Pope Francis has acknowledged the crisis of marriage in many societies and said Christians can counter this if they start to trust again that Jesus grants grace to married couples. The Pope made this observation speaking to the crowds during his weekly General Audience this morning in St. Peter's Square while continuing his catechesis on marriage and family.

“Let us not be afraid to invite Jesus and Mary to the marriage feast,” the Pope said, “for Christian spouses marry not only for themselves, but for the good of the community and for all of society.”

“Today, society is confronted with fewer marriages," he said, noting, “In many countries, separation of couples is increasing, while the number of children is decreasing.”

These broken marriage bonds, the 78-year-old Pope noted, affect the young most of all, "as they come to view marriage as something temporary."  Perhaps, he went on to say, "there is a fear of failure which prevents men and women from trusting inChrist’s promise of grace in marriage and in the family.”  

In truth, he said, "we know that almost every man and woman desires a secure and lasting relationship, a stable marriage and a happy family.”

Given this, he pointed out that the most effective witness to the blessing of marriage "is the good life of Christian spouses and their families,” God's consecrating of the married couple's love, he stressed, is the 'font' of their peace and fidelity. 

"To make these blessings more evident to the world," the Pope stressed that "the equality enjoyed by the spouses must produce new fruit," such as: "equal opportunities in the workplace; a new valuing of motherhood and fatherhood" and "a greater appreciation for the openness of families to those most in need.”

The Holy Father continued discussing how inequality must be addressed. Specifically, he called for the right to equal retribution for equal work, stressing, "disparity is a pure scandal.”

Nowadays, especially in situations of poverty, degradation and domestic violence, the Pope said, we must demand fairness in these situations, and, in order to benefit the families and children, recognize that the maternity of women and paternity of men are "perennially valid treasures."