Over at Dalrock’s, in response to a post about the Roman Church’s broad and slick annulment practices, commenter CerrilanAufen wrote:
One thing that hasn’t been discussed here on this blog (that I’ve seen) is that Catholic priests are supposed to personally council couples considering marriage.
(For the sake of discussion I am assuming this is considered to be true. My Roman Catholic readers can correct us in the comments if it’s not.) Regardless, I know this same shirking of responsibility and misapplication of blame is at work in non-RCC churches and really everywhere in America.
For example, my Anglican churches assume every problem can be solved by convening a new committee which will then institute a new program to tackle it. Coincidentally, every problem is considered to be a New Problem even when it is actually an old problem. That way no one has to repent, hold anyone accountable, or have an uncomfortable conversation. No one has to hurt anyone’s feelings, or risk the perception of being Not Nice.
Here’s another example from outside of the ecclesial world. It is assumed by everyone but teachers that the problem with public schools is a failure of teachers to “reach” their pupils. If a student hits another student, it’s a teacher’s failure. Students who refuse to do their schoolwork are assumed to be under the sway of a poor teacher. And so on and so forth.
These are actually problems with parents and their children. We blame priests, pastors, teachers, etc. because we don’t want to accept responsibility. So we construct bureaucracies to allow us to perpetually shuffle the blame around instead of believing that God knew what He was doing when He gave those kids to those parents.
It’s a world ruled like a daycare.
“That way no one has to repent, hold anyone accountable, or have an uncomfortable conversation. No one has to hurt anyone’s feelings, or risk the perception of being Not Nice.”
If you’re willing to offend God in order to avoid offending another person, the person you’re unwilling to offend is your god.
Who does not substitute some plan or programme or method, some new thing, some new ‘interpretation of the truth,’ some movement or task, which gives us less to create but more to do, less to ponder but more to undertake, than does the righteousness of God? (Epistle to the Romans, p. 373)
Catholics opting for sacramental marriage recognized by the Roman Church must attend Pre-Cana marriage preparation. See https://infogalactic.com/info/Pre-Cana
Token Catholic here.
To be married in a Catholic Church, you must attend Pre-Cana and most dioceses also require a minimum of 3 meetings with the officiating priest, usually around 2 hours each. Some individual priests require more. My wife and I had to fill out these quiz-like things separately but in front of the priest on our first meeting. The questions were things like, “Have you and your fiancé agreed on the number of children you want to have,” “Have you formed a plan for managing your household finances, and who is in charge of them,” etc. The priest goes over the answers with the couple together and the three of you talk about any discrepancies. Our priest told us there have been couples he has refused to marry based on the results of the quizzes.
Pre-Cana is more of a seminar format, where engaged couples gather and listen to talks by married laity, followed by Q&A, prayer, and Mass. The topics are Church teachings on certain subjects, presented as examples of real-life practical application and wisdom.
I used to read your blog back when I was a regular manosphere reader (mistake) and trying to figure everything out wrt women and men. I came back to hunt down one of your old posts for a friend and was pleased to see you’re still writing.
Being recently married (<3 yrs) in the Catholic Church, I can add to what the other Catholics have said about Pre-Cana. We met extensively with the priest, took a FOCCUS "test" similar to what redpillcatholic mentioned, which had questions ranging from faith to children to money, and finally went on a day retreat at a nearby church led by married laity and some folks from the diocese.
The whole process took over six months and was formal but also intimate and productive. I felt like we were being prepared rather than jumping through hoops/filling out bureaucratic paperwork–which there was still a lot of. I can vividly remember filling out paperwork with the priest and being asked whether or not we were marrying each other fully and freely: the priest said, "If you answer Yes, you can't get an annulment later!" (And if you say no, you're not getting married)
As an aside, one of the big highlights and surprises of the retreat for me was the emphasis it gave to NOT cohabitating and the detailed and persuasive arguments presented by married couples who had lived together before marriage. And much like your question about counseling, I don't know if it is happening or not but I was told that the presiding priests are also supposed to mandate a six month period of separation for couples who are living together.