A leading canon lawyer has welcomed the Government’s decision to ditch a new law that would have recognised pre-nuptial agreements for marrying couples.
Fr John McKeever, administrator of the Armagh Regional Marriage Tribunal, warned that the introduction of pre-nuptial agreements would disfigure marriage.
“It’s important that the truth about marriage is put out there in society as clearly as possible and any introduction of pre-nuptial agreements would be disfiguring or shadowing the truth about marriage, and that it is an indissoluble commitment,” Fr McKeever told The Irish Catholic.
Noting that pre-nuptial agreements appear to be “one area where I think Church and State are actually in agreement”, Fr McKeever said he didn’t see the option of pre-nuptial agreements being put back on the table “in the immediate future”.
“From the Church’s point of view, we would be concerned that prenuptial agreements would give the general impression that it’s acceptable to dissolve a marriage; that it is an agreement that doesn’t last for life.
“Now the State as well has an interest in guaranteeing the stability of marriage.
“The State as well has an interest in keeping the divorce rate down, for the sake of social stability.
“So, both agree that any measure which would lead people to approach marriage in a more casual manner or with any idea of dissolving it eventually is something to be avoided,” he said.
Fr McKeever also insisted the Church has a role to play in presenting a positive vision of marriage in society, noting that pre-marriage courses run by the Church teach that “marriage is for life”.
“It’s a commitment before God that cannot be dissolved with any power except death. So, we are already doing that, we just have to keep doing that and keep supporting couples who make that commitment,” he said.