Church to introduce tighter vetting for weddings
Couples who want to be married in a Catholic Church face more rigorous vetting to ensure that they are fully committed to their faith.
And Catholic bishops will also introduce tighter controls of Mass cards to end rogue trading.
At the end of their autumn meeting in Maynooth, Co Kildare, the heads of Ireland's 26 dioceses announced that they have drawn up new marriage-preparation regulations for implementation in each diocese.
The document, "Criteria for Pre-Marriage Courses for the Sacrament of Marriage" aims to improve the quality of pre-marriage preparation.
"These criteria are intended to ensure that the full richness of the church's pastoral care for marriage is promoted and built up," a statement from the bishops said last night.
Bishops decided that any programme of preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage should reflect, both in its content and process, the Christian understanding of marriage and promote a positive attitude towards marriage.
"Bishops hope that these criteria will be understood as an opportunity for all providers of courses of preparation for the sacrament of marriage to strengthen their participation in the church's important work of supporting and strengthening pre-marriage preparation," they said.
The bishops also discussed tighter controls of Mass cards to end rogue trading.
They plan to publish support information to prevent abuses, and they will ask priests to review personal and parish procedures to ensure that they are fully compliant with the provisions of canon law.
"It is important to be particularly vigilant to ensure that people's good faith in asking to have a Mass offered for a particular intention would not be exploited by others for profit," they said.
"Appearance of trafficking or profit-making from Mass offerings must be entirely avoided," the bishops said.
The bishops' conference also reiterated that the practice of having signed or stamped Mass cards for sale in shops and other commercial outlets be stopped.