are observing these significant milestones, as the institution of marriage and the intact two-parent family is under assault today.
"The adulterous affairs of politicians Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards and Mark Sanford — and the ultimate married couple, Kate and Jon Gosselin of the TV reality show 'Jon and Kate Plus Eight' — only serve to highlight the perilous state of contemporary marriage."
Bishop Hubbard goes on to cite disturbing statistics showing not only rising divorce rates and increased cohabitation outside of marriage, but also a rise in births to unmarried women, which have reached 39.7 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bishop Hubbard continues:
"These startling statistics (and so many others) prompted Time Magazine to feature a cover story on July 13, 2009, written by Caitlin Flanagan. She states: 'There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers’ financial security and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation’s underclass.'
"Flanagan notes that three presidents in a row (Clinton, Bush and Obama) have sought to address the problem of the number of poor who are uncoupling parenthood from marriage.
"The reason for this presidential concern is simple: On every single significant indicator related to short-term well being and long-term success, children from intact two-parent families outperform those from single-parent households."
Read Bishop Hubbard's full column by clicking HERE. And click HERE to go to "For Your Marriage," the USCCB's National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage