Wednesday 1st July 2015

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Marriage As Meaningless

January 15, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

A colleague in philosophy who taught at the same university in Canada where I labored for many years achieved the nadir of cynicism when he had this to say about marriage:
“Marriage is an archaic institution that has lost its moral force. But if we wish to provide a healthy, loving environment in which to reproduce our species, we’d better think up something quick to replace it.”
Obviously, he finds marriage in the modern world to be meaningless. He avoided, however, directing such cynicism to his own profession. He did not say, “The university is an archaic institution that has lost its intellectual force. If we want our young people to be properly educated in a creative atmosphere, we had better think of a more effective form of education, and fast.”
Now I fully understand how any sensible person would dismiss this view as the ranting of a very desperate person who knows nothing of marriage, love, or family life (though that does not prevent him from getting published). Nonetheless, I find it most intriguing because it provides a kind of window to Bedlam, a valuable insight into the mind of a misguided secular world.
The fundamental error here, at the core of several peripheral errors, rests on confusing structure with content. If there have been failures in marriage, is it because of the institution of marriage, or because of married couples themselves? Marxist philosophers put the blame for things going awry on systems or structures rather than on people.
Yet, to take a more commonsense view, when a person consumes too much alcohol and then drives his car into a tree, we usually blame the driver and not the vehicle for the mishap. Hence, the popular expression, “Don’t drink and drive” lays the blame on the driver and urges more responsibility. It is not the structure of the vehicle that is at fault, but the one who operates it.
Aristotle, whose ethics is a model of common sense, understood the naturalness and the primacy of marriage. “The friendship between man and wife,” he wrote, “seems to be inherent in us by nature.” For “man is an animal more inclined by nature to connubial than political society” (Nicomachean Ethics, vol. VIII, 12, 1162a). In a marvelous understatement, the great disciple of Plato is pointing out that since nature precedes politics, marriage provides a stronger and more intimate interpersonal bond than does politics or, in fact, any other kind of arrangement.
Scripture adds that the bond between husband and wife is sufficiently intimate that it is properly characterized as “two-in-one-flesh.”
Moreover, children are conceived as the incarnation of the intimate love between husband and wife. There are no other bonds that are more intimate than those between husband and wife, parents and children.
Consequently, there cannot be another form of conceiving and raising children that would be naturally superior to marriage.
Marriage is not something that can be separated from the married couples. The married partners themselves will determine whether their marriage will succeed or fail. There is no magic structure that will guarantee connubial bliss. Prospects for a successful marriage lie in the awesome responsibility between husband and wife.
In the world of computers, we can distinguish between “hardware” and “software.” A failure in the hardware department (such as a breakdown of the “hard drive”) can have an adverse effect on the software. But in a true marriage, the unity of the partners does not allow a comparable distinction to be made.
Furthermore, children born to married couples are not raised in an “environment,” but in a family. Nor do we “reproduce our species,” a rather cold-blooded biological expression, but we procreate individual human beings. Nor is it even remotely possible that we could replace marriage with something better, let alone do it quickly. Under the inconceivable circumstances that our misguided philosopher proposes, it is hardly likely that “love” would flourish. His notion of love is purely sentimental.
Finally, referring to marriage as “archaic” does a great injustice to the many married couples who are living in the present world and are both enjoying their married state and raising fine, healthy children.
It is always easier to blame the structure than ourselves, curse the stars rather than take responsibility for our actions. Marriage is demanding. It is not like a player piano that is programmed to play by itself. It is more like a real piano that demands commitment, practice, and patience, before it produces beautiful music. A person should not blame the piano if he has a tin ear. Nor should anyone fault the institution of marriage for a married couple’s lack of responsibility.
Rather than put the blame on marriage, we should strive to make good the promise inherent in the prototype.

+    +    +

(Donald DeMarco is a senior fellow of Human Life International. He is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., and a regular columnist for St. Austin Review. Some of his recent writings may be found at Human Life International’s Truth & Charity Forum.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare subsidies

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld ObamaCare subsidies nationwide, in the second major court victory for President Obama on his signature health care law. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that subsidies are valid even in states that did…Continue Reading

Synod on the Family’s working document sets the stage for spirited discussion

Vatican City, Jun 24, 2015 / 12:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- That the discussion at October’s Synod on the Family is going to be a lively one is indicated by the fact that the most controversial paragraphs of the final report…Continue Reading

Abortion Drone Will Fly Dangerous Abortion Pills to Poland to Violate Its Pro-Life Laws

drone

The pro-abortion organization that formerly ran the abortion boat that distributed the dangerous abortion pill in international waters outside pro-life nations that protect unborn children has come up with a new marketing scheme to push abortion in pro-life nations: drones.…Continue Reading

St. Louis’ Catholic Archbishop Carlson discusses same-sex marriage, clergy sex abuse, racism, more

At their annual spring meeting held in St. Louis last week, U.S Catholic bishops discussed several issues currently facing the Catholic Church, including: the clergy sex abuse scandal, what the Church sees as challenges to marriage, and the pope’s upcoming…Continue Reading

Nienstedt resigns; New Jersey bishop named interim head of Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Archbishop John Nienstedt has resigned in the wake of criminal charges against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for its “role in failing to protect children and contribution to the unspeakable harm” experienced by victims in priest sex-abuse cases. Nienstedt says…Continue Reading

Priests needed: As Church growth explodes worldwide, parishes can’t keep up

Washington D.C., Jun 12, 2015 / 05:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The global Catholic population is growing – so quickly, in fact, that priest and parish numbers cannot keep up, says a new study on trends in the worldwide Church. And…Continue Reading

Cardinal Kasper hints at new ‘Vatican II’ strategy to gain approval of Communion proposal

June 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – In the face of increasing opposition to his plan to approve giving Holy Communion to people who are in adulterous remarriages, Cardinal Walter Kasper is hinting at a new “Vatican II” strategy for accomplishing his…Continue Reading

No Law Can Be Based on Injustice

In 2010, the United States Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was designed by President Obama and Congressional leaders to expand access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance coverage in the United States. After the law…Continue Reading

Cardinal: Divorced and remarried Catholics need support for conversion, not changes on communion

Catholics who have divorced and remarried need help for the “difficult climb” of conversion and spiritual growth, not a change in Church practice on the reception of Holy Communion, a prominent cardinal said. Cardinal Ennio Antonelli summarized the advice of…Continue Reading

Obama: Without Catholic Nun We Would Not Have Gotten Obamacare Done

(CNSNews.com) – While addressing the Catholic Health Association Conference in Washington, D.C., yesterday, President Barack Obama said that the Affordable Care Act—AKA Obamacare—would not have been enacted had it not been for Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic…Continue Reading

Cardinal Kasper Backpedals on Papal Endorsement of Controversial Proposal

Almost single-handedly one cleric has turned the Church’s teaching on Communion, marriage and divorce into an international debate. For decades, German Cardinal Walter Kasper has promoted a proposal to allow divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics to receive holy Communion after a period of…Continue Reading

The Body God Gave Us Doesn’t Lie

The latest tragic twist in the “Bruce Jenner saga” (more on that below) illustrates yet again one of the great errors of our day: the rejection of the truth that our bodies have something to tell us about who we are and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Cardinal Turkson on Laudato si’ and children

pope798

(Vatican Radio) Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, on Tuesday addressed UNICEF House at the United Nations in New York. He spoke about the new Encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato si’, and how it relates to children.   The full text of Cardinal Turkson’s remarks are blow   Remarks on Laudato si’ to Child-Focused Agencies UNICEF House, 30 June 2015 Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, President, Pontifical Council for…Continue Reading

U.S. decision to legalize same-sex “marriages” godless, sinful – Russian Church

Moscow, June 29, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church has appealed to all Russian advocates of the American model of governance, asking them to think twice about the consequences of the United States’ decision to legalize same-sex “marriages”. “The people who are into ‘democracy the American way’ and trying to reconcile it with traditional values need to think hard after this decision,” the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod…Continue Reading

Fr. Z Blog . . . Congratulations To His Eminence Cardinal Burke . . .

Today is His Eminence Raymond Card. Burke’s 40th anniversary of ordination to the sacred priesthood.  He was, I believe, ordained by Paul VI. That was a good day for the Church. Card. Burke is one of the kindest men alive and a great scholar of Holy Church’s law. I am sure that all of you will stop, right now, and say a prayer for him.

Saint John Paull II (2003) . . . Clear And Emphatic Opposition Is A Duty

johnp

Thanks to Lifesitenews for this graphic CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS  

Protecting Hatred Preserves Freedom

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO The tragedy of a mass murder in Charleston, S.C., obviously motivated by racial hatred, has raised anew the issue of the lawfulness of the state expressing an opinion by flying a Confederate flag at the statehouse, and the constitutionality of the use of the First Amendment to protect hate speech and…Continue Reading

NATO-Russia Collision Ahead?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “U.S. Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in East Europe: A Message to Russia,” ran the headline in The New York Times. “In a significant move to deter possible Russian aggression in Europe, the Pentagon is poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and other heavy weapons for as many as…Continue Reading

The Myth Of Autonomy

By DONALD DeMARCO I Never Sang for My Father, a 1970 film based on Robert Anderson’s play by the same name, features a father who identifies himself as a “self-made man” who struggled hard for everything he achieved. Toward the end of the play, the father, now elderly and incapacitated, offers a desperate declaration of…Continue Reading

More On The Particular Judgment

By JAMES LIKOUDIS As pointed out in a previous article (The Wanderer, July 3, 2014, p. 8B), the “silence regarding this particular dogma from all too many pulpits together with funeral Masses that focus on celebrating the life of the deceased and are replete with eulogies (amounting to instant canonization) have tended to make the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah Says . . . Allowing Communion For Divorced And Remarried “Insults Christ”

By MARY JONES ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Robert Cardinal Sarah, the highly respected prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican, appointed in 2014 by Pope Francis, has made it abundantly clear since last October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family that any attempt to detach Catholic teaching from…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

National Mass Recalls Anniversary of St. Columbanus… “Why Are You So Frightened, You Men Of Little Faith?”

ARMAGH, Northern Ireland (ZENIT) — A national Mass of Thanksgiving to mark the 14th centenary of St. Columbanus was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh on Sunday, June 21. Opening remarks were given by Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, and the homily was given by Fr. Neil Collins. Following are the texts of both, provided by ZENIT News Agency.…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… Refuting Objections To The Spiritual Soul’s Existence

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 The reader will have noticed the progression of thinking in this new series of articles in The Wanderer: Instead of dealing with various topics rather randomly, the section consists of a series of articles in the format of lessons within a course. So, the first topic was the most basic one, that is,…Continue Reading

The Four Marks Of The Church — Holiness

By DON FIER For the past two weeks, we have been unpacking the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on the first of her four marks, that she is one. Our Lord left no room for uncertainty when He said, “There shall be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16), nor did St. Paul when he proclaimed that…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Commenting on the Bruce Jenner fiasco in his usually perceptive way, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City said in a recent bulletin: “Anyone who can remain awake listening to the conversations of sedentary former athletes on ESPN is perhaps unable to think clearly on any subject of significance, but the declaration…Continue Reading

Prophets Among Us

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Ezek. 2:2-5 2 Cor. 12:7-10 Mark 6:1-6 In the Gospel reading today our Lord says that a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin. The obvious problem is that those people know the prophet and have known him since he…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Josemaria Escriva

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 With the outbreak of civil war in Spain and the attack on the Catholic Church, many priests and religious were martyred. The existing government changed the constitution to legalize persecution of the Church by closing Catholic schools, ceasing reparation payments, and suppressing religious discussion. Among other things, this helped lead to the secularization of society…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Josemaria Escriva

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 God, in His loving Providence and perfect timing, gives the Church holy men and women to guide the Mystical Body of Christ. During the chaos of the Protestant revolt, he provided St. Ignatius and St. Teresa of Avila. At the beginning of the 20th century, as the lay faithful were being called to participate in…Continue Reading