The Fuss about Marriage

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Ambito_incerto,_adamo_ed_eva,_collezione_di_anelli_con_cammei_del_duca_del_valentinoFrom the beginning of time (Adam and Eve) marriage has been about a man and a woman coming together to form a union and to create a family.  Not one or the other, but both.  It has not even been a mutual decision, sometimes being the decision of parents or the tribal leaders.  But it has always been for the two-fold purpose of creating a union that would hopefully become procreative for the continuation of the tribe, the clan, the pagan community, the kingdom, the religion or just society.  That has been the definition and purpose of marriage for thousands of years.  Why do we need to re-define it?

The Code of Canon Law #1055 states, “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized.” (Emphasis mine.) Yes, I realize not everyone is Catholic and may think they don’t have to agree with this.  But why would the oldest Christian denomination which has its roots in the Jewish faith, that goes way back in history, just come up with this idea about marriage?  The answer is, they didn’t.  Marriage has been about the union of a man and a woman and about continuing civilization forever.

So before you think I am being a bigot or intolerant, I want to explain where I am going with this.  The whole re-defining of the word “marriage” is not about taking away any rights from the anyone. Marriage is not a right any more than children are.  It is a privilege. Would a person assume they would have the right to be an Olympian athlete without first understanding the purpose of the competition?  In other words, would a person assume they have the right to compete in Olympic track events if they didn’t even know the purpose of the event is to run around the track as fast as they can?  I know that seems simplified, but it really is just that simple.  It is not about taking away a level of supposed happiness from anyone.  Happiness comes from living the truth of our dignity as children made in the image and likeness of God, not some imposed idea of dignity. St. Augustine said it best, “Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”  Standing up for the traditional definition of marriage is not standing against anyone, it is standing for a definition  of a word that has meant something specific for thousands of years.

This issue is really an issue about semantics.  Why do we need to change the definition of a word that has existed for thousands of years?  This issue is not about the state of marriage in our world today.  It’s not about the divorce rate or the marriage rate.  It’s not about one country or another, one religion or another.  It is simply about the understanding that marriage is and has always been a union of man and woman for the purpose of procreation.  Maybe instead of changing definitions of words we need to just come up with new words, or better yet, understand the ones we already have.

God’s blessings!

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Copyright 2013 Diane Schwind

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10 Comments

  1. I think this is the wrong side of the question. Two people want to get married. One is much older than the other, or one is infertile, or one is fat and one is thin, or one is muslim and the other Catholic or only one supports Manchester United, or they are both of the same sex. All of these facts are nobody’s business but the two people involved. There is no obligation on you to think it’s wonderful (I myself think that if the other partner supports Manchester City, the marriage is doomed). The only obligation is to not control other people’s lives.

    • “nobody’s business but the two people involved.”
      This is where the debate between the Faithful and all others ends. For example, a faithful Catholic believes that a marriage also involves God. The no-so-faithful belives it’s only between the two people and the IRS.

  2. I read a blog about this lately that has given me a question to ponder. I want to get your take on this. What if we change the question? Leave marriage as it has been since the beginning of time, but separate legal and religious “marriage.” And the legal “marriage” doesn’t need to be called marriage, because it’s just a gov’t seal of approval giving the couple all the rights and responsibilities of an official union. So, the gov’t can “marry” whoever they want, but religious entities like the Catholic Church do not have to recognize the union. That way, gay couples get the rights they want without the Church’s rights being infringed and the actual institution of marriage being redefined. Or the gov’t can get out of the institution of marriage altogether? What do you think about this? I’m not sure what I think.

    • Roxane B. Salonen on

      Bethanie, the problem with this line of thinking is that marriage currently is the only civil institution that unites children with their parents. Do we need such an institution? If not, why not? I’d say we do, and that we have every right as people of faith to enter this discussion since it will directly impact families. Marriage needs to be strengthened, not changed to accommodate those for whom it was not intended. This issue is really more about children than anything else, and we are missing that point, which will be a tragic mistake if we don’t wake up.

    • I read your blog and you totally have it right. It is not about marriage equality, it is about the family. How many of us still feel the results of broken homes, growing up with absent parents? Every child deserves a mother and father who loves them, who is willing to support them and fight for them. Don’t let people bully you into silence. I find that the Left don’t seem to comprehend that you can lovingly disagree. That when you disagree it has nothing to do with homophobia or Christian superiority, or being ignorant. It is about standing up for families and the rights of children. I loved when the person questioned your statistics. Really? So when do you need to footnote to voice an opinion?

  3. Pingback: Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love - CatholicMom.com - Celebrating Catholic Motherhood

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