The proportion of Irish marriages taking place in churches is less important than focusing on helping couples prepare for marriage, according to Bishop Denis Nulty.
Dr Nulty, who is president of the Catholic marriage guidance agency Accord, was commenting on the annual report of the Registrar General, which revealed that while 2014 saw 22,033 weddings in Ireland, an increase on the 2013 figure of 20,670, religious ceremonies now comprise just 68% of Ireland’s weddings, down from 70.5% the previous year.
The statistics, which include 894 marriages solemnised by representatives of secular bodies, as opposed to clergy or civil registrars, may simply reflect how “people are having different kinds of marriage ceremonies in the State that weren’t available before”, Dr Nulty told The Irish Catholic.
“We shouldn’t worry about numbers,” he said. “Our main responsibility is to make sure that those who chose to get married have the best possible preparation, and that we are there as a Church.
“Pope Francis would remind us again and again to accompany people, to roll up our sleeves and accompany them through their lives,” he said, adding that “Our focus as a Church must be on not just one day but a commitment for life”.