Richard Leonard SJ speaks to Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications about marriage as part of his podcast series on the sacraments. Drawn from his book, Hatch, Match & Dispatch: A Catholic Guide to Sacraments, the Australian Jesuit refers to marriage as having probably the most complex history of any of the sacraments and the last to be established in the Church. He explains his personal attitude to marrying and walking with young people amid changing circumstances and puts great trust in the grace of the sacrament.
Fr Leonard wants to promote the healthy sexuality of marriage. He says: “I love the fact that the giving of the body is the last act of this sacrament… and in a Church that has had sometimes, perceived and in reality, very negative things to say about sexuality we have a sacrament where actually it’s a constitutive element. I think we should celebrate that much more, that loving appropriate sexual desire in marriage is a gift given by God for us to flourish as human beings in the world.”
The Australian Jesuit holds onto the indissolubility of marriage but at same time deals with people who are in very complex situations. He speaks of working with a parishioner who was divorced and who experienced deep pain as a result of being given a wrong message regarding the Eucharist. He also sings some humourous wedding songs and emphasises the need for “very good, generous, compassionate pastors”.
Listen to the podcast interview above ».