Rorate Caeli

Marriage between a man and a woman:
a non-negotiable value
Reject "pseudo-marriages"

None of us, in fact, belongs exclusively to himself or herself: one and all are therefore called to take on in their inmost depths their own public responsibility.

Marriage as an institution is thus not an undue interference of society or of authority. The external imposition of form on the most private reality of life is instead an intrinsic requirement of the covenant of conjugal love and of the depths of the human person.

Today, the various forms of the erosion of marriage, such as free unions and "trial marriage", and even pseudo-marriages between people of the same sex, are instead an expression of anarchic freedom that are wrongly made to pass as true human liberation. This pseudo-freedom is based on a trivialization of the body, which inevitably entails the trivialization of the person. Its premise is that the human being can do to himself or herself whatever he or she likes: thus, the body becomes a secondary thing that can be manipulated, from the human point of view, and used as one likes. Licentiousness, which passes for the discovery of the body and its value, is actually a dualism that makes the body despicable, placing it, so to speak, outside the person's authentic being and dignity.

When new forms of legislation are created which relativize marriage, the renouncement of the definitive bond obtains, as it were, also a juridical seal.

In this case, deciding for those who are already finding it far from easy becomes even more difficult. Then there is in addition, for the other type of couple, the relativization of the difference between the sexes.

The union of a man and a woman is being put on a par with the pairing of two people of the same sex, and tacitly confirms those fallacious theories that remove from the human person all the importance of masculinity and femininity, as though it were a question of the purely biological factor.

Such theories hold that man - that is, his intellect and his desire - would decide autonomously what he is or what he is not. In this, corporeity is scorned, with the consequence that the human being, in seeking to be emancipated from his body - from the "biological sphere" - ends by destroying himself.

If we tell ourselves that the Church ought not to interfere in such matters, we cannot but answer: are we not concerned with the human being? Do not believers, by virtue of the great culture of their faith, have the right to make a pronouncement on all this? Is it not their - our - duty to raise our voices to defend the human being, that creature who, precisely in the inseparable unity of body and spirit, is the image of God?
Benedict XVI
Christmas Address to the Roman Curia
December 22, 2006
[Human] love is the privileged path that God chose to reveal himself to man and in this love he calls human beings to communion in the Trinitarian life.

This approach enables us also to overcome a private conception of love that is so widespread today. Authentic love is transformed into a light that guides the whole of life towards its fullness, generating a society in which human beings can live. The communion of life and love which is marriage thus emerges as an authentic good for society.

Today, the need to avoid confusing marriage with other types of unions based on weak love is especially urgent. It is only the rock of total, irrevocable love between a man and a woman that can serve as the foundation on which to build a society that will become a home for all mankind.

...there are mounting threats to the natural composition of the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, and attempts to relativize it by giving it the same status as other radically different forms of union. All this offends and helps to destabilize the family by concealing its specific nature and its unique social role.
Benedict XVI
Address to the Diplomatic Corps
January 8, 2007 law made by man can override the norm written by the Creator without society becoming dramatically wounded in what constitutes its basic foundation. To forget this would mean to weaken the family, penalizing the children and rendering the future of society precarious.

Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms. These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29).


LeonG said...

Amen! Amen!

In connexion with the very significant points made by Pope Benedict XVI about "Worship pleasing to God [that] can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others" and "There [being] an objective connection here with the Eucharist" the following has to be deduced.

The Church must reaffirm the separate roles of men and women at The Holy Sacrifice of The Mass. The priest will always be a man and only men should be on the sanctuary at The Holy Mass. The Church must also reestablish fidelity to St Paul and The Church's customary observances of public decorum in church. Women must obey the necessity of head covering. They should keep silence and therefore stop reading The Epistle as they do. They should not be giving sermons or assisting at The Mass. There should also be absolute modesty of dress by both men and women. This would admirably assist in restoring some normality in the perspectives that many modern catholics have about public liturgical behaviour.

As it stands currently with the NO service there is a less than subtle encouragement for women to believe that one day they can become not only servers and acolytes but priests too if they appear often enough on the "worship space". This has to stop immediately as it has implications for human behaviour outside the church too. This is yet another manner in which Pope Paul VI's (RIP) liturgy has become subtly subversive.

Anonymous said...

Leong's comments are certainly thought provoking and I would have a tendency to agree with him.
I would like to hear from others, preferably the priests on this blog. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

B16 just doesn't get it.

Anonymous said...

Amen to Leong.

There is a reason the hem of the garment began its Great Unraveling in 1965.

Go ask Ahhnold.

~ Belloc

Athelstane said...

Pope Benedict's swim against the popular tide, but they are no less true for that.

Yesterday's decision by the California Supreme Court is the latest evidence that Catholics must face the possibility that, for the foreseeable future, the battle to retain a natural law understanding of marriage in the public sphere in the US is essentially lost. Other states will follow. There will be greater resistance in the heartland, but public opinion surveys show unmistakeable movement towards full acceptance of non-traditional unions.

(There is of course a ballot initiative to do an end run around the courts by defining marriage in traditional terms in the California constitution and which has 400,000 more signatures than required, and California Catholics shoudl work for its success - but one can't help but feel it may be a delaying action at best and a failure at worst.)

If that's the case, the Church must - as it is in Europe already - figure out how to survive in such an environment, and retain and promote the truth of its teaching. We may not end up in the catacombs, but we may be kicked off of most of Main Street.

Anonymous said...

I don't like it when Benedict speaks that a certain is non-negotiable, because he is impliying that there are negotiable values, and this is wrong. All values must be non-negotiable, since a value is a foundation of life.

Anonymous said...

Excellent collage of quotes from our great Holy Father!

Anonymous said...

I don't like it when Benedict speaks that a certain value is non-negotiable, because he is impliying that there are negotiable values, and this is wrong. All values must be non-negotiable, since a value is a foundation of life.

Anonymous said...

Society started going down a slippery slope towards the tolerance and acceptance of perverted sexual unions, with the call for "homosexual rights", based on the so-called "dignity of man".

Look up dignity of man in Scripture and in the Summa, and you will find virtually nothing that speaks of rights due to dignity of man.

A popular priest's blog even defended "homosexual rights", properly understood, of course! So he said.

Why coddle this particular type of sinner with assurance of rights?

Has anyone ever hear of abortionists' right? How about liar's rights? It is totally insane.

bedwere said...

Referring to Leong's comment, I think it is important to present the recovery of those traditions for what their purpose is: they are representing the Mystery/Sacrament of Christ and the Church using the relationship between the male sex and the female sex:
Christ is the head of the Church, man is the head of woman. The woman is flesh of man's flesh, as the Church is the Body of Christ. Christ's mystery is revealed in man, therefore a woman veils her head to veil the Mystery of Christ hidden in the Church, but nonetheless present.Christ is in fact one with the Church and gives His life for her, and so should do a husband for his wife, even if she's bad. The priest (male) represents Christ, the Bridegroom, offering Himself to the Father to sanctify His Church, the Bride. A woman cannot be a Bridegroom, cannot fulfill a priestly role: nothing wrong with that, since neither a man can be pregnant.
A woman has therefore no room in the sanctuary unless she is to be offered to God: in the consecrations of virgins, for example: St. Claire of Assisi touched the altar cloth to signify her resolution to be offered as a bride to Christ.
If we just say "You women shut up, cover your head, and out of the sanctuary!", it won't fly very well and rightly so.

LeonG said...

"if we just say "You women shut up, cover your head, and out of the sanctuary!"

No real Roman Catholic would be as uncharitable to say the obvious in such a manner. No where is this advocated. It is not my point here to unravel the minutiae of the theology of decorum in public worship. The Church has already done that most effectively over the course of its existence, that is until the disordered liberal mentality of the contemporary church set about feminizing us all. And they have been far less than charitable in doing so.

bedwere said...

My point is, Leong, that we must explain all these fine points all over again to the modern faithful, whether we like their mentality or not. Otherwise your top-down directions for the behavior and decorum of women and the assembly are going to be perceived as oppressive and totally rejected. The horses are out of the barn. Only if women appreciate the mystical significance of these gestures, only if they understand that they are praying in a more sublime way by covering their heads etc, there is a chance for these costumes to be revived.

Joe B said...

"You women shut up, cover your head, and out of the sanctuary!"

That's so neanderthalish. How about, "You women put that lectionary down gently, and slowly back out of the sanctuary while covering your head, and nobody needs to get hurt."

James said...

The Church seems like ever since 1789 it has been one losing battle after another, but at least we can be assured that ultimately we win the war.