The recent experience of the Church in the two Synod Assemblies on the family has shown at once the enduring importance of marriage as a social institution - the bedrock and cornerstone of society - and the crisis facing societies in which the "sense" of marriage as a permanent conjugal union is threatened and at risk of being lost. The Path to Marriage: daring to say 'I Will' through faith offers essential guidelines, emphasizing those aspects of marriage, which most need to be stressed. At the same time, it sets out to use practical questions as a stimulus for further reflection.
The authors, Msgr. Markus Graulich and Fr Ralph Weimann, aim to offer practical recommendations as to how the marriage vows can be lived faithfully and successfully so that the adventure of marriage is not a leap into the unknown but an achievable challenge with the grace of God.
Msgr. Graulich, who currently serves as the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, told us that the first step in helping couples live married life successfully is to bring them into deeper understanding of what they are doing in contracting marriage.
"I was working as a Rotal auditor before I became Undersecretary, and before that, I was a judge in the Vicariate here in Rome - and I always had to deal with marriages that were broken," he explained. "So, talking with [co-author] Prof. [Ralph] Weimann, who is a dogmatician and a bioethics professor, we thought about doing something to prevent marriage failure," he continued, "and how can you prevent marriage failure, if not with a good preparation?"
The book, therefore, is essentially an invitation to deep and prayerful reflection on the meaning of marriage vows - i.e. the public promises a man and a woman make to one another, before God and their fellows in society, which are the real stuff of any and every marriage - and ultimately, of what it means to give one's word, and to keep faith with it.
A slim, powerful volume, The Path to Marriage is written alike for priests and others in ministry preparing couples for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and for couples preparing for the Sacrament.