Marriage

Amin al Husseini bei bosnischen SS-Freiwilligen

If It Looks Like a Duck: The Islamist-Nazi Connection

One of the great advantages we have over our ancestors is hindsight. With a clearer picture of the past, we can avoid making the same mistakes they made. But what if we’re not allowed to use our hindsight? What if we’re forced to pretend that what happened in the past bears no relation to what [...]

Can Married Couples Have Too Much Sex?

Another day, another dust-up about sex. This one is a little unusual, however, in that the controversy involves sex between married people. Here’s what happened. A woman, two years married, went on a business trip. At the airport, she received an email from her husband containing a sarcastic note saying how little he would miss [...]

To Those Who Wait to Conceive

It saddens me to know couples in their late thirties trying unsuccessfully to conceive. The notion that it is easy to conceive at any age under 40—and perhaps beyond that—has taken firm, but mistaken, hold in our culture.  The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently published a meta-analysis concluding that women’s fertility begins to [...]

What Cardinal Kasper Really Said About Divorce

A high profile debate is underway in the Catholic Church regarding communion for the divorced and remarried. As in most family quarrels, however, the real point of contention remains unacknowledged. Before pointing out the elephant in the living room, however, a little background is called for. Some Recent Developments Speculation has been growing for nearly [...]

What Jesus Said About Divorce

Pope Francis concluded his homily during the Canonization Mass of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II by invoking the intercession of the two new saints as the Church journeys towards the upcoming Synod on the Family. He finished his homily with the beautiful words, “May both of them teach us not to be scandalized [...]

The Spiritual Stakes in the Marriage Debate

Judges across the country are busy rewriting state marriage laws, overturning democratically adopted measures defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and setting the table possibly for the United States Supreme Court to complete the coup by decreeing the redefinition of marriage in every state. Consequently sexual difference is being erased [...]

Kasper versus Kasper

Book-tours can be risky affairs. There’s always the chance you’ll say something during your tenth radio interview of the day which you retrospectively wish you’d phrased differently. Then there’s the possibility you’ll play up to a live audience and make some truly imprudent comments. In a few short May days in New York, Cardinal Walter [...]

Divorced and Remarried are Called to Heroism…

The universal call to holiness is considered by many to be the most important development of the Second Vatican Council. The main location of this call is the fifth chapter of the Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium: Thus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank [...]

…But Should They Live Together?

The two upcoming synods of bishops on “The Pastoral Care of the Family in the Context of the New Evangelization” needs to discuss many serious topics other than communion for the divorced and remarried.  I hope they revisit the standard recommendation that couples in invalid second “marriages” should “live as brother and sister.” This is [...]

The Purpose of Sex in Marriage

Marriage requires sex. This seems to be the sine qua non of marriage even in a world where the definition of marriage has been broadened in ways never imagined even a generation ago. And indeed marriage does require sex because sex is unitive in a unique way and marriage is about union. A shake of [...]

Remedying the Divorce Culture

Divorce is more common in my extended family than in society at large. My childhood home was a broken home. This experience fostered within me attentiveness to both the often-difficult circumstances faced by couples today and the Church’s teaching related to marriage and divorce. Over the last few months divorce, remarriage, and reception of the [...]

A Rival Good to God’s: On Cardinal Kasper’s Divorce Proposal

Divorce and remarriage looms large in one of the greatest Catholic novels of the last century.  The narrator of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Charles Ryder, is in love with Julia Flyte, and the two plan to cement their happiness by marrying once their respective divorces are finalized.  Julia begins to have doubts when her brother [...]

“Equal Pay” Mendacity Harms Women

The Democrats made some waves last week with their proposed “Paycheck Fairness” legislation, purportedly designed to ensure that men and women get equal pay for equal work. It was heartening to see this rhetoric mostly fall flat. When the Democrats tried to raise some emotion with the infamous “77 cents” statistic, even mainstream publications called [...]

St. John Fisher, Marriage, and Moral Absolutes

In his October 2013 article on the question of communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, Cardinal Gerhard Müller underscored that the Catholic Church had risked much to uphold Christ’s teaching regarding true marriage’s indissolubility. The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith singled out the fact that Catholicism had suffered the [...]

Why We Need More Canon Lawyers

We’ve all known administrators who were hired to do a certain job, but when they found they couldn’t do that job, they either tried to do everyone else’s job or else tried to change the job into something else completely.  This problem is not uncommon, for example, among functionaries who do fund-raising for colleges.  They [...]

Aim of Family Synods: Harmonize Doctrine and Pastoral Care

A recent interview of  Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga in a German newspaper underscores the stress lines surrounding the upcoming synods, in October 2014 and October 2015, “On Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”  It can help us to think more clearly about what those Synods are and are not about. In [...]

On Daughters, Vocation & Human Happiness

The Sound of Music just finished its run at the college where I work, and my daughter had a part: Brigitta, one of the von Trapp children. Everyone in the production did a marvelous job, although (you’ll forgive me—I’m a dad) I think that my daughter gave an especially outstanding performance. Bravo! Another standout of [...]

Natural Family Planning, Providence, and the Goal of Marriage

The great NFP debate would be greatly helped by some serious reflections on ends: teleology, as the philosophers like to say. On one side stand the Providentialists.  At their more strident, they accuse NFP users of a “contraceptive mentality.”  Just because periodic abstinence (the means) is legitimate doesn’t mean that its every use is appropriate.  Some [...]

A Married Mom and Dad Really Do Matter: New Evidence from Canada

There is a new and significant piece of evidence in the social science debate about gay parenting and the unique contributions that mothers and fathers make to their children’s flourishing. A study just published in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household—analyzing data from a very large, population-based sample—reveals that the children of [...]

Sex and the Public Order

Sex and the institutions, customs, and restraints related to it are basic to social order. That claim shouldn’t be controversial, and it’s odd that it has become so. Older political philosophers such as Aristotle, who viewed man as naturally social, found it self-evident to start their analysis of society with the union of man and [...]

The Future of Marriage Reconsidered

Among American conservatives it seems to be common knowledge now that marriage is on the rocks. According to the Pew Research Center, just over half of American adults 18 and older are now married. This is a record low, and most indicators suggest that marriage is continuing to decline. In many demographics, co-habitation and illegitimacy [...]

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