From Rome and at home, an unprecedented Catholic push for marriage

American bishops and Pope Benedict himself are making unprecedented statements about the urgent need to defend the definition of marriage in our society, and to provide concrete support to young families.

Let’s start with Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, MI – writing about vocations week:

We have a vocation crisis in America. This is not what you think. It is a vocation crisis in marriage. Many are no longer getting married – and too many do not see their marriage as a sacrament, a means of grace for themselves and their families. Yet marriage and family are the natural heart of our society and the spiritual core of our church. Pope John Paul II stated in St. Louis in January 1999: “As the family goes, so goes the nation!” [Continue reading]

Catholic News Service reports on what Pope Benedict said recently about marriage (I am still looking for the full text in English) – unequivocal words:

Describing the family as the “the primary cell of society, … founded on marriage between a man and a woman”, the Pope noted how “it is in the family that children learn the human and Christian values which enable constructive and peaceful coexistence. It is in the family that we learn solidarity between generations, respect for rules, forgiveness and acceptance of others”. In this context he also noted how “the family must, then, be supported by policies … which aim at its consolidation and development, accompanied by appropriate educational efforts”.

“The approval of forms of union which pervert the essence and goal of the family ends up penalising those people who, not without effort, seek to maintain stable emotional ties which are juridically guaranteed and publicly recognised. In this context, the Church looks with favour upon all initiatives which seek to educate young people to experience love as a giving of self, with an exalted and oblational view of sexuality. To this end the various components of society must agree on the objectives of education, in order for human love not to be reduced to an article of consumption, but to be seen and lived as a fundamental experience which gives existence meaning and a goal”.

The pope goes on to call for “giving concrete support for maternity” for not being indifferent to the many abortions that are happening, for the need to care for the elderly, especially those who have no one to care for them already, of the need to support families experiencing financial difficulty, and to address the crisis of unemployment among young people.

Clearly, the pope’s comments on the need to sustain the traditional definition of marriage (as between one man and one woman) exist within a broad framework of supporting these natural marriages in many, many other ways. To put it in a phrase, the pope desires that we create a culture and communities supportive of marriage, because marriage between a man and a women creates and serves communities and culture.

Back on our own shores, Cardinal George (former President of the USCCB) had this to say about legal efforts to redefine the meaning of marriage:

“The Catholic spiritual leader of Chicago visited Boston College recently, where a doctoral student pressed Cardinal Francis George about the Church’s recent opposition to civil-unions legislation recently passed by the Illinois General Assembly.

George told student John Falcone his “argument was not with Mother Church but with Mother Nature,” adding that anyone who advocates same-sex marriage or its equivalent “has lost touch with the common understanding of the human race.”

“No one has the right to change marriage,” George went on to say, neither “the Church” nor “the state.”

While it is one thing “creating laws so that people don’t feel persecuted,” the cardinal explained, “don’t create a law that says apples are oranges.” For a lawmaker to do so, George added, he “betrays his vocation to pass good law,” especially problematic for a “Catholic lawmaker.” [Continue reading]

Whether it is coming from your local pastor, the former head of our bishop-pastors in America, or from the pastor of the universal church, the call is the same: promote marriage!

I intend to personally heed this call. And to that end I have accepted a position with the National Organization for Marriage as their Cultural Director. As always, my writing at AmericanPapist and work in collaboration with CatholicVote will continue uninterrupted. I look for your continued prayers and support!

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15 thoughts on “From Rome and at home, an unprecedented Catholic push for marriage

  1. Common says:

    Thomas, I’m trying to understand which religious view actually has the real and only special access to moral truth that should be codified in civil law. As you know, Episcopal, Unitarian, Reformed Judaism, Quaker and Buddhist either honor or perform same sex unions. Which view is correct and why?

    Moreover, are child molesters, felons, drug addicts and rapists good parental models? Why does civil marriage law deem their marriages as a fundamental right? Do you believe equal protection and due process constitutional guarantee’s apply only to felony marriages but not homosexual marriages?
    Why, since every court and main stream scientific organization has determined homosexuals make great parents?

    Please explain.

  2. Common says:

    Thomas, I’m trying to understand which religious view actually has the real and only special access to moral truth that should be codified in civil law. As you know, Episcopal, Unitarian, Reformed Judaism, Quaker and Buddhist either honor or perform same sex unions. Which view is correct and why?

    Moreover, are child molesters, felons, drug addicts and rapists good parental models? Why does civil marriage law deem their marriages as a fundamental right? Do you believe equal protection and due process constitutional guarantee’s don’t apply only to felony marriages but not homosexual marriages?
    Why, since every court and main stream scientific organization has determined homosexuals make great parents.

    Please explain.

  3. Loye Young says:

    If we are serious about defending traditional marriage, we must get serious about teaching traditional gender roles. Thousands of years of wisdom on the topic have been thrown out the window in the last 50 years.

    The Bible gives very specific norms about gender roles in marriage, yet those statements are almost always dropped from the readings at Sunday Mass. Lay lectors usually redact the statements, and priests are too afraid to preach them. It is as if the Body of Christ is embarrassed by the Word of God on the most important of institutions.

    I commend to reading Pope Leo XIII’s “Encyclical on Christian Marriage”:

    “[Jesus Christ] bore witness to the Jews and to His Apostles that marriage, from its institution, should exist between two only, that is, between one man and one woman; that of two they are made, so to say, one flesh . . . .”

    Leo XIII, “ARCANUM” (1880), paragraph 5, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_10021880_arcanum_en.html

    However, Pope Leo wisely did not drop the matter there. He went farther and discussed the necessary conditions for such a union to exist:

    “Secondly, the mutual duties of husband and wife have been defined, and their several rights accurately established. They are bound, namely, to have such feelings for one another as to cherish always very great mutual love, to be ever faithful to their marriage vow, and to give one another an unfailing and unselfish help. The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity. Since the husband represents Christ, and since the wife represents the Church, let there always be, both in him who commands and in her who obeys, a heaven-born love guiding both in their respective duties. For ‘the husband is the head of the wife; as Christ is the head of the Church. . . Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things.’”

    Id., Paragraph 11.

    Later, in 1930, Pius XI had this to say about Leo XIII’s encyclical:

    “We declare that, far from being obsolete, it retains its full force at the present day.”

    Pius XI, “CASTI CONNUBII” (1930), Paragraph 5. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_31121930_casti-connubii_en.html

    We simply won’t be able to reclaim marriage until we teach gender roles consistently with biology and with the natures of the respective genders.

    Happy Trails.

  4. marv!!! says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that the Catholic Church considers itself an expert on marriage, on having kids and how to raise kids. Yet, these same people have never experienced any of these things. You can’t learn something by just reading about it. You also have to experience it. I can’t learn to fly a plane by simply reading a bunch of books. At some point, I have to get on a plane and actually learn to fly a plane.

  5. marv!!! says:

    Thomas, are you married?

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