With the wedding season in full swing, Pope Francis used the occasion this week to warn couples not to marry too quickly, while reaffirming the Vatican’s opposition to gay nuptials.
Addressing crowds of followers at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff urged couples to take their engagements seriously.
“Betrothal is, in other words, the time in which two people are called to work on love, a shared and profound task,” he said.
Francis said the engagement period should be used as a time for couples to get to know each other better.
“Those who wish to attain everything immediately also give up on everything straight away at the first hurdle,” he said.
The pontiff likened engagement to a kind of marriage “initiation” and criticized people who don’t make an effort to become close to each other.
“Many couples stay together for a long time, also intimately, at times living together, without truly knowing each other,” he said.
Without mentioning Ireland’s approval last week of a same-sex marriage referendum, the pope described marriage as “the alliance of love between a man and a woman.”
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, was more direct.
He described the referendum result as “a defeat for humanity.”