Commenting on statistics that show that the average length of marriage in Australia from wedding to separation is nine years, Fr Ryan told the Sydney Morning Herald that "there are probably some people who will have mental lines drawn, so they make that commitment but understand that if things get really hard or they fall in love with someone else then they will revisit that commitment".
The Herald also cites other statistics showing that the number of registered marriages in Australia is in decline, decreasing by 1.5 per cent overall between 2004 and 2005.
Nevertheless, other figures from an ACNielsen survey show that seven out of 10 people around the world believe marriage should last forever, while also finding that 77 per cent of Europeans felt a solid de facto relationship was just as good, if not better, than tying the knot.
According to Fr Ryan, however, it is not possible to predict the marriages that will last.
"I've only been ordained for five years but I know that guys [other priests] older than me say you definitely can't pick it," he says.
"Sometimes the [marriages] you have strong doubts about are the ones that last and the others that seemed like a match made in heaven don't appear to be the case."
For whom the bells toll (Sydney Morning Herald, 14/3/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
WYD Cross at N Korea border (CathNews, 1/3/07)
14 Mar 2007