PRESS TRIBUTE TO CATHOLIC GUIDANCE CLASSES
S0 spectacularly auccessful have been Catholic marriage courses in Canada that the secular Press is now reporting a big drop in separation and divorce figures wherever they have been run.
Sponsored by Fr.. Albert Sanschagrin and the Montreal Young Christian Workers, it teaches the Catholic principles and practice of happy and full Catholic marriage in 15 weekly lessons.
First tried out in 1939 on 100 Montreal couples who did not know they were "test" cases, it pulls no punches and lays doctrine and practice right on the line.
(Not one of those 100 couples, who received the Sacrament of marriage at a mass-marriage, has since broken up or been seriously unhappy.) Y.C.W. were backed in their efforts by the University of Ottawa run by the Oblate Fathers. Two years of research by lecturers, theologians, psychologists and doctors produced the course in its present form.
Its main value seems to be its frank, no " beating-about-the-hush"
handling of thorny questions. Examples of its teaching have been widely quoted front the course's textbook in the Canadian Press from time to time.
On courtships it says: " Most are too long. They should he serious, faithful and short (not longer than a year) . familiarities before marriage cheapen love, blunt the taste, and may well cause the destruction
of the future home .. both should • have a complete medical examination before the wedding and should exchange medical certificates."
On honeymoons: " A honeymoon is indispensable in starting the marriage off right. Do not go to a large city, but to a quiet peaceful spot where you can be alone." The textbook goes on to give clear advice on the physical as well as the spiritual aspects of marriage.
On the wedding: "Have the best and most elaborate wedding you can afford. You only do it once and it is important for your future happi ness that you do it rightly . . it is important that you have a house or some place of your own to live, even if it is only one room, ..
" Parents should always be ready to help if called upon but should never interfere."
On finances: " Live within your income but do not economize too much . .. the wife should not have to account for every cent of the housekeeping budget."
On mutual understanding: "the cause of most misunderstanding is due to the fact that the husband judges his wife as he would judge another man, while the wife judges her husband as she would another woman."
The Marriage Preparation Course has gone to 56 other countries and is put out by Ottawa University in 43 languages, giving yearly refresher courses for married couples which end with a renewal of marriage vows.