It was a divorce lawyer's nightmare: 650 couples with 43,000 years' experience of marriage between them. They attended mass at the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral yesterday to celebrate the institution of marriage, but also to 'warn of the dangers of letting it go'. The event was organised by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, a man whose personal experience of marriage is, of course, nil.
The Cardinal spoke of the effects of marriage breakdown on society and the importance therefore of couples staying together. Surely, however, the simple fact is that marriage is no longer viewed by many as 'for ever', so there is no point in exhorting couples to 'work at it'. I'm also not persuaded that changes in legislation are to blame for 'undermining family life', as the Church is suggesting - laws generally only react to what has already happened. Society itself has changed, and we need to learn to live with it, rather than try to turn back the clock.