At a speech in Ancona, Italy, on Sept. 11, Pope Benedict XVI said priests and married couples must recognize how both have a vocation that flows from the Eucharist. He called on married couples and priests to support one another in the complementary vocations of marriage and the priesthood. According to Pope Benedict, priesthood and marriage are states of life that "share the same root in the love of Christ." Priests and married couples "are called to a common mission — to witness to and make present this love … in order to build up the people of God."
The pope invited married couples to love and be supportive of priests, who in turn should "encourage married couples … and help them to renew continually the grace of their marriage." The pope advised priests to "be welcoming and compassionate" toward couples "who find it harder to fulfill the commitments taken on with the bond of marriage and to all those who, unfortunately, have failed in it." Priests and married couples must support each other in living out their vows, he said.
The pope encouraged engaged couples to use their preparation for marriage as a time of spiritual growth and maturity. Engagement, he said, is a time "to discover the beauty of existing for and being precious to someone, being able to say to each other, ‘You are important to me.’"
"Love requires a process of maturation starting from initial attraction and feeling good with the other" to learning to give of oneself, sacrifice for and respect the other, the pope said.
According to the pope, "Every human love is a sign of the eternal love that created us and whose grace sanctifies the choice of a man and a woman to give themselves to each other for life in marriage."Tags: Catholic Marriage, Holy Orders