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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Real Vocations Crisis: Roman Catholic Church Marriages in Britian Fall by 24 Percent

As I've said before, the dramatic drop in Holy Vocations to Matrimony, Church marriages, and the scandalous number of "divorces" amongst Catholics is the REAL vocations crisis!

From The Telegraph
By Martin Beckford

The number of marriages in Roman Catholic churches in Britain has fallen by a quarter since the start of the decade to just 9,950 last year.

This is a 24 per cent fall on the figure for 2000, when there were 13,029 Catholic marriages across England and Wales.

The rate of decline is twice as fast as the national rate, mainly because the Catholic church does not allow divorcees to re-marry in church.

In total there were 236,980 marriages in 2006 – the fewest since 1895 – but this has only fallen by about 12 per cent since 2000. Only one in three is now a religious ceremony.

The number of Catholic marriages is falling fastest in the diocese of Westminster, covering north London and Hertfordshire, which has seen figures drop by half in recent years, from 1,482 in 2001 to 795 in 2007.

The new Catholic Directory of England and Wales also shows there were 58,991 baptisms of children under seven in 2007, and that 915,556 worshippers attended Mass each week.

Terry Prendergast, chief executive of Marriage Care, a Catholic counselling charity, said: "What is concerning us as a Church is that Catholic marriage is declining more sharply than the rest of the country.

"There has to be some concern as a Church when people are not pursuing sacramental life."

He added that because so many marriages now end in divorce – almost half of newlyweds will end up separating, according to official projections – many Catholics may now be getting married in civil ceremonies or in churches belonging to other Christian denominations.

"It may be the case that the decline of Catholics marrying in church is boosting the national figure because they are marrying elsewhere."

Recently the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, reiterated the importance of marriage for life.

In a letter read out at every Mass, he described marriage as the "clearest example we have of what it means to share your life with another."

Last year the Church of England relaxed its rules to permit couples to marry in churches outside of their home parishes, in a bid to slow the decline in religious ceremonies.

As many as one in six weddings now takes place abroad as brides and grooms try to cut costs and emulate exotic celebrity marriages.

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