Marriage damage

When I became a priest 45 years ago there was little class divide in marriage as most people married and most children were brought up by genetic parents.

Today marriage among the lowest of seven categories of workers is rare, less than half of our 20-year-olds will marry and just one in 20 pairs of unwed parents stay together.

With the best of intentions the welfare state decimated marriage among the working class and those on benefits by taking on the role of husband and ­provider for single mums.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

In contrast, women in the upper social classes have every incentive to marry the father of their children, who will support them financially as they give birth and nurture their children.

The bien pensant are appalled by the thought of money influencing relationships, but they underestimate the financial penalty for relatively poor people who marry. Sadly, by encouraging unmarried parenting among the poor, welfarism has extended poverty by robbing their children of a stable family existence.

(Rev Dr) John 

Howard Place

St Andrews