A Catholic friend contacted me a few weeks ago in some indignation. Her parish priest had included a picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in a message encouraging young people to think about getting married. But surely it was all wrong to be appearing to hail the forthcoming royal event in any way? Miss Markle, an American, is a divorcee; the union will be adulterous; there is nothing useful to be said.
Well, Miss Markle’s status is certainly problematic. The Anglican communion has no apparent system for discovering the nullity or otherwise of a marriage, and in any case keeps changing its mind about what really constitutes Christian marriage at all; the latest contribution to the debate has been a CofE Synod decision to allow the formal blessing of same-sex unions. Miss Markle’s three-day beach celebration marking her union with a long-term boyfriend culminated in divorce a couple of years later. Did they mean to marry for life? What vows did they make? If she was validly married to him she certainly cannot marry anyone else. But there has been, apparently, no formal assessment or verdict, so we really do not know.
But the wider question is whether or not it is possible to note the forthcoming Windsor jubilations and use them as a way of opening a discussion about matrimony. For an enormous number of young people in Britain, marriage is alien territory, something entirely outside their experience. Their parents are not married, and nor are the parents of most of their schoolmates. Single parenthood, serial cohabitation, messy divorces, intermittent relationships—these form the social background to life for vast numbers of the rising generation.
Read more at Catholic World Report.