Marriage. As if it were not in enough trouble, we have another legal challenge to Proposition 8 in California—this time from a judge. It is interesting that when one line of 'reasoning' is lost, we just change the reasoning. Unfortunately in this case, we are simply reorganizing the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Born in the fifties....all of my adult life has been spent hearing all the reasons why marriage isn't necessary. After all, the argument went...'..it's just a piece of paper'. Suddenly, marriage is all the rage---for the gay and lesbian community. Meanwhile, young people raised in the Church have a new vision of the 'perfect wedding'.....on the beach.
Now, I'm not a betting person. But, I'd be willing to bet all I own on the fact that all of this Constitutional wrangling on same-sex marriage is mere window dressing. Ah, but their eye is on the prize. These folks (the ‘activists’) will not rest with 'marriage' being legalized. We will begin to hear the sad, sad tales of Jim and Ken, raised in the Church and now being denied the very thing that all of their lives they have been taught was important: sacramental marriage.
You see, it has been a very long time since we actually 'thought'. We are now a nation driven by emotion. Every situation, every difficulty is presented in a way that pulls at the heart...not the head. How far down this road will we see 'demands' being made of churches to cooperate with what is 'law', or lose their tax-exempt status? Doors closed. Case closed. Now the only voice standing between their appetites and their conquest has been silenced.
It is not only this challenge that is besetting marriage. The majority of our Catholic heterosexual couples live together before marriage--no less an affront to God's plan. The divorce rate within the Church is virtually indistinguishable from those in the culture at large. I’ve read much on all of this that amounts to hand wringing about the culture ‘taking’ our children. Were they taken, or did we simply let go of our God-given responsibility to defend the faith?
When a son or daughter comes to us with their plans to marry at the beach (or a park, mountainside, garden, etc.), do we defend the Church’s teaching that the best place for this sacrament to take place for baptized Catholics is not out in creation somewhere, but inside the Church in the very Presence of Christ, the Creator? Or, do we acquiesce—just go along to get along. Do they understand the Real Presence? Do we? What a perfect time for a substantive conversation on what ‘Church’ means.
This is not always an easy conversation to have. Of our three children, two have chosen to live with their fiancé before marriage. I think both would say that without doubt, they knew where we stood. They each had their own reasons for the decision they made. For our part, there was never a thought that this would end our relationship—I cannot imagine anything more absurd! We love them. Does God end His relationship with me each time I don't live up to His best for me? Thankfully, He does not.
Our unwillingness to speak to the issue with our families for fear that it will do harm to the relationship speaks volumes about where we are personally with our faith walk. Unfortunately, when we don’t it isn’t the relationship per se that is harmed—it is their respect for us and for the Church in which we have raised them. Further, an unwillingness to approach our families with these issues does not bode well for those on the outside that desperately need to hear that God loves them and wants them to live with Him for eternity…”..come let us reason together”.
Perhaps this conversation about marriage and what it means will be good for our nation. But it can only be a conversation if we in the pews and the pulpits step up, study up and speak up for God and His word boldly and with great love.