“The call to married life requires an accurate discernment of the quality of the relationship and a time of engagement to verify it”. Pope Francis explained this in his catechesis today, dedicated to the sixth commandment. Speaking off the cuff, he insisted on the need for a “catechumenate” for marriage. “And for this – he said -, before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony, we need careful preparation, I would say a catechumenate, because we stake our whole life in love, and one does not joke with love”. “To enter the Sacrament of Marriage, the engaged couple must ripen the certainty that in their bond there is the hand of God, Who precedes them and accompanies them, and will allow them to say: ‘“With the grace of Christ I promise to always be faithful to you’”, Pope Francis continued. “Three or four meetings in the parish cannot be defined as a ‘preparation for marriage’”, he added off the cuff: “No, this is not preparation: this is a false preparation. And the responsibility of those who do this falls on him, on the parish priest, on the bishop who allows these things”. The future spouses “cannot promise fidelity ‘in joy and pain, in sickness and in health’, and to love and honour each other every day of their lives, only on the basis of good will or hope that ‘the thing works’”, the Pope stated. “They need to build on the solid ground of God’s faithful love”. This “takes time”, he added: “Matrimony is not a formal act: it is a Sacrament. And one must prepare with a true catechumenate”.