Archbishop Joseph Kurtz is the vice president of the US Bishops, and credits his appointment partially due to his outspoken defense of marriage and dedication to building a healthy marriage culture. Jim Graves of Catholic World Report interviews him:
What advice do you offer those who worry about the decline of marriage in our society?
Archbishop Kurtz: First, that we can make a difference. One of the first recipes for success in any venture is the commitment that somehow, by our faithful witness and work, we can help shape positive things in our lives and within the lives of others. That is empowered by the grace of Christ.
If we don’t have that conviction, then we become victims of what I call self-fulfilling prophecies of doom. There are some who throw up their hands and say that a deterioration of laws that protect marriage is inevitable. They will be inevitable if we ourselves do not have faithful witness. And that faithful witness needs to reach out in love to every human person. God has a plan for everyone. And ultimately we need to be helping everyone recognize that plan. In the case of a married couple, that plan is intimately linked with their sacrificial and generous love for each other and overflowing to their children.
... When I speak on marriage, I spend most of my time not speaking on its legal ramifications, but on the need for renewal of sacrificial love in our culture, especially within family life. In general, that’s the greatest need. Too many people place their emphasis on individual satisfaction, a turning in on oneself and one’s perceived needs. Sacrificial love, in contrast, tends to lead people to happy lives. We need more examples of marriages based on sacrificial love.