In the last 20 years, the number of times the sacrament of holy matrimony has been celebrated by Catholics in Fog City has plummeted by nearly 50% even as the total population of Catholics there has grown by nearly 10%. Something is obviously wrong with this picture, and the Archdiocese is seeking to understand what’s behind this disturbing trend and what it can do to reverse it. I’d welcome comments and theories from everyone on this issue, and in particular those of you who live in San Francisco. What do you think are the reasons for this drop? I have my own ideas, but I’d really like to know what you think.
Archbishop George Niederauer has formed a task force to study marriage preparation in response to a sharp drop in the number of Catholic weddings in the archdiocese.
The number of Catholic sacramental marriages in the archdiocese dropped 47 percent from 1990 to 2010, with 1,985 marriages in 1990 falling to 1,060 marriages 20 years later.
Over the same period the number of Catholics in the archdiocese grew from 395,000 to 444,008.
Father Raymund Reyes, pastor of St. Anne of the Sunset Parish in San Francisco, said the “huge decline” is something priests are struggling to understand.
The task force will examine marriage education with an eye to revamping it, San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy said. Bishop McElroy said the task force is addressing several points raised by a committee of the Council of Priests, an advisory body. The task force will focus on renewing existing marriage preparation programs, making parishes as inviting as possible to engaged couples and making the moment of engagement a substantial time of catechesis for couples.
The task force will address the issues in the context of the diverse cultures of the archdiocese. The group will examine how the growing multiculturalism of the Catholic community plays a role in the trend and how it can be a means for reversing the decline. . . . (continue reading)