Facts about the marriage amendment - Questions about marriage
Questions about marriage
Does the Bible say marriage is for a man and a woman?
Marriage between a man and a woman was instituted by God with Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:24 states: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."
In Matthew 19:4-5 we see Jesus reaffirming this: "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one'?"
— Catholic Answers
Marriage: An encounter with the Living Christ
Marriage can't be anything we choose it to be because marriage is sacred, meaning it is something set apart for God. Marriage comes from God, and it is meant to lead us closer to Him.
By His teaching on marriage, by the blessing of marriage with His presence at the wedding feast of Cana, and through the Church He founded, Jesus elevated marriage to a sacrament.
What does that mean?
Every sacrament is a transforming encounter with the living Christ and a means of receiving grace, the very life of God. In the sacrament of marriage, husband and wife have an ongoing source of grace open to them by which they can each grow in holiness and find the strength, wisdom and love necessary to live out their vows. Their human communion is "confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1644).
Marriage is also a vocation, a call from God to seek holiness in a particular way, in a particular state of life, and with a particular person.
This truth has been largely lost today.
Although a vast majority of Americans profess belief in God, many do not consider God's will when entering marriage but see it simply as a personal choice, one that can be changed "if things don't work out." But human marriage, because it is an image of the marriage of Christ and His Church, is meant to be faithful, lasting and fruitful. Regarding fruitfulness, while not all couples are able to have children, all are called to be open to life and to be spiritually fruitful.
When husband and wife come together in holy matrimony, they establish what has been called "the domestic Church," for in and through their union the Holy Spirit operates as He does in the wider Church: forming souls in holiness, teaching and spreading the gospel, and setting up a school of prayer and of true love.
— Mary Beth Kremski, from Catholic Answers, online at www.catholic.com
Marriage: Good for all, not just some
Communities and nations survive where its participants act in accord with what benefits the whole, not the few.
Some will argue that the state has no "right" to prevent a same-sex pair from forming a union. Western cultures are too deeply enamored of the concept of "individual rights" to subscribe easily to the idea that individuals ought to moderate their personal choices to benefit the entire community. We have become an atomized culture, in which each person is his own autonomous government, the Self as Supreme Command. To many, the very idea of the common good violates "personal rights."
But there is no "right" to a sexual relationship. In truth, it is merely a personal choice – not a right – that is circumscribed.
This principle is quickly illustrated by proposing an analogy to traffic laws. Suppose each driver were permitted to set his own rules of the road – what would happen? Within hours roads would be strewn with crashed cars and injured people. The resulting traffic jams delay others from reaching work, school, or doctor's appointments. Cities would screech to a halt. The grief and loss of loved ones would be enormous, necessitating days off for funerals, grief counselors and all manner of personal complications.
The point is that such laws are enacted for the safety of both the individual and the public at large and serve the common good of the citizens. The common good means some will drive slower than their preference, stop where they think they should be permitted to proceed if left to their own accord, and park only where designated rather than anywhere they choose. The simple truth is no one objects to elevating the common good over individual preference for the sake of orderly traffic and public safety.
Protection of heterosexual marriage is simply the state regulating and protecting the unique institution that forms an orderly community and benefits the future of the society. ... Laws are not made to serve individuals.
— Mary Jo Anderson, from Catholic Answers, online at www.catholic.com
What about same-sex rights?
Advocates of same-sex unions often insist that because 10 percent of the population is homosexual, some legal provision ought to be made for them to establish families. But that is an erroneous figure; reliable statistics put the number at closer to 3-5 percent.
Others object that same-sex pairs can be parents and provide for families. But they cannot do this without enormous bending of the natural process, both physical and psychological.
And the legal woes of surrogate mothers and shared parentage where same-sex pairs have split up is a knotted tangle where the child is the victim, as celebrity cases have demonstrated.
And the psychological confusion and education failures of children raised in same-sex households is widely documented.
Few moderate-minded people have thought about the actual lives of children exposed to same-sex households.
With these facts in mind, however, we must be aware that possibly few other subjects in our nation are as difficult to approach as the status of same-sex unions.
All of us know and love persons who struggle to find balance and contentment between their public and private lives. It is crucial for Catholics to understand the anguish this topic can cause among people of good will. Those who promote same-sex unions seek to ease the hurt they see in their loved ones and co-workers. Their intention is to be compassionate. Our goal is not to show why homosexual acts are wrong. Our goal is to show how preserving and strengthening marriages and families is the best for the whole of society, including those with same-sex attraction.
— Mary Jo Anderson, from Catholic Answers, online at www.catholic.com
Marriage: A covenant designed to cooperate with God's creation
Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives. ...
The natural truth about marriage was confirmed by the Revelation contained in the biblical accounts of creation, an expression also of the original human wisdom, in which the voice of nature itself is heard. There are three fundamental elements of the Creator's plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.
In the first place, man, the image of God, was created "male and female" (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.
Marriage is instituted by the Creator as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh" (Gen 2:24).
Third, God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in His work of creation. Thus, He blessed the man and the woman with the words "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28). Therefore, in the Creator's plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage.
Furthermore, the marital union of man and woman has been elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament. The Church teaches that Christian marriage is an efficacious sign of the covenant between Christ and the Church (cf. Eph 5:32). This Christian meaning of marriage, far from diminishing the profoundly human value of the marital union between man and woman, confirms and strengthens it (cf. Mt 19:3-12; Mk 10:6-9). ...
It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behavior, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behavior as a private phenomenon and the same behavior as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man's life in society, for good or for ill. ... Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage. ...
The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.
— Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons," 2003
Read the entire document by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith online at www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html
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