Marriage

Justice Kennedy

On Justice Kennedy’s Tenuous Grasp of Human Dignity

“At the heart of liberty,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, poetaster supreme, versifying for the majority in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), is “the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” That included the mysterious business of taking other lives, inconvenient lives brought [...]

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 [...]

Priestly Celibacy and the Demise of Marriage

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus used to call it “the parish paper,” a gentle barb at the pretensions of the self-described “paper of record,” but also, I think, a subtle pastoral hand extended to those who think they get all the advice they need when they look in the mirror. Yes, I’m talking about the New [...]

Changing Discipline Changes Doctrine, Again

In a recent piece on the Synod, I argued  that sometimes a change of Church discipline cannot not happen without a change in Church doctrine, and that since Church doctrine about Communion for Catholics who have obtained a civil divorce and remarriage does not change, Catholics should not expect Church discipline to change either. Today I [...]

Two Yangs Can’t Make a Baby

I got scolded good and proper at the Vatican conference on man-woman complementarity this week. In an article for Breitbart News I named some of the participants in the conference. I asked around and no one knew there was an embargo on the identities of the participants. Indeed attendees were busy emailing and Facebooking the [...]

The Love that Brings New Life Into the World

Editor’s note: The following speech by Rabbi Sacks on the history of marriage was delivered at the International Colloquium on “The Complementarity of Man and Woman” held at the Vatican under the auspices of Pope Francis. The speech was obtained from Rabbi Sacks’ website and reprinted under a Creative Commons license. I want this morning [...]

Is Sexual Desire Holy?

At a recent conference, I had the privilege of listening to an excellent presentation on the topic of charity by a very well known Catholic apologist, who will remain nameless. At some point, his talk on Christian love shifted from a discussion of caritas to eros, and the presenter moved into the subject of sexual [...]

The Synod’s Interim Report: Ambiguity and Misinterpretation

The Interim Report (IR) of the Synod of Bishops on the Family released on Monday, October 13, represents a summary of the discussion of the first week of the Synod. Here’s the problem with the IR in a nutshell. It claims to offer “a significant hermeneutic key that comes from the teaching of Vatican Council [...]

Changing Marriage Discipline Will Change Doctrine

Recent headlines in the mainstream media suggest that the Catholic Church is close to making major doctrinal changes on divorce and remarriage.  The Huffington Post has suggested that the Church will “open the door” to changes in doctrine on divorce.  And, Time magazine predicted that the Pope has “signaled a new openness” to allowing access to the [...]

Marriage Redefinition and a Lifelong Commitment

An article by demographers at the University of Minnesota published in March 2014 revealed that the current divorce rate is much higher than previously thought, especially among those thirty-five and older. This news suggests that two generations of no-fault divorce (among other things) have altered the general concept of marriage and have severely eroded our [...]

Upcoming Synod Must Address Family Disintegration

Judging by the media reports on the Extraordinary Synod to be held in Rome this October, the bishops present will be mainly concerned with issues such as the admission to the Eucharist of divorced and remarried persons, the speeding up of annulment processes, and the possible revision of the Church’s teaching on contraception. Implicit in [...]

Modern Attitudes Toward Marriage Lead to Loneliness

Two stories last week (one amusing and one sobering) provided material for (gloomy) reflection on love and marriage in the modern world. The first came from Auckland, New Zealand, where heterosexual best friends Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick celebrated their nuptials this last Friday. A radio station competition provided the motivation for their decision to [...]

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