Emile Signot_S. Luigi IX (1839)

The “Strong Money” of Good King Saint Louis

Speaking with a friend recently, we chanced to talk about money and coins. He is a coin collector and had just visited a coin shop nearby. I mentioned my own studies of medieval economy and its coinage. Much to my surprise and delight, he reached into his inner coat pocket and pulled out a gros [...]

Homosexuality Is Not Sexuality

Events of recent memory have left my head spinning in disbelief—“Caitlyn," same-sex so-called "marriage," three women "marrying" in South America, and, yes, "gay Catholics" and "chaste gay couples." With me, you may wonder how all this has emerged in a short few decades of social upheaval. I may have an answer: Society has constructed an [...]

Is Marital Indissolubility Only an Ideal?

One way that dissidents (including various episcopal conferences that had been derelict in teaching Catholic marital morality in the immediate periods before and after Humanae vitae) sought to dilute the clear Magisterial teaching the encyclical provided them was to reduce its vision of married sexual life to an “aspirational norm.” In other words, the idea [...]

Doctrine, Discipline and the “Kasper Proposal”

One of the questions commonly raised in relation to the proposal of Cardinal Walter Kasper that the Catholic Church should admit to sacramental penance and Holy Communion certain civilly divorced and “remarried” individuals—who continue to act as if their second “marriage” were valid—is whether the Church’s traditional prohibition of this proposal is a matter of [...]

The Birdwatcher’s Guide To Marriage

At last, here is an easy-to-follow guide for identifying a real marriage that exposes the new imitations to be, well, imitations. Essential for the 321 million Americans who have a biological mother and father, this new guide includes stunningly accurate illustrations, important field marks and behaviors, plus expert advice on identification basics that will help [...]

Sexual Dysfunction: The Latest Progressive Imposition

What will be the outcome of the social and legal changes that have led to the recent Supreme Court holding that fundamental constitutional principle requires the sex of the parties to be treated as irrelevant to marriage? We can’t be sure of all the details. Yogi Berra points out that “it’s tough to make predictions, especially [...]

Abandoning the Full Meaning of Marriage

The case for Same Sex Civil Contracts for Sexual Services (SSCCSS, abbreviated as SCS and pronounced as one word, “sex”) rests on the theft of the term “marriage” in order to strip it of any reference to true marriage. No defense of real marriage can be sustained when it accepts this identity theft as definitive [...]

A Guide to the Restoration of Marriage

As you may have heard, marriage is in a bad way. Supporters of procreative marriage are increasingly pressured to abandon their views, while liberals busily debate whether they should follow up on their recent victory by “expanding” marriage further or just by abolishing it altogether. Over here in the land of the still-sane, we’re in [...]

Untethering Sacramental Marriage from Civil Marriage 

Months ago, I watched as some Christians took to the internet opposing R. R. Reno's position in “A Time to Rend,” in which he calls for a separation of sacramental marriage from civil marriage. Much of the criticism made accusations of disengagement with, and abandonment of, the culture. One Protestant even went so far as [...]

Conjugal Rights and Gay “Marriage”: A Response to Objections

In a prior essay in Crisis I offered an explanation concerning how the exchange of conjugal rights, understood in natural, canon, and civil law traditions as mutual moral rights for actions naturally ordered to the procreation of children, can be recognized as a necessary condition for a valid marriage. Hence, if a person is certainly [...]

“Mere Marriage”

In his recent essay, A Thicker Kind of Mere, Timothy George reminded us that the kind of faith C.S. Lewis argued for in the last century is not necessarily the same thing suggested by similar terminology today. As George noted, Lewis borrowed his famous phrase from Richard Baxter, a Puritan minister who preceded Lewis by [...]

Taking Back Marriage

The only thing surprising about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision requiring all 50 states and the District of Columbia to perform gay “marriages,” and to recognize such unions contracted in other states, is that it took so long. The writing was on the wall 11 years ago, when the Republicans controlled both houses of [...]

Why Same-Sex Couples Possess No Conjugal Rights

Often in discussions on whether the term “marriage” should be reserved for relationships between persons of opposite sex, advocates for same-sex "marriage" claim that there is no distinguishing characteristic in male/female commitments that would make only those commitments truly marital. The obvious response that children come only from opposite sex relationships is quickly dismissed since [...]

The New Homophiles: Muddying the Meaning of Family

It’s an oddly timed realization—here in the shadow of the looming Supreme Court decision that could have the effect of redefining marriage (as though that were possible), I’ve come to the conclusion that the New Homophiles seem to be engaging in an effort that would have the effect of redefining family (as though that were [...]

Is Homosexual Marriage Even Possible?

The homilist, a priest of impeccable orthodoxy, was enumerating the challenges facing the Church today. But I quickly found myself being greatly annoyed at his mention of the attacks being made on “traditional marriage” which were threatening our cherished tradition of “religious liberty.” Now, to be sure, what annoyed was not that he chose to [...]

On Redefining Reality: A Dialogue

“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” —Oscar Wilde As I walked down the street, I noticed in the window of a shop a decal advertising the so-called “Human Rights Campaign,” the organization agitating for a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions. I was [...]

Defining Doctrine Protects Divine Mystery

The Western Church is often accused by outsiders of being overly definitive. Even other traditional churches, such as our separated Eastern brethren, consider us to be too tied up in theological formulas. To be fair, Roman Catholics do place a much greater stress on dogmatic definitions than, for example, the Greek Orthodox. The Eastern churches [...]

Old Fashioned—A Flawed Alternative to Fifty Shades of Grey

While the Christian world and its religious allies cry in the wilderness that sex is sacred; the rest of the world is rushing to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Over Saint Valentine’s Day weekend, the bacchanal film set a box-office record for an R-rated movie opening in the month of February—and thus the record set [...]

Re-Reading Love and Responsibility

Someone presumptuous enough to recommend some readings for those attending the 2015 Synod on the Family could undoubtedly put together an impressive list of books on marriage and sexual morality. Arguably, at the top of any such list belongs Karol Wojtyla’s classic work called Love and Responsibility. An appreciation of marriage as an indissoluble conjugal [...]

Normality is Not Hatred

Very recently the view that homosexuality is entirely normal has become not only widespread but compulsory in secular public discussion. Leaders of thought tell us the change has been part of a general deepening of moral insight and improvement in the art of living. The older outlook oppressed millions out of fear, bigotry, and ignorance. [...]

A Response to the Cohabitation Epidemic

The proliferation of research and literature about the sexual and marital habits of "Millennials" is staggering. Research indicates a casual or cavalier approach to sexual intimacy and of marriage. Marriage is increasingly postponed or rejected in favor of transitional "trial marriages" or temporary live-in situations glamorized today in popular media as "the next step" in [...]