Italian government pays for wedding if couple gets married in church

23-11-2022

Southern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Wedding couple poses in Rome in front of the St Peters Basilica. Photo AFP, Tiziana Fabi

To boost the number of marriages in the country, the Italian government wants to establish a grant of over 20,000 euros for couples who get married in Church. With the money, spouses can pay for their wedding rings, photographer and reception, for example.

To that end, the League Party submitted a proposal. The requirements for the bonus are that the couple must be of Italian citizenship for at least ten years and that the spouses make their vows in Church. Furthermore, they can only receive the bonus when they earn less than 23 thousand euros a year, Laikmetis writes.

The proposal, meant to increase the concerningly low number of marriages, is likely to be passed by a majority in Parliament, as League is one of the ruling parties.

Discrimination

However, not everyone welcomes the proposal enthusiastically. According to Luciano Moia, in an opinion article in Avennire, a bonus is not a sustainable way of increasing the number of marriages and religious weddings. Offering a grant to couples who get married in Church only discriminates against civil weddings, Moia writes. “That is unsustainable for a secular state like ours.”

Furthermore, getting married in Church is a personal choice and should not be motivated by financial reasons only, Moia writes. “Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia reaffirmed that marriage is a sacrament for the Church, and a sacrament cannot be bought.” Therefore, Moia argues that boosting the number of marriages cannot only be done with a bonus. “To support the choices of young people who decide to get married, targeted and constant family policies are needed, with an investment to support family life as a whole.”

And even if a whole package of family support measures were implemented, this might still be insufficient to solve the demographic problem, Moia writes. The author refers to studies that state that Western societies have made relationships less attractive and solid. “There would be no external causes, but only causes of a cultural and psychological nature, linked above all to a “liberated sexuality” to such an extent that it no longer arouses interest in marriage.”

The Pope wrote in 2016 already that the Church has not stressed the unitive purpose, the invitation to grow in love and the ideal of mutual aid within marriage often enough. Instead, it “presented a theological ideal of marriage that is too abstract, far from the concrete situation and effective possibilities of families as they are”, he stated. “This excessive idealisation has not made marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.”

Crisis

Italy has one of the gravest demographic crises in the world. Its population is ageing rapidly, and its birthrate is extremely low, Remix reports. In 2020, only 13 per cent of Italian men and 25 per cent of Italian women said to be open to children. Last year, Italy broke a record with its low number of births.

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