The Courtship Colloquium: Courtship: A Journey toward the ‘Love that Moves the Stars’

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The Courtship Colloquium: Courtship: A Journey toward the ‘Love that Moves the Stars’

April 3, 2009

As the strength of marriage has waned significantly over the past four decades, some have begun to ask whether its current infirmity is due to causes that precede the “walk down the aisle.” How have young people been prepared for the demands of marriage? What kind of education has taken place (or not) in view of an enduring and fruitful marriage? The generation now in its 30s has been called the “Odyssey Generation” because it has no (and has been given no) sense of where it is headed. Unlike for Odysseus, home (marriage, children) was never written into the substance of this generation’s adolescent journey. An eventual marriage—with children perhaps—may come (indeed may even be desperately desired by this generation, at the end of its prolonged wanderings), but it was never an integral ingredient of the “script” in the first place, and so has not been prepared for in a conscientious way. Its status, needless to say, is tenuous.

The “Courtship Colloquium” was a dialogue among faculty from the JPII Institute, the Center for Cultural and Pastoral Research, and scholars and practitioners working in such fields as sociology, cultural history, theology, and public policy. Its purpose was to explore the importance of courtship in relation to the formation of successful marriages and a marriage-supporting culture. Based upon a series of common texts (see Bibliography of Selected Readings), participants in the colloquium discussed the role of courtship historically, factors leading to its decline, reasons for its enduring value, and the now urgent need for an education of the young in eros, that is, a readiness for the “call to love” in one of the two states of life and a capacity for the total gift of self that a fruitful and happy life in those vocations require.

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April 3, 2009
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