What is marriage anyway? How would one define it?
Marriage: A political football used by a degenerate society to undermine traditional morality.
At this point, I think it is a fair definition.
Here in England, as in America, those who are hanging on to shifting rocks on the eroding face of the institution of marriage are trying to figure out how to survive in the emerging political and legal wasteland. As Fr. Tim Finigan points out, the Church has always maintained the right, independent of the State, to regulate marriage. It was the Protestants who argued that the State should regulate marriage.
The problem is both the Church and the State have had a vested interest in marriage for the same reason: there are men and women and when they come together as a couple they create families. The stable marriage (family), legally and publicly recognized, both by the Church and the State, is good for everyone, especially children. The Church offers the further good of the sacramental bond, which in former days the State valued as well.
In other words, marriage is neither created by the Church, nor the State. Marriage is a given, and is so whether one believes in God or not. Marriage exists because man is male and female. Period. Its value is so fundamental that the Church and the State cannot avoid getting involved. The Church, however, is involved by a direct mandate from Christ.
This is why the very fact that we have to argue about a definition of marriage—that it is even open for discussion—is an indication of how far the institution of marriage, through the break up of the family and the horrors of the anti-life movement, has eroded.
But as we navigate our way through the new legal landscape of same-sex marriage, let us not forget that the very powerful, wealthy and activist lobby behind SSM is not really interested in the institution of marriage (whose definition is not really all that important to them anyway). They would probably be just as happy if no one had it as everyone had it. Think of the melodramatic celebrities who have vowed to cohabitate without the benefit of a civil ceremony until every gay person can marry someone of the same-sex. Yes, they want the legal benefits. But they want society to condone homosexual behavior even more.
The real issue here is the opposition that those who believe in an objective moral law pose to those who justify immoral behavior. We all know this. Everyone on both sides of the issue know this. So the advocates of SSM go on pretending that they care about the institution of marriage and the opponents of SSM go on trying to reason with those who have abandoned moral reasoning.
I believe that it is St. Thomas Aquinas who said that sins against chastity are particularly capable of dulling the intellect. Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? But you can’t say that in congress or parliament, of course, or in a “reasoned argument” about SSM.
We are so far down the trajectory of moral erosion that only a miracle of grace can save us. Relativism is a fatal disease. Once we begin to question fundamental principles, we find ourselves in a sink hole with no way out. This is not to say that we should give up. But it does suggest that what both moral conversion and politics have in common will be the key: they are both a matter of persuasion. So what can we do when we can’t reason with the opposition?
The person of Christ, His presence and His healing grace will always be the measure of our success. At the heart of every sin is an emptiness and a deception. Somehow, someway we have to be instruments of Christ to fill the void with what is real. Those who live with the affliction of a deep-seated attraction to sin (all of us) need to find hope in those who follow Christ. We need to be real. And while we must be morally intransigent, we also need to be personally humble and prepared for persecution.