Entire civilizations, in fact all of society, have been built on the traditional, nuclear family: a man and woman married, who have children.
The desire for such a structure stems from the very human nature shared among people across every creed, dialect, ethnicity, and location.
Admittedly, as gay marriage proponents point out, finding long, stable, traditional marriages has become harder to do. Heterosexual couples have not done the best job of promoting family life. As a result, the institution of marriage has eroded in esteem in many people’s minds.
A firm marriage appears too idealistic, or next to impossible, when compared to the state of affairs in everyday America.
This has contributed greatly to efforts to redefine in civil law the institution of marriage across the country. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia all recognize so-called “gay marriage.” There remains a push to allow marriage in other forms, such as between pets and owners, or between people and inanimate objects.
So-called “gay marriage” or any other mockery of traditional marriage is not marriage at all. The state may call it such, but that does not mean God recognizes those unions or blesses them. In fact, He reviles the notion.
LET’S GET OFFENSIVE
Traditional marriage backers, let’s get offensive in this fight.
I do not mean, obviously, we need to be rude and obnoxious. Rather, I mean, let’s go on the offense and quit playing defense in this debate on marriage.
Let us take the fight to the proponents of so-called “gay marriage” and other deformations of the marriage institution.
We can begin by knowing the four goods of marriage. From there we can ask our opponents questions to help them to see their faulty imitations of marriage do not make for a true, covenantal marriage as created by God.
THE FOUR GOODS OF MARRIAGE
As a guide for us, let us examine the four goods of marriage, as originated by Saint Augustine (in De bono coniugali). Saint Thomas Aquinas developed these further (Summa Theologiae, Supplementum), and Pope Pius XI covered these as well (Casti Connubii). We will also identify which distortions of true marriage violate each of these goods. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) contains commentary on each of these and it will serve as our guide.
The four goods of marriage are these:
God created marriage from the beginning. The man and woman become “one flesh,” the Story of Creation tells us (Gen 2:24). Marriage is therefore a divine act that requires the Creator’s blessing in order to be a legitimate marriage.
Spouses are to practice “day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving,” the Catechism of Catholic Church tells us (CCC 1644).
The Catechism makes a comparison, for good reason, between marriage and the Eucharist (CCC 1644). The Eucharist is the New Covenant, as instituted by Christ. It is in the Eucharist that Christ pours Himself out entirely to us and we’re to repay Him the same.
Christ elevates marriage to a sacrament, since a husband is to unite himself completely to his wife, and she back to him. To read more about this Eucharistic imagery of marriage, I recommend this article I wrote previously.
Thus, marriage is not an exchange of 50-50. Rather, it is meant to be 100-100. Total self-giving, day-to-day, as the Catechism reminds us.
“Polygamy is contrary to conjugal love which is undivided and exclusive,” points out the Catechism (CCC 1645). A “poly” marriage is no marriage at all, for it violates this idea of unity.
Solubility means capable of being dissolved. We must remember two things. First, marriage is a sign of the covenant of God to His people, namely the Catholic Church. And two, we know God keeps His promises. Therefore, it stands to reason that marriages are meant to last one’s lifetime. Marriage is a sign of God’s loyalty to us that spouse confer to each other.
“The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.” (CCC 1647)
This is why cohabitation mocks marriage. Each member of a cohabitating relationship maintains the ability to leave the relationship. A cohabitating couple cannot simulate commitment, as their relationship remains soluble.
This ties in nicely with the next good of marriage.
When a husband and wife marry, they enter into their own covenant with each other. This is why the essence of marriage requires conjugal fidelity (CCC 1644).
A marriage commitment cannot have strings attached (CCC 1646). After all, Jesus laid down His very life in love for us, in order to enter into union with us for all of eternity. He has remained faithful to us, and so we are to show that fidelity to our husband or our wife.
Knowing the marriage cannot be ended until death do them part, a married couple on hard times is thus forced to work out differences, so they can grow in love for one another. This can be a tremendous grace, as they will have the confidence their spouse is not going anywhere.
Spouses who weather the storms of life, while remaining true to each other, “deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community” (CCC 1648).
If one or both spouses reserve the right to end the exclusivity of the conjugal act, then a seed of suspicion and distrust creeps into the relationship. This is unbecoming of a covenantal relationship.
Divorce, and especially divorce and remarriage is contrary to covenantal marriage (CCC 1650). Each spouse makes a vow to be faithful, until death do them part. Promises are made to be kept, not broken.
“Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter,” asserts the Catechism (CCC 1643). To give one’s self in totality to the other includes one’s fertility.
The conjugal act is a unique act because it can literally result in the creation of a new human life.
This is tremendous power.
The Persons of the Holy Trinity love one another, and out of that God creates new life (i.e., you and me) so as to share in that love. This is the model for married love. God honors the mutual love between a husband and wife that He creates new life out of that union.
“Children are the supreme gift of marriage,” affirms the Catechism (CCC 1652).
Couples who cooperate with this design for marriage are disposed “to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich His family from day to day” (CCC 1652).
By remaining open to life, couples not only stand to add to the number in their family, but also to the number of people who make it to heaven.
Homosexual sex, by its very nature, is contrary to fruitfulness and to natural law (CCC 2357). Since being ordered toward procreation is a necessity of marriage, so-called “gay marriage” is no marriage at all.
As seen, conjugal love is meant to be life-giving, precisely because it is a symbol of the Covenant between God and His people. Homosexual sex can never create a new, human life.
To read more about how gay people should be received within the Catholic Church, despite so-called “gay marriage” never being acceptable, I encourage you to read my prior article.
The backbone of our entire civilization—the family—hangs in the balance. I hate to be over dramatic, but it is true.
Hopefully this will help us to be better prepared in our offense for traditional marriage. The time to sit on our hands has long passed.
We should be calling our congressmen and writing letters to the editor. We need to speak out, let our voices be heard.
You can ask your “gay marriage”-supportive friends questions like, “Why does Billy need to be able to marry Bobby, if they can’t have any children?”
Or, “If marriage no longer needs to be ordered toward having children, as gay marriage purports, then why does marriage need to be limited to just two people? Why can’t Billy marry Bobby and Bradley?”
Were you aware of the four goods of marriage already?
Do you feel better equipped to engage so-called “gay marriage” proponents?
Please leave a comment below.