Thursday, October 07, 2004

Threats to marriage

Threats to marriage

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Wednesday, October 6, 2004 10:24 PM

The other day, I came across a piece by Fr. Roy Cimagala that caught my eye. Father Roy had a lot of interesting points that I believe are relevant to our society in our day.

He writes about marriage and how it is evolving. Sadly, many of the changes are not good for the institution as we have known it.

1. “It’s something that we should not take for granted. The institutions of marriage and family, as we know them in the original, i.e., as taught by natural law and by the Catholic Church, should be defended and protected.

2. “There are tendencies springing sporadically at the moment in many places, and even right here in our country, that tend to undermine the very nature of these basic elements in our lives.

3. “We have to keep in mind that once these institutions are denatured, some radical transformation in the lives of both individual persons and society in general, will also take place.

4. “We can see this quite clearly in the experiences of people and societies where the nature of marriage and family has been watered down, contaminated, if not severely compromised.

5. “The concepts of love and commitment, for example, have gone very far away from their original meaning. Love is not so much of self-giving as the pursuit of self-satisfaction now.

6. “Commitment now seems incapable of existing without external conditions. The sense of commitment that is absolute, that is until death, that goes on “for richer, for poorer, in health or in sickness” is disappearing.”

He’s right. There is no question about it. Our traditional ideas about marriage are changing fast because of a number of reasons.

Among them is the fact that we are becoming a global village. New ideas and influences are flashing across the world and into our homes in seconds. Telecommunications and the Internet are not only transforming the way we live, they are changing the way we think about many things. Two of those are love and marriage.

And as we live longer than ever before, the idea of loving “till death do us part” is becoming more of a challenge as time passes.

The growing acceptance of living in and separation (divorce elsewhere) is loosening the moral standards as we have known them. Even if living in is not new to this country, it is much more accepted than ever before.

“Worse,” says Father Roy, “there are now some political leaders, who even question the objectivity of natural law and the authority of the Catholic Church to talk about marriage and family.

7. “They offer instead their own ideas, mostly based on abnormal situations, then start to rationalize certain practices that are usually regarded as aberrations.

8. “We should all feel the urgent need to defend and protect the true nature of marriage and family, and everything that contributes to the vitality of these two fundamental situations.

9. “There has to be better coordination and organization among all people concerned so that this aim can be effectively pursued.

Especially now when we face some smart-alecky persons who glibly promote antimarriage and antifamily things, we need people who can charitably and truthfully expose their fallacies.

10. “I was impressed by the initiative of an American couple who put up what is now known as the Alexander House in Austin, Texas. Greg and Julie Alexander started it three years ago after they themselves bounced back from the brink of divorce and discovered the power of the sacrament of marriage.

11. “The couple has made one interesting observation to describe the crisis of marriage and family in the US today.

12. “‘Marriage continues to decline,’ Greg says, ‘because we have moved so far away from God’s original intention for marriage. We have traded in God’s plan for something more in vogue, more modern or more politically correct. We are bombarded with messages from society that degrade the beauty of marriage.’

“Let us reflect a little on his observation, a result of lived experience of a couple who have gone to the edge and have managed to come back to safety.”


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