Marriage could disappear altogether


Marriage rates are declining. Marriage could disappear altogether, says an English Catholic bishop.

The social consequences that the shrinking number of marriages is causing are not good, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury says.

Speaking at a diocesan Mass celebrating marriage, Davies praised the congregation which was composed of married couples.

Between them, they have amassed “1,275 years of marriage faithfully lived.”

This is an “incalculable good,” he said.

“It is hard to imagine – in little more than half a century the promises you made, the vocation you embraced, would become more and more exceptional,” he continued.

“So exceptional in these early years of this 21st century that most recent statistics show a 61 percent decrease of marriages in our land …”.

That amounts to the lowest number of couples entering marriage for almost two centuries, Davies said.

It’s also “the first time in our history that more children are born outside of marriage than in a married home,” he added.

The consequences of the collapse of marriage in the UK will have an effect on the country, he said.

“The headlines do not seem to exaggerate when they speak not merely of a cataclysmic decline but of marriage disappearing in Britain.”


Davies then spoke optimistically to the couples in the congregation of the hope Christian marriage offers.

“At a moment in our history when marriage is increasingly being lost sight of, the witness you have given … is no small thing and today shines out more and more brightly.

“The Christian vocation of marriage stands out as an invitation to new generations to believe and set out along the same path …”

That vocation enables couples “to have the courage to make the same awesome promises, to build a stable and loving home for their children by their very faithfulness … and bring them to old age together.”


The UK Office of National Statistics says in 2021 there were 113,505 divorces granted in England and Wales.

That accounted for a 9.6% increase in divorces compared with 2020 when there were 103,592.

The Marriage Foundation – a research body – also reported its own statistics.

The Foundation says during the Covid pandemic in 2020, a temporary ban on weddings and tight restrictions in England and Wales saw the number of marriages collapse by 61 percent, the sharpest fall in any country in Europe.

It also says in 2012, By the time children were 14, 46 percent were not living with both biological parents.

The Shrewsbury diocese says the Marriage Foundation research consistently confirms that marriages between men and women are inherently more stable and enduring than any other form of relationship.

Despite this finding, the Foundation notes that UK government family policies focus on providing childcare and encouraging all parents into work, instead of supporting marriage.


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