The Pontiff devoted some time to a discussion of the Pontifical Council’s plans to produce a new document on preparation for marriage. Citing the work of his predecessor John Paul II, Pope Benedict said that there are three essential types of preparation: remote, when children are trained to have a healthy attitude toward marriage and human sexuality; proximate, when engaged couples learn together about the Church’s approach to Christian marriage; and immediate, when the couple makes final spiritual preparations to enter a marital union.
Pope Benedict called the group’s attention to the UN discussion of the rights of children. “The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children,” he said. “Supporting the family and promoting its true good, its rights, its unity and stability is the best way to protect the rights and the real needs of children.” The Pope acknowledged with regret in his address that some Catholic priests had failed to respect the rights of children by abusing them. He vowed that the Church “hasn’t, and won’t ever, stop deploring and condemning” their misdeeds.