Yesterday, I came across Deacon Jim Russell’s article over at Catholic Stand. A bit back I posted some reflections on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony: “What God has joined, men must not divide.” I noted that consent is the key to marriage. Deacon Russell shows us the importance of this truth in the face of cultural attacks on the sanctity of marriage.
We cannot give up defending of the sanctity of traditional marriage.
The teachings of the Church are like signs that point to the goal of true happiness. More than being signs, however, the teachings of the Church are our happiness. The moral teachings of the Church reflect Divine Wisdom. These teachings are not true for only Catholics–they are true for everybody!
If we allow ourselves to become ashamed of any of the Church’s teachings, we run the risk of ceasing to proclaim them in the public square. If we stop publicly professing the Church’s moral teachings, then it seems that the Church’s moral teaching bind only those who go to Mass on Sunday. Nothing could be further from the truth!
All of the Church’s teachings are true for everyone in the whole world–whether they recognize it or not.
Deacon Russell notes that if we give up on the public defense of marriage, “We will come face to face with the “dictatorship of relativism,” applied directly to Catholic truths about marriage as divine institution and as Sacrament.” It is a lie to think that the world is content to let Catholics do their own thing, while everyone else does something else. If we don’t try to convert the world, the world will convert us.
Marriage is a foundational building block of society. Losing sight of the good of marriage means that we would lose sight of ourselves. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) teaches that, “without the Creator the creature would disappear” (#36). For all of us who have been made friends of God by the Sacraments, we need to be beacons of truth in the midst of society that loves error. Without our proclamation of the truth, error will only increase.
With regards to marriage, Deacon Russell says succinctly:
Simply put, I say no. I say no to silently succumbing to state laws that defy God’s law regarding the one and only true thing that marriage is: a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman that, for the baptized, forms the core of the “domestic church”—the “ecclesia domestica”—the very mirror of the Mystical Union of Christ the Bridegroom and His Bride, the Church. If there is one thing we Catholics must rediscover and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to defend, it’s the great “yes” of a man and woman to God’s plan for marriage.