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The Happy Priest on Defending Marriage

By Fr. James Farfaglia
September 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What America needs now more than ever is God.  A great spiritual renewal is urgently needed to keep us from falling further into the abyss of immorality and chaos.  However, a spiritual renewal must never excuse us from the political life of our country. 

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Our nation is presently challenged by many difficulties.  Not only is the threat of terrorism a daily source of anxiety and fear, the rapid unraveling of every sense of moral decency is alarming.  For almost four decades, the issue of abortion has been in the forefront of a cultural war.  The numbers of known legal abortions since Roe v. Wade is staggering to the imagination.

Aside from the continual killing of the unborn, marriage is under continual attack as well.  There is a constant push to redefine marriage.

Regarding same-sex marriage, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a comprehensive teaching on the subject.   Here is a brief summary. 

-    Marriage, as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including sexual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children.

-    Marriage is both a natural institution and a sacred union because it is rooted in the divine plan for creation. In addition, the Church teaches that the valid marriage of baptized Christians is a sacrament-a saving reality. Jesus Christ made marriage a symbol of his love for his Church (see Ephesians 5:25-33). This means that a sacramental marriage lets the world see, in human terms, something of the faithful, creative, abundant, and self-emptying love of Christ. A true marriage in the Lord with his grace will bring the spouses to holiness. Their love, manifested in fidelity, passion, fertility, generosity, sacrifice, forgiveness, and healing, makes known God's love in their family, communities, and society.

-    The natural structure of human sexuality makes man and woman complementary partners for the transmission of human life. Only a union of male and female can express the sexual complementarity willed by God for marriage. The permanent and exclusive commitment of marriage is the necessary context for the expression of sexual love intended by God both to serve the transmission of human life and to build up the bond between husband and wife.

-    For several reasons a same-sex union contradicts the nature of marriage: It is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female; it cannot cooperate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union. Persons in same-sex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is wrong to equate their relationship to a marriage.

-    Marriage is the fundamental pattern for male-female relationships. It contributes to society because it models the way in which women and men live interdependently and commit, for the whole of life, to seek the good of each other.

-    The marital union also provides the best conditions for raising children: namely, the stable, loving relationship of a mother and father present only in marriage. The state rightly recognizes this relationship as a public institution in its laws because the relationship makes a unique and essential contribution to the common good.

-    Laws play an educational role insofar as they shape patterns of thought and behavior, particularly about what is socially permissible and acceptable. In effect, giving same-sex unions the legal status of marriage would grant official public approval to homosexual activity and would treat it as if it were morally neutral.

-    When marriage is redefined so as to make other relationships equivalent to it, the institution of marriage is devalued and further weakened. The weakening of this basic institution at all levels and by various forces has already exacted too high a social cost.

-    To uphold God's intent for marriage, in which sexual relations have their proper and exclusive place, is not to offend the dignity of homosexual persons. Christians must give witness to the whole moral truth and oppose as immoral both homosexual acts and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons.

-    The state has an obligation to promote the family, which is rooted in marriage. Therefore, it can justly give married couples rights and benefits it does not extend to others. Ultimately, the stability and flourishing of society is dependent on the stability and flourishing of healthy family life.

Many seem overwhelmed by the overpowering challenges that a decadent culture presents for the full living out of the Gospel.  Nevertheless, we must never concede to the darkness that discouragement or despair may cause. 

Ronald Reagan understood the solution.  As he was sworn into office he placed his hand on the Bible that was owned by his devout Christian mother.  The Bible was marked to The Second Book of Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14 which was his favorite Scripture passage.

"If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land."

What America needs now more than ever is God.  A great spiritual renewal is urgently needed to keep us from falling further into the abyss of immorality and chaos.  However, a spiritual renewal must never excuse us from the political life of our country. 

We have a moral obligation to vote. We have a moral obligation to vote for those candidates who will best defend life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.  We have a moral obligation to vote for those candidates who will uphold the sanctity of marriage.  We have a moral obligation to vote for those candidates who will safeguard our religious liberty and freedom of conscience. 

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Father James Farfaglia, is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics.  You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org. 

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