SAN FRANCISCO — A new group called the Marriage Reality Movement aims to help Catholics and others renew the vision of marriage in society.
“It is about formation for the evangelization of culture, starting around the family dinner table,” Bill May, president of the California-based Catholics for the Common Good Institute, told CNA. “We start by helping people reintroduce marriage to the culture in non-religious language that precisely reflects the teachings of the Church.”
The Marriage Reality Movement launched Sept. 30 in Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families. The organization, which is sponsored by Catholics for the Common Good Institute, aims to build a coalition and promote effective educational materials about marriage.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, gave the keynote speech at the movement’s launch.
The archbishop said people should look for why marriage exists in nature: “to bring new children into the world and unite the man and woman to each other and to those children they bring into the world.”
May said that the concept of “marriage reality” is intended to make a distinction from the understanding of marriage as “merely a committed relationship between committed adults.” The concept of “traditional marriage,” for its part, wrongly implies that marriage is simply a matter of human tradition.
Marriage is “an integral part of God’s creation,” May said.
He said the Marriage Reality Movement aims to promote the human right of children “to be born into a family and to be raised in a family with their mom and dad united in marriage.” It aims to help young people to discover the truth of love, marriage, sexuality and family. The movement also aims to “evaluate every law, institution and curriculum by how well it promotes men and women marrying before having children.”
“The reality of marriage is no longer connected to the word in law and culture,” May said.
The movement aims to develop materials to help people explain marriage in non-religious language to their children and their friends “in ways that they can understand and confirm its truth themselves.”
May advised that people focus on the question of whether society needs “a civil institution that connects kids with their moms and their dads.”
“That phrase expresses the fullness of marriage without using the word,” he said.
May said this approach has been successful with young adults.
“It sets their hearts on fire, because they relate to it. God has stamped in our nature the desire to know. They never thought of marriage this way,” he said. “They’re overwhelmed by the truth.”
“I ask them: ‘Are you glad your mom and dad married?’ Or they’ll say, ‘I wish my mom and dad had married,’” May said.
The movement is still in its initial stages. It is providing marriage educational pamphlets for distribution in parishes or other organizations. The movement’s website also provides other material for study. It encourages people to organize study groups or incorporate the material into Bible studies or other events.