DENVER (AP) — U.S. Roman Catholic bishops began a campaign Wednesday to strengthen the institution of marriage by encouraging spouses to perform simple day-to-day gestures for one another.
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The campaign, a series of radio and television spots, is part of a broader effort to bring a greater Catholic voice to the debate over the meaning of marriage.
The spots show ordinary people in parks and other public places answering the question "What have you done for your marriage today?" The answers — waking up early with the baby, organizing a date night — are meant to promote small acts of kindness as medicine for making marriages last a lifetime.
Missing from the spots is any overt religious message, although they are identified as Catholic and end with an invitation to visit http://www.foryourmarriage.org. The website promises resources for Catholic and non-Catholic couples on everything from conflict resolution to finances.
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Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, a member of the bishops' committee on marriage and family life, said the spots deliberately avoid religion to reach a wide audience.
Now we’re moving in the right direction. For a long time it seemed like modernizing forces and religious forces were diametrically opposed to one another. Asking for marital help was an admission that your marriage needed help. But in our touchier-feelier culture it’s OK to ask for help. Some ‘conservative forces’ have appeared to agree with that sentiment. But they don’t want to drop that on their constituents all at once. They look to be mid-wifing their people through this. Texas has insisted on pre-marriage courses and pre-divorce mediation. And the American Catholic church is doing the same. They may be motivated to make conventional marriage more awesome to combat gay marriage and cohabitation. Either way, going out of your way to be nice to your spouse is a good policy. Way to go Catholic bishops. If you keep up these good ideas you can maybe win some converts. Or get twice-a-year Catholics to come to church a little more frequently.