Call us: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm, Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm
Call local rate 0330 056 3171
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat - Sun 9am - 5pm

Pope: most marriages are ‘null’

Most marriages are “null” because the people who enter them do not know what they are doing, Pope Francis has claimed.

During some impromptu remarks in Rome this week, the Pontiff claimed that we live in “the culture of the provisional” and insisted that people do not fully appreciate what a lifetime commitment entails.

As a result of this, “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null”, he continued. Many people say “yes, for the rest of my life!” when they begin married life but “they don’t know what they are saying”. Although they “have good will … they don’t know”.

People do not appreciate that marriage is supposed to be “indissoluble”, that “it’s for your entire life” and can sometimes be difficult, he said.

Pope Francis noted that some couples “prefer to cohabitate” but they should not be asked why they have made this choice. Instead, society should “help them to mature, help fidelity to mature”.

The Pontiff also recalled his time as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in his home country of Argentina. He refused to perform so-called ‘shotgun weddings’ when the prospective bride was pregnant. In those circumstances, he would question the couple’s level of consent. However, he said that some of the couples he refused got married two or three years later when they had a better understanding of the commitment involved. He would see “them entering the church, father, mother and child in hand”.

Earlier this year, the Pope said that the Catholic Church should be more forgiving of people who have divorced because “no one can be condemned forever”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

Contact us

As the UK's largest family law firm we understand that every case is personal.


  1. Andrew says:

    For a bachelor he’s very sure of himself, isn’t he?

  2. JamesB says:

    Catholic teaching on contraception, timing and rhythm method is well dodgy, may as well say carry a twig in your pocket after sex.

  3. JamesB says:

    They do have nice icons and outfits and furnishings and fittings and smells and things like that and are right about the most important thing that Jesus is the son of God.

Leave a comment

Help & advice categories


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for advice on divorce and relationships from our lawyers, divorce coaches and relationship experts.

What type of information are you looking for?

Privacy Policy