Rorate Caeli

The Council and the Eclipse of God by Don Pietro Leone – SECTION II – CHAPTER VI - MAN– second part– Man’s Choice of Life - MARRIAGE


At the end of this second part addressing the effects of the Council’s teaching on Catholic Marriage, Don Pietro highlights ten points of variance between Traditional and Council teaching, placing the former teaching in first place and the latter in second place.                                                                                                    

1.     The Equality of the Spouses


i) ‘The unity of marriage, confirmed by Our Lord, is clearly apparent in the equal personal dignity which is accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection.’ (GS 49, see also GS 29 [1]);


ii)‘The mother, too, has a central role in the home…; this role must be safeguarded without, however, underrating the woman’s legitimate social advancement’ (GS 52)


In Familiaris Consortio, section19, text (i) is quoted by Pope John Paul II, and in the same Encyclical (s. 22) the Pope states: ‘The equal dignity and responsibility of women with men is realized in mutual self-giving.’ The equal personal dignity expressed in these texts is taken by him as the ground for placing the husband and wife on the same level tout court, at the cost of the authority of the husband. Church Tradition, deriving from St. Paul [2], had, by contrast, always considered the husband as the head of the wife and of the family. We read in Arcanum for example [3]: ‘The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife.’ The Pope, without denying the traditional doctrine explicitly, passes it over in silence and substitutes it with a new vision of things.


In the ‘Theology of the Body’ Discourse of August 11th 1982 the Pope justifies this new vision of the equality of the spouses on the basis of a difference of ‘contemporary sensitivity’, a difference of ‘mentality and custom’ and of the ‘social position of women in regard to men’ (as already expressed in text (ii) above). As we asked in our essay ‘The Church and Asmodeus’: Is the husband no longer head of the wife as Christ is Head of the Church? Have St. Paul and Tradition been put in second place to the modern world, and Truth to sensitivity?


Text (ii) promotes the woman’s social advancement, as a text of Apostolicam actuositatem (9) promotes her apostolate in the Church generally on the basis of the fact that ‘in our days women are taking an increasingly active share in the entire life of society.’ These, amongst a number of other conciliar texts, promote the active life for women, so drawing women away from their duty to bear and raise children in a Christian manner, which Pius XI had described as: ‘a most grave abuse to be abolished at all cost’ [4]



2.      Vocation to Marriage


‘ [children should be educated to]… be able to follow their vocation, including a religious vocation… Priests should… nurture the vocation of married people.’ (GS 52).


Here the term ‘vocation’ is used equally of the religious life and of marriage. This is a further novelty which, by placing the religious and married life on the same level, blurs the distinction between the supernatural and natural orders, tending to elevate marriage to a higher order than is its due. As we have observed elsewhere [5], the two senses of vocation are distinct in the following ways: the former is a personal call from outside oneself, i.e. immediately from God, in order absolutely to transcend the possibilities of human nature; the latter is an instinct of human nature, and therefore only mediately from God, in order to realize a possibility of that same nature. 



3.     ‘Sex Education’


‘Children and young people… As they grow older they should receive a positive and prudent sex education’ (Gravissimum Educationis 1) [6].


This text, which also recommends development of the said children and young people ‘in the pursuit of liberty’, contradicts the dispositions of Pope Pius XI in Divini illius Magistri (1929) and Pope Pius XII in his ‘Allocution to Fathers of Families’ (1951) which require that such education be given by educators and parents in private [7].


How indeed can one rely on public schools to teach such delicate matters in an appropriate way? We have seen in recent years how eagerly even Catholic schools have put into practice such irrational and pernicious theories as the ‘gender “ideology” ’. What sort of maturity are we ascribing to the children? Do we think of them as mature as the children in Hesiod’s evil and burdensome Iron Age, born with gray hair on their temples? And have the Council Fathers shown themselves any more paternal, modest, sagacious or realitaetsnahe than Aristophanes’ beard-sporting women Councillors, the Ecclesiazousae?   



Conclusion to Section A


To show how far Traditional, that is to say Catholic, marriage doctrine contrasts with that of the Council, we shall in the following table present ten points of variance between Traditional and Council teaching, placing the former teaching in first place and the latter in second place:



       i)   The nature of marriage:


a)                 a spiritual bond,

b)                a partnership of life and love;


ii)                The primary end of marriage:


a)                 procreation and education,

b)                married love (implicitly);


iii)              The dignity of married love:


a)                 its symbolization of Christ’s love for His Church,

b)                its sexuality (principally);


iv)              The nature of married love:


a)                 mutual assistance,

b)                sexual union;


v)                The correct attitude of spouses regarding procreation:


a)                 generosity,

b)                responsibility;


vi)              The Church’s assessment of artificial contraception:


a)                 explicit condemnation,

b)                no explicit condemnation;


vii)            The authority of the husband:


a)                 the husband is head of the wife and of the family after the model of Christ,

b)                the husband is on the same level as the wife;


viii)         The role of the married woman:


a)                 wife and mother;

b)                the combination of family life with active life outside the home;


ix)              The object of vocation:


       a)        the consecrated life alone,

 b)        either consecrated life or marriage;


x)                 Public ‘sex education’:


a)         explicitly condemned;

b)         explicitly promoted.


We view as the most remarkable features of the new marital doctrine its naturalism and eroticism.


By its naturalism we mean:


-          its scant interest for the sacramentality and Christological dimension of marriage;

-          its consequent suppression of teaching on the husband’s headship of the wife and of the family after the example of Christ;

-          its reduction of the essentially supernatural orientation to consecrated life to the essentially natural orientation to marriage.


By its eroticism, we mean its preoccupation with love and sexuality at the expense of the Natural Law in the following fields:


-               - procreation;

-                   -   mutual assistance;

-              - contraception; and

-                    -   education.


In the post-conciliar years we shall see an intensification of this eroticism, as ‘love’ advances ever further into the foreground in Humanae Vitae, in the new rite of marriage [8], in the teachings of Pope John Paul II, in Canon Law, and in the New Catechism (the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’), until it is explicitly lent the primacy over procreation in Amoris Laetitia (see above). The latter document is equally remarkable for its macabre posturings in face of the ‘Gender’ theory and of pre-marital ‘love’ [9]. Sexual love hereby attains a status not far different from that which it enjoys in the World.


By according primacy to sexual love in marriage, the Magisterium implicitly deifies it, lending it the perfection of existing for its own sake which belongs to God alone. This deification will be yet more clearly manifest in subsequent years: on the doctrinal level in ‘Theology of the Body’ (see the essay referred to in the last footnote), and on the spiritual level in the veneration of a ‘fertility goddess’ in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome [10].





[1] ‘All women and men are endowed with a rational soul and are created in God’s image; they have the same nature and origin and, being redeemed by Christ, they enjoy the same divine calling… there is here a basic equality between all…’ 

[2] Eph. 5.23

[3] D 3143

[4] Quadragesimo Anno AAS 23

[5] amongst other places, in ‘Family under Attack’ , Appendix A on ‘Theology of the Body’

[6] we recall the initiative to form school-children ‘at all levels’ in the use of the media in Inter mirifica (16) above, without reference to any inherent moral danger in such formation.

[7] for the spirit of purity still characteristic of Catholicism under such venerable Supreme Pontiffs we refer to the hymn Vexilla Christus which we have quoted in chapter IV above in our discussion of Christ the King.

[8] see the footnote in chapter I above, quoting from the book Lex Orandi by Graham Leonard

[9] Amoris Laetitiae (ss. 280-4): see ‘The Church and Asmodeus’ for this development, on the site Rorate Caeli

[10] which may be seen as the act of sacrilege that unleashed the ‘corona virus’ and the vaccination, see chapter 10 below