It is always a good sign when people become aware of a problem, identify it, and begin to work toward its solution.
I subscribe to two news services covering the Church in Rome and throughout the world, and so am aware of the latest developments in the thought of our pope and bishops as well as various Catholic agencies throughout the world. And the greatest concern right now, I think it can be said without any hesitation, is the state of marriage within our world culture. Marriage is enormously important to the human race: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, and politically. God made us male and female. Our bodies and their functions proclaim that unmistakably. The primary reason for the diversity of the sexes is procreation, since God intended the human race to go on for centuries and millenia.
To assure that man and woman be attracted to one another for procreation, he implanted in our psychology the emotional differences between man and woman and their mutual attraction and desire. In order for man and woman to unite, to mate, to procreate, and to raise children properly, it is necessary for marriage to be monogamous, life-long, and indissoluble. This is the clear teaching of the Judaeo-Christian tradition as brought to its perfection by Our Lord Jesus Christ. And here, the problems begin to arise which have brought the family to the sorry state that we know to be the case today. To begin with, since marriage is seen in western society outside the Catholic Church as dissoluble at the will of the two parties, then no great care need be taken by them in preparation for marriage. If it works out well, they’ll stay together. If not, they’ll divorce and marry someone else. In the eyes of the Church, that attitude alone invalidates a marriage. And in the reality of society, it basically undermines marriage, since it robs marriage of any real commitment and obligation, and reduces it to a trial-and-error kind of thing, in which no great effort need be made to make it succeed.
So, one of the most important educational principles that parents can give their children is the tremendous importance of selecting a good spouse after very careful examination of one another’s personalities, beliefs, values, and plans for the future. Back in the days of fairly stable marriages, there was an old adage which said: Marry in haste; repent at leisure. Now, since marriage is not stable in many cases, the adage is no longer true. It would be more like: Marry in haste; divorce easily, and then remarry a little sadder but wiser. I will speak more about this tomorrow. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.