In Shakespeare’s famous line, we are told that the perfume of a rose will smell just as pleasing no matter by what name one chooses to call the flower. Recently, the District of Columbia passed a law granting the name “marriage” to relationships built around the practice of unnatural fornication or sodomy. But using a good word such as “marriage” to describe this evil choice will not change the reality behind it. Using the word marriage won’t make such subhuman behavior any more acceptable to God or those who love God and His law. Sodomy by any other name is still unnatural, destructive, and sinful.
Human life and dignity are under attack in our day in many ways, and this attack is disguised under sweetsmelling names like “choice,” “marriage,” “love,” and “mercy-killing.” This latest attack on God and the sign of Christ’s love for His Church in the sacramental bond only man and woman can share in Holy Matrimony is merely a symptom of the ancient rebellion of man against God with the help of the Evil One.
Marriage itself was designed by God to return His love and order to the life of man and woman after original sin.
“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; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament” ( Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1601).
A man turned inward toward another man or a woman turned inward toward another woman cannot express authentic, that is, divine and life-giving love as does Christ who is Love itself and who demonstrates true love for us by, not turning inward toward His own image and likeness, but by pouring Himself out for His spouse, the Church, to give her His own life and love.
“The Sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved His Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life [cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799]” ( CCC, n. 1661).
The embrace of artificial methods of contraception is one of the roots of the modern “divorce” of the idea of marriage from the good of bearing children. Contraceptive sodomy led very quickly to other forms of sodomy which more and more passed for marriage in the popular imagination. The truth that children arise from the mutual self- giving of the spouses, from within marriage itself except in cases of infertility which is not the fault of the spouses, must be at the heart of a return to the truth about marriage and family life.
“Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which is ‘on the side of life,’ teaches that ‘it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life.’ ‘This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act’” ( CCC,
Only man and woman can turn toward one another in the marital act in a loving way, because only they can hope to cooperate with God and generously bring new life into the world. This mutual self-giving is necessary, not incidental, to marriage.
“The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.
“The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity” ( CCC, n. 2363).
The Church is pro-marriage in every sense of the word, affirming every gift of this God-given bond exclusive to man and woman alone. And the Church never compromises on this gift, proclaiming the truth about married love serenely and consistently.
“ ‘The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.’ Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure: “ ‘The Creator Himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation’ [Pius XII, Discourse, October 29, 1951]” ( CCC, n. 2362).
( Visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy at mcitl.blogspot.com for teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church paired with the Scriptures of Holy Mass for every day of the week.)
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