In 1978-1979 I taught one year in an Elementary school close to Philadelphia. I had 23 students; of those 23 students only one of them was a product of a separation and divorce. I noticed, that this boy had emotional problems, lesser ability to concentrate and performance level was lower than the other 22 children.  Contrast that scenario to the situation in the modern world. Some studies have calculated the divorce rate has soared to a level that is stupefying: close to 60% of marriages ending in divorce!  Now we are talking about 33 years ago!!!!

This being the state of affairs,  what are the principal reasons for so many marriages and families being rent asunder and children growing up with gaping emotional wounds that they unfortunately will carry into their own adult years. Let us take a look!

1. COHABITATION.  It has become a plague, epidemic that has spread throughout the world to a shocking degree, the couples that start to live together.  Interesting names are coined for this dangerous living-arrangement:  " Shacking up together", and "Trial marriage", "Partner living arrangements".   This decision militates against the whole christian understanding of marriage. Marriage is supposed to be permanent, open to having children, faithful until death do they part.  Living together in cohabitation has no permanent commitment, often is based on lust and selfishness, and children often are avoided through sinful means!

2. GAY AGENDA.  The Homosexual movement fights tenaciously to promote their cause. If they lose one battle, they come back to fight harder.  Their purpose is to radically transform the traditional definition of marriage of existing between man and woman.  With this living arrangement some actually adopt children and presume to raise these little one in a "normal and loving" manner.  As followers of the Bible, the Word of God, and disciples of Jesus Christ, we must do all in our power to hold back this tidal wave of immorality that seeks to undermine the Judeo-Christian value system and the family at large!

3.  PREMATURE COURTSHIPS.    Another phenomena that menaces the future of the family and the society at large, is the allowance of young children-- middle school children and early teens-- to form a courtship. Disaster!  Across the board, this has proven to be a tremendous calamity!  Teen pregnancies, abortions, children having children, living together at such a tender age. Then little children being brought up and raised without the support of two parents! Parents must encourage their children to wait for the right time, place, and person and not rush into an emotional bond that proves catastrophic!

4.  POOR PRE-MARITAL PREPARATION.  Unfortunately, too often, couples that are preparing for marriage receive a very superficial, inadequate, anemic preparation for the most important decision in their life: choosing their future spouse, family, and children.  An analogy can be given between the priesthood and the  married state. Both are permanent, both are sacraments designed for service; one  towards the family, and the other towards the church. Also, in both cases one is in  this vocation until death.   If a priest must prepare close to 7 years and sometimes even more, should not a couple preparing for the Sacrament of marriage dedicate time, effort, study and much prayer for this sublime vocation that leads to bringing new life into existence!

5.   VERTICALISM OVER HORIZONTALISM!  Most marriages fail for the simple reason that God is not at the center of the marriage.  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote a book on marriage with the title:  IT TAKES THREE TO GET MARRIED.   The three in the equation is John and Mary and JESUS....  Jesus must be the cohesive "Superglue" that holds the marriage and family together.  The best of efforts, keen intelligence, fluid conversation and dialogue, looks and beauty, charm and wit--- all of these can only get you so far. It is only a mutual love for JESUS that supports the couple to resist the earthquakes, calm the storms, and ride the tide of tension, frustrations and anger that  can rip marriages asunder!

  Prayer for the Family:  "O God, who were pleased to give us a shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. Through our Lord  Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. "   (Collect for the Mass of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph)