If you've got a good reason for divorce -- adultery, abuse, addiction or abandonment -- fewer than one in four Americans would call that a sin, a new LifeWay Research survey finds.
"We as a church are not appropriately meeting the needs of couples in their marital journey, particularly in light of the serious challenges facing couples and families in today's culture."
When marriage is considered mainly as a way to satisfy one's need for affection, people feel free to define marriage however they want, Pope Francis said.
"Unfortunately, such a reductionist idea influences the mentality of Christians as well," leading some to see separation or divorce as a simple solution when problems arise, the pope told the bishops of Latvia and Estonia.
As the institution of marriage faces unprecedented challenges, the Catholic church continues to promote and defend marriage as being between one man and one woman, said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.
As chairman of the bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Cordileone gave bishops at their spring general assembly in St. Louis an update on the U.S. Supreme Court's impending decision whether same-sex marriage should be made legal nationwide as well as related public policy and the church's catechetical efforts.
In 2013, more than 154,000 Catholics married in the church. For many, the decision is simple, the process smooth. But not all couples share that experience.
Couples who are seeking to marry, even those who have lived together, should value their engagement period as a time to grow in mature love and in profound knowledge of each other, said Pope Francis.
The pope urged couples not to rush into marriage. Maturation in love before marriage is a slow process, in which none of the steps should be skipped, Pope Francis told people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.
"The covenant of love between a man and a woman, a covenant for life, cannot be improvised; it cannot be done from one day to the next," he said.
Grace on the Margins: As we head toward the next synod, it would be wise to note how strongly the pope privileges heterosexual marriage.
"Why is it expected that women must earn less than men? No! They have the same rights. The disparity is a pure scandal."
The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called same-sex marriage "the greatest social experiment of our time" and said that "children do not need experiments," but rather the love of a mother and father at the third annual March for Marriage rally Saturday supporting traditional marriage on Capitol Hill.