The first Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE) weekend was given in Detroit in 1974 with the aide of the Marriage Encounter Resource Community. In 1975 CEE became a self-sustaining National Ministry. CEE has had astonishing growth throughout our country and also throughout the world. CEE is now taking place in more than 30 countries around the world. It has become the rpeferred Marriage Preparation Program for the Catholic Church, and today many other Christian denominations also offer Engaged Encounter programs. Engaged Encounter teams are all volunteers.
Earlier this month, my fiance and I attended a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend. I've already written about the site and the Masses. This part is about the content.
The format, with a couple exceptions, was as follows. The presenting couples and the priest to talk about a topic for up to an hour. Then the men and women would separate and answer questions about the topic. To complete the "unit", the couples would meet privately and discuss each other's answers.
For each topic, I'll present the text from the book (for the benefit of those who haven't been to one of these), but not what was said by the couples, because I did not take copious notes. If something I can remember clarifies a point made, I'll present it. The first paragraph of each section introduces what the couples talked about. The second introduces the writing assignment. The assignment follows. At the end some topics, I'll give a critique.
One overarching theme I would like readers to notice is the lack of Catholic character to the material. One could easily replace "God" in most instances with any random deity and the meaning would not change. Furthermore, Scripture was only sparingly quoted. I found this disturbing. If you'd like a reminder of just what the "Catholic character" of marriage is, I suggest reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1601-1666.