Sex good, love great, bishops say

While the UK Church advises people to pray to the Archangel Raphael - the patron saint of "happy meetings" - to find love, Australia's bishops in their Valentine's Day message say that sex is good and love is sacred.

The UK Telegraph reports that the British Catholic Enquiry Office is suggesting that, rather than enduring rounds of speed dating to find a partner, people could pray to St Raphael, one of seven archangels who appears in the Old Testament Book of Tobit.

According to the Office, St Raphael, who comes to the aid of a woman called Sarah in the bible and sets her up with her spouse Tobias, has been a spiritual friend to generations of singles.

"Many people have testified to the help they have received in finding a life partner through the prayerful help of the archangel," said Monsignor Keith Barltrop, CEO director.

"At this time of year, significant numbers are seeking someone special, or maybe dealing with recent heartbreak. Saint Raphael is there to help."

"If something is for our good and happiness, then God will answer our prayers as we ask," Monsignor Barltrop told the paper.

Meanwhile, Port Pirie Bishop Eugene Hurley, who chairs the Bishops' Commission for Pastoral Life recommends a recently issued booklet entitled Marriage in the Catholic Church: frequently asked questions.

"On St Valentines Day, perhaps more conspicuously than some other days, we are surrounded by couples expressing their love for each other," Bishop Hurley said.

"This booklet can help men and women to take that next exciting step towards making their love exclusive, life-long and sacred, in marriage.

"Its simple, question and answer format which touches on all of the big questions surrounding marriage in the Catholic Church has been exceptionally popular. Couples can take time together to read through the booklet and discuss the issues raised."

The booklet asks questions such as "Why does marriage matter so much to the Church?", "Does the Church really believe that sex is good?" and "Does getting married really add anything?".

It also touches on issues such as contraception, living together before marriage and offers tips for strengthening a marriage and for getting through difficult times.

Love and Marriage - popular booklet answers questions about marriage in the Catholic Church (Media Release, ACBC, 13/2/07)
Valentines told to look to archangel for love (UK Telegraph, 13/2/07)
Bangkok Youth Celebrate Love On 'Crazy' Valentine's Day (UCA News, 13/2/07)
10 clues to avoid love�s big blunder, 10 ideas to special Valentine�s Day (Catholic Online, 13/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Life4seekers (UK Catholic Enquiry Office)
Marriage in the Catholic Church, Frequently Asked Questions (ACBC) - PDF
Australian Family Association
Marriage and Family Office - Sydney archdiocese
John Paul II Institute for Marriage & Family

Pell sets up office for Marriage and Family (CathNews, 14/2/06)

14 Feb 2007

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