Catholic church says couples need three years of marriage training

Catholic church says couples need three years of marriage training

Catholic church says couples need three years of marriage training on subjects including ‘the beauty of sexuality’ before tying the knot in new drive to slash divorce rates

  • Catholic couples currently complete 20 hours of lessons to prepare for marriage
  • But the Spanish Episcopal Conference extended the programme to last 2-3 years
  • Named On The Path Together, the voluntary course is split into 12 training areas 
  • It is designed to bring down Spain’s divorce rate which has risen 32% in 25 years

The Catholic church in Spain has offered couples three years of marriage training on subjects including ‘the beauty of sexuality’, in a drive to bring down the country’s high divorce rates.

Currently, Catholic couples complete 20 hours of lessons ahead of their marriage, but the Spanish Episcopal Conference has now unveiled a voluntary course lasting two to three years.

The institution announced the course, named On The Path Together, on Thursday. It is split into 12 areas, including ‘the beauty of sexuality’, ‘conflict resolution’ and ‘fidelity’.

Catholic couples in Spain have been offered a two to three year long marriage course, which includes training on subjects such as ‘fidelity’ and ‘conflict resolution’ (file photo)

According to The Guardian, one of the deleted paragraphs in the original guidance on the institution’s website said the man should ‘make a bigger effort’ and ‘take on certain tasks’ on days when he wants to have sex, and advised the woman should ‘rest’ and ‘free herself up’ from certain work tasks. 

But a spokeswoman for the Spanish Episcopal Conference reportedly said: ‘We checked our material and we couldn’t find it.

‘It’s not there. As we said in the press conference, these are constantly changing texts that need to be constantly updated as new issues are added.’ 

The training also advises against pornography, warning it can become addictive. 

According to reports Monsignor Mario Iceta, the Bishop of Bilbao, said 20 hours is not enough time for couples to prepare for marriage, and the training was designed to ‘prevent’ high divorce rates. 

He said: ‘According to the statistics, 40% of marriages break down within five years and 60% within 15 years – and that’s what we’re here to prevent.’

It comes as a report from the Marriage Foundation reveals divorce figures in Spain have risen by 32 percent in 25 years, between 1992 and 2017. Meanwhile, Britain was shown to have the fastest falling divorce rate in Europe. 

Researchers found that nearly a third of UK couples who married in 1992 had divorced within 15 years.

 British divorce rates are on course to undercut those in Germany, which have dropped by an estimated five percentage points over the past quarter century (file photo)

 Harry Benson, research chief of the Marriage Foundation, said Britain ‘clearly leads Europe’, contrasting with Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, and Belgium (file photo)

But the divorce rate in this first decade and a half is now expected to drop below a quarter – marking the fastest fall in Europe.

It contrasts with a rising likelihood that marriages will fail in countries including Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, and Belgium. 

British divorce rates are on course to undercut those in Germany, which have dropped by an estimated five percentage points over the past quarter century, and in Switzerland, which have fallen by six points in that time.

Harry Benson, research chief of the Marriage Foundation which carried out the study, said: ‘Our analysis provides the most accurate picture of European divorce rates ever seen.

‘We have long claimed that lower divorce rates in the UK are due to the relaxation of social pressure to marry. The result is that those who do marry are more committed and hence more likely to stay together.

‘We are just beginning to see this trend ripple across Europe in the earliest years of marriage. But over the first 15 years of marriage, Britain clearly leads Europe.’

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