What the world perceives as good is threatening to crumble the very foundation of our society and what it means to be created male and female. One of these false goods is the idea that the Redefinition of Marriage is something good. In this guide series installment, let us look at how our culture is embracing this idea as something good, when in fact it is an idea that is bound to slowly destroy any culture that embraces it.
Back in 2005 when marriage was legally redefined in Canada, I couldn’t have cared less if governments decided to redefine marriage. Personally, I supported traditional marriage between one man and one woman, but I didn’t feel it mattered if this definition was legally changed for civil marriages. Perhaps you don’t think Redefining Marriage is a big deal either. At the time, I thought about it in three ways:
- First, I felt that the main motive of same-sex couples was to obtain the same legal privileges, protection, and benefits of married or common-law couples. I thought it was only fair to let same-sex couples benefit legally as other couples did.
- The second was that I didn’t have much respect for “civil” marriages anyways, since marriage is not a civil institution, but one that comes from God Himself, and one that is only valid through baptism as a Sacrament instituted by Jesus. I didn’t care what the government did because I knew that the Church held to the true definition of marriage, from which she would not sway (but she has and will continue to face pressure).
- My third thought was that letting same-sex couples get “married” would ultimately do no major harm, as these couples could never procreate anyways – so they wouldn’t be passing on their ideologies to any children. I thought surely that the same-sex marriage movement would be satisfied with this new legalized inclusion and that these couples would carry out their lives without impacting mine.
In time, I came to know that I was gravely mistaken. The definition of marriage DOES matter, civilly or otherwise, and it DOES matter that we take a much more firm stance on what marriage is and that we continue to hold this firm stance, despite the sway of the governments around us. Here is why each of my three original perceptions has changed:
- Think about why governments bestow certain legal benefits and privileges upon married couples. Could it be that these types of tax breaks or benefits are set in place as a way to support families in a world where it is more and more economically straining to raise a family of children? When you boil it down, these legal benefits, protections, and privileges for married couples ultimately look out for the interest and protection of children, so as to allow parents to provide stability and opportunity to their children (marriage, by the way, is something that simply cannot be disconnected from families, and procreation for that matter). It is in the best interest for the state to support married couples and their families, because families are where citizens come from! It is simply a mockery to traditional marriage to give the same legal privileges and benefits to couples that will biologically never be fruitful. (And I don’t mean truly married couples who desire, but cannot conceive children). Essentially, children (morally conceived) are being removed from the definition, which not only undermines marriage, but is also a great disservice to children.
- Next, I realized that it actually is harmful to the state itself to change the definition of what constitutes “civil” marriage. As I mentioned, the Church recognizes that marriage is an institution that actually comes from God and that He has really embedded it into our very nature as man and woman (CCC 1603). The state did not create marriage, but it has in its best interest to uphold it, thus “civil” marriage can be a very good thing. Traditionally defined civil marriage has at its core the task of looking out for the rights of children to have both parents supporting them. It is in the interest of the state to do so because marriage is what obligates husbands and wives who choose to have children to take primary responsibility for their children so that the state doesn’t have to. Moreover, as mentioned, marriage is where citizens come from, and marriage provides those citizens with the best upbringing environment. The family unit is the foundational building block of society itself. Marriage is the institution upon which the family is built. When marriage is misdefined, then marriage is unhealthy. When marriage is unhealthy, then families are unhealthy. And when families are sickly, then society will also be sick. That is why it is in the state’s best interest to ensure that marriage is not redefined. If governments were to ask what the best social policy is, I would tell them to uphold traditional marriage and the family.
- Lastly, I had thought that same-sex couples would be content married, together and alone. Little did I know that same-sex couples would use adoption and (immoral) alternative fertility techniques to raise children in a “family” AND that they would find ways to pass their ideologies on to my children. It is in the nature of the marriage bond for the couple to seek fullness of purpose through the raising of children, and even though same-sex couples can’t biologically carry out the task of procreation, with the Redefinition of Marriage comes the entitlement to children. Many will argue that a child’s parental upbringing makes no difference, but time will tell that this is false. Just consider this: EVERY child HAS a mother and a father and is created in an act that participates in God’s creative will. At the end of the day, the tragedy of same-sex families is that children are the victims, for their natural right to a mother and father within a supportive marriage is being violated. Redefining Marriage ensures that adult rights trump children’s rights yet again (consider also divorce, abortion, and even assisted suicide in some countries).
Now, you may note that I did not refer specifically to “Same-Sex” or “Gay” marriage in my title, and this is intentional. While we currently associate the Redefinition of Marriage with so called Same-Sex Marriage, I want the title to stress the fact that ANY union of a human to another human, humans, or non-human that is not an exclusive union of a man and a woman can never be called marriage. Redefining Marriage to include any alternative undermines the reality of marriage, and in doing so, cuts to the heart of society itself. Moreover, it causes society and the culture to accept a definition of marriage that is simply not true.
It is not hard to see that marriage is under attack from all directions, but when you attack the definition, you attack the heart. What is that definition? The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring (CCC 1601). Marriage is a union of a man and a woman who freely consent to love each other in an exclusive way by totally committing their lives to one another with an openness to conceiving children. This is marriage in its best case scenario (especially if between baptized people as it becomes a Sacrament). A redefinition of marriage would just state that marriage is an adult’s consent to love someone (mutually) or something because it is a civil right for one to love whomever and whatever one chooses. As we have seen, this is a definition that ignores the deeper and unchanging realities of what marriage actually is, as designed by our Creator. It ignores procreation and the dignity of our call to be fruitful. Instead it prefers adult sexual intimacy and makes marriage sterile, especially within same-sex relations. Blinded by the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification, our culture refuses to see the whole truth. Sadly, while intending to make marriage more, any Redefinition of Marriage actually makes marriage less than what it truly is.
Gentlemen, the Redefinition of Marriage is yet another wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is an evil that will destroy the heart of society itself, marriage and the family. I’m here to make a point that it is up to us, Catholic Gentlemen, to stand up and call evil by its name. It is our duty to be a voice to defend marriage and to live our lives with the conviction that marriage is valuable. If you’re a husband, then seek to BE one that upholds the dignity of your marriage, your bride, and your family, because you are under attack. If you are not a husband, then pray for all husbands and fathers out there, for they are on the front lines as living testaments to the true marriage as instituted by God Himself. Whatever your state in life, as Catholic Gentlemen, it is our duty more than ever to be vigilant and watchful while we cling to what is true. Truly, God must be our strength as we call evil by its name and face it head on.
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
– Saint Pope John Paul II
~ The Catholic Gentleman's Guide