Marriage

Social Conservatism and the New Nationalism

Jack Fowler, a longtime publishing executive at National Review, sat alone and lonely at the way back during the conference. A National Review writer sat among the press and wrote a first-day story. She reported it as straight news, no comment. To be sure, National Review editor Rich Lowry spoke to the crowd and did [...]

The Privatization of Marriage

Last year in this forum, I wrote “Where Should a Catholic Get Married,” responding to the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s accommodationist approach in allowing Catholics to marry outside of churches and chapels. I criticized Baltimore’s policy and urged other bishops to avoid it because it institutionalizes a lax approach to the sacramental meaning of marriage, which [...]

Treat the Marriage Vow with the Solemnity It Deserves

“If only I had been there with my Franks!” said the warlord Clovis when he heard the story of how Jesus, innocent of all wrong, had been condemned to death and crucified. It’s easy to be the hero in your own imagination. Eleven men eager to get out of the jury room and get on [...]

Rethinking Baptismal Preparation

Baptism is often relegated to the back of our thoughts. For most Catholics, it occurred in infancy and is, therefore, not a personal memory. For still too many parishes, baptism remains a quasi-private event sequestered someplace after Mass on the occasional Sunday, rather than an integral part of the regular Sunday Mass. The truth is [...]

Unlike Moderns, Our Ancestors Understood Love

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.” The opening words to Homer’s Odyssey are among the most famous and recognizable in Western literature. That beginning stanza captures so much of the human condition and [...]

Some People Have No Clue What Marriage Is

Listening to a recent morning radio show, I had the opportunity to hear a woman named Michelle Afont plug her recent book, The Dang Factor. In a nutshell, she describes it as “inspiring and motivating women everywhere to evaluate the state of their love life and make the changes necessary to find, restore, and keep passionate [...]

Where Should a Catholic Get Married?

I’ll admit up front to being amazed by the growing need to explain the most elementary things. Like that there are boys and girls. Like that we know when life begins. Or like the fact that Catholics should get married in churches. The secularization, if not outright sacrilege, of fundamental vocational commitments goes on even [...]

Jane Austen’s Common Sense Wisdom on Marriage and Family

When one is looking for a good dose of reality and common sense, there are few better places than a Jane Austen novel. Entertaining they are, but also scattered with drops of wisdom that run counter to our modern notions. For example, take the idea of “change” (often coupled with “hope”); today this idea is [...]

The New York Times Reacts to Falling Fertility Rates

A recent article in The New York Times on America’s declining fertility rates—“American Fertility Is Falling Short of What Women Want” (I note the article’s title appears to have changed)—was as concerning and risible as the news they reported. The concerning part was its statistical confirmation of a trend bedeviling (not just) the Western world: [...]

How Not to Analyze the Modern Family Crisis

The Sexual Revolution continues to inspire an outpouring of new books, not all of which present a benign picture of the consequences. Yet it is still rare for a scholar employed at a state-funded university to weigh in on family-sexual issues with any viewpoint other than sympathy for radical left ideology, and even rarer for [...]

What Makes a Marriage Valid?

Marriage is a sacrament that is regulated by Church law, mainly in the Code of Canon Law of 1983. It is different from the rest of the sacraments, because what makes it valid is mainly marriage consent. A person must want to get married to his spouse, and manifest this will verbally to the priest [...]

But What About Abusive Marriages?

When people learn that I oppose no-fault divorce, some will say, “You have forgotten about abusive marriages.” When the Ruth Institute, the organization that I lead, describes itself as “The World’s Only Campaign to End Family Breakdown,” we hear again, “But what about abusive marriages?” So, let me deal with this important issue. What about [...]

Some Wedding Planning Violations of Catholic Hospitality

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that “God himself is the author of marriage” (1603a). Unfortunately, he has been rather forcefully booted out as the author—or even co-author—of contemporary wedding planning. Many of us have attended weddings where no expense has been spared, and yet have sensed at their core an emptiness. Despite [...]

The Children of Divorce Speak Out

“As a kid I was always sad and always trying to keep everyone else happy. I felt like I had to be one person when I was with my dad and another when I was with my mom.” So says an anonymous child of divorce, describing how her parents’ divorce impacted her childhood. She is [...]

How to Fix the “Annulment Mentality”

Just remember—Pope St. John Paul II said it first. On January 28, 2002. After saying “One cannot give in to the divorce mentality,” our Holy Father tells us this: When one considers the role of law in marital crises, all too often one thinks almost exclusively of processes that ratify the annulment of marriage or [...]

Annulments: A Concession to Human Weakness

He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Mt. 19:8) Scripture tells us that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16), and it doesn’t sound like Jesus was too thrilled with how Moses handled it, since “it was not [...]

You Are Gods

God created the world not out of necessity but out of generosity. Eternally blessed and perfect in himself, God had no need to create and no need of creation. Instead, in freedom he created in wisdom and in love. Each creature God endowed with gifts proportionate to its role, but he crowned man with a [...]

Let Us Now Consider Maddi’s Baby

Something has been terribly lost in the story of Maddi Runkles, the 18-year-old who became pregnant and was punished by her Evangelical school for breaking the morality clause she signed when becoming a student. To begin, I believe it has been a tad unseemly that she has taken to the national airwaves to air her [...]

Fatima, Marriage, and the Theology of the Body

It has been reported that Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote a letter to Cardinal Caffarra predicting that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” Not long after, Pope John Paul II was in the midst of his famous “Theology of the Body” talks on [...]

Pray That Pope Francis Re-Affirms Church Teaching on Marriage

Following the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in some particular churches there were published norms for its application and interpretations whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and the [...]

Can the Orthodox Way End the Divorce and Remarriage Debate?

On his flight back to Rome from World Youth Day in Brazil (2013), Pope Francis speaking about the season of mercy and the Church as a mother dispensing mercy, praised the pastoral practice of the Orthodox Churches on marriage and divorce, the pastoral care for the divorced and remarried Orthodox faithful and the possibility of [...]

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