WASHINGTON (October 17, 2005) – The Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family will take a major step in its work to develop a pastoral letter on marriage when it sponsors a colloquium of social scientists and theologians on October 24-25. The Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University in Omaha will host the colloquium. The theme will be "Promoting and Sustaining Marriage as a Community of Life and Love."
The colloquium is intended for the current and incoming members and advisors of the Marriage and Family Committee. It will bring together several theologians and social scientists in a common search for effective ways to present church teaching and to pursue pastoral ministries.
The theologians and the titles of their papers are: Dr. John S. Grabowski, The Catholic University of America, "Marriage as a Unitive and Procreative Partnership;" Dr. Julie Hanlon Rubio, St. Louis University, "Marriage as a Covenant and Sacrament;" and Dr. Wendy M. Wright, Creighton University, "Marriage as a 'School of Love'."
The social scientists are: Dr. Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, National Marriage Project, Rutgers University, "Patterns and Predictors of Success and Failure in Marriage;" Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox, Institute for American Values, "Seeking a Soulmate: A Social Scientific View of the Relationship between Commitment and Authentic Intimacy;" and Notre Dame Sister Barbara Markey, Ph.D., Family Life Office, Archdiocese of Omaha, "The Lifecycle Stages of a Marriage."
Dr. Michael Lawler, director of the Center for Marriage and Family, will facilitate the colloquium.
The U.S. bishops launched the National Pastoral Initiative on Marriage in 2004 as a multi-year collaborative effort to promote, preserve, and protect marriage, understood as both a sacramental reality and a human institution. In presenting the Initiative, Bishop J. Kevin Boland, chairman of the Marriage and Family Committee, urged the bishops to "to create a positive climate that places healthy marriages at the heart of strong families, a strong nation, and a strong and holy church." The pastoral letter will be the centerpiece of the Initiative, which is also expected to promote parish-based resources to improve ministries to marriage.
Bishop Boland welcomed the colloquium as an opportunity for bishops "to understand the situations in which marriage is lived out today. The colloquium will play a key role in our pastoral initiative by bringing together Catholic teaching on marriage with the latest research from the social sciences."