Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Juan R. Vélez

12/24/2008 (6 years ago)

MercatorNet (www.mercatornet.com/)

Defenders of true marriage often have trouble defending the obvious precisely because it is self-evident and defies sound bites.

The 'crowning' ceremony is an ancient and beautiful part of the Eastern Christian (Orthodox and Catholic) Marriage Liturgy. It underscores the extraordinary significance of the Sacrament of Marriage as a participation by the spouses in the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ through His Church. the 'Domestic Church' of the family is the smallest cell of the Church, the Body of Christ.

The "crowning" ceremony is an ancient and beautiful part of the Eastern Christian (Orthodox and Catholic) Marriage Liturgy. It underscores the extraordinary significance of the Sacrament of Marriage as a participation by the spouses in the ongoing redemptive mission of Jesus Christ through His Church. the "Domestic Church" of the family is the smallest cell of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Highlights

By Fr. Juan R. Vélez

MercatorNet (www.mercatornet.com/)

12/24/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


LOS ANGELES, California (MercatorNet) - The people of California, Arizona and Florida recently voted to amend their state constitutions to defend the age-old truth that marriage is the life-long union of a man and a woman with the object of mutual love and the raising of a family. Ever since, those in favor of recognition of same-sex marriage have complained that they have been deprived of their civil rights and denied equality. The recognition of same-sex partnerships with legal and financial benefits akin to marriage is not enough for them. They repeatedly lament the supposed loss of their civil rights and compare themselves to oppressed slaves.

Is there any truth in these claims?

None. In fact proponents of same-sex marriage are usurping the natural and civil right to marriage between a man and a woman. Unfortunately defenders of traditional marriage often have trouble defending the obvious precisely because it is self-evident and defies sound bites. Here I’d like to present a few simple reasons why defending the uniqueness and dignity of traditional marriage is not discriminatory and unfair.

Biblical revelation about God’s creation of man and woman and his plan for marriage is abundant, but arguments for traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage are not exclusively religious. Far from it. The most convincing ones are based on universally recognised natural rights which exist prior to the state and are not created by government fiat or popular consent. Civil rights are the legal recognition of rights which derive from natural rights.

All one needs to do is reflect upon the human experience. It is easy to grasp that each human faculty, including the generative faculty, has its proper functions and ends. We can also discern basic human goods that are necessary for existence and social life, such as procreation, health, safety, freedom, friendship and religion.

Throughout the centuries people have come to recognize different rights -- such as the right to just trials, the right to practice a religion, and the right of universal suffrage. Civil rights are important mainly because they safeguard these basic human rights. Governments protect natural rights, but they do not create them.

Marriage is one of these basic human rights, one which is based on complementary sexual differences between men and women and the good of procreation. Marriage joins a male and a female in a way the involves the total person: soul, body and affections. Usually this union brings forth offspring and the children are raised in a stable environment where the children learn about manhood and womanhood. Children need both a father and a mother because each parent is different and as male and female provide for different needs.

For example, boys need a father to teach them how to respect women, to develop masculine traits and to learn discipline. A Nobel Prize laureate in economics, George Akerlof, has shown how the breakdown of marriage (1) and the absence of a father in the family or some good father figure is related to the sharp rise of delinquency in the US. This alone is nearly conclusive evidence that there is no natural right to same-sex marriage.

What about the mutual affection of homosexuals? Isn’t that enough for marriage?

Not really. Homosexual persons can be united by an emotional union, but never by a biological union. Their sexual activity does not lead to procreation. Heterosexual marriage, on the other hand, involves more than this. “The same sexual act that unites the spouses is also the act that creates new life.”(2) Heterosexual marriage provides offspring for society and a home where children are raised with the love of a father and a mother and the corresponding masculine and feminine role models.

Homosexual sex is essentially different from heterosexual sex within marriage. The conjugal act has an inherent language of self-giving expressed by the man’s giving of his progenitor cells to his wife. Their love is always linked to procreation even though procreation does not always follow the conjugal act. Widespread contraception and co-habitation have separated procreation from sexuality in such a way so that sexual acts between two persons of the same sex are now considered normal by many. But the sexual union of a man and a woman is objectively different.

Are we just quibbling about words here? Partnerships are more or less like marriage, people often argue. Why be so defensive about a few syllables?

But this approach is completely unrealistic. Marriage is more than a word. Words are subject to development, but they mean something. Words are conventional, but they represent fixed realities. No change in language or law can alter reality. Sodomy by any other name is still sodomy. Sexual intercourse between persons of the same-sex is not procreative. A meal is not a snack; work is not play; adultery mere consented sexual behavior among adults. Language both describes reality and defines moral standards. By changing accepted language about marriage, new moral standards regarding marriage and procreation gradually emerge.

If traditional marriage is natural, why does it need to be fenced around with laws? Can’t it fend for itself?

Yes and no. Traditional marriage will survive, but it needs the support and protection of society to flourish. Laws not only recognize existing natural rights; they create and solidify social habits and standards. A bad law creates social standards that others gradually come to accept as good and true. Abortion is an instructive example. What began as a rare concession has become a "right" to take the life of an innocent human being.

So the consequences of legal recognition of same-sex marriage are serious. The first will be moral damage to our understanding of human beings and marriage. By elevating human choices to the status of human rights, governments undermine the very idea of natural rights, which is the recognition of what corresponds to our human make-up and the basic goods necessary to flourish as human beings.

Legal recognition of same-sex marriage also threatens freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Those who disagree with same-sex unions, including educators, doctors and adoption agencies, are already being treated with contempt and intolerance by proponents of same-sex marriage. The next target is surely the tax-exempt status which churches enjoy because of their important service to society.

Furthermore, although proponents of same-sex marriage contend that they only want equality of rights for their own personal choices, they also want equality of esteem. The normality of same-sex marriage will be taught to school children, beginning with those in public schools and eventually reaching schools with religious affiliations.

Already in Massachusetts an adverse judicial ruling was passed against a parent who did not wish his children attending public school to be taught that two fathers can constitute a family. In San Francisco, young children have been obliged to witness a same-sex "marriage" ceremony. Forcing children to accept same-sex marriage as normal constitutes a grave abuse to children and their parents.

To be sure, every person deserves equal respect before the law; but equality is not sameness, and there can be no true respect for human rights apart from a clear understanding of human nature with the sexual and psychological differences between male and female, and the needs that children have for a father and a mother.

_____________

Fr. Juan R. Vélez is a Los Angeles Catholic Priest. Before becoming a priest, he worked as a physician.This article frist appeared in MercatorNet. The journal has dedicated itself to "..plac(ing) the person at the centre of media debates about popular culture, the family, sexuality, bioethics, religion and law." This article is used with the kind permission of the Editor.

****
Notes

(1) Akerlof, GA, et al. "An Analysis of out-of-wedlock childbearing in the United States". Q J Econ. 1996 May; 111(2): 277-317.
(2) Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles, The Witherspoon Institute, Princeton, June 2006, p. 47.

---

This article was originally published on MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons Licence. If you enjoyed this article, visit MercatorNet.com for more.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Politics & Policy

House of Representatives may subpoena Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server Watch

Image of Asked to evaluate Clinton's chances of being elected the next president of the United States, Boehner said Hillary Clinton could be a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House of Representatives may subpoena Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server if she does not voluntarily surrender it for examination by an independent party, John Boehner revealed this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I've not made any decisions ... continue reading


Eating at the government's table: 353,000 refugees on food stamps, 55,000 receiving SSI Watch

Image of They come from faraway lands to the United States in search of a better life - all on the taxpayer's dime.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They come from faraway lands to the United States in search of a better life - all on the taxpayer's dime. It has been learned that at least 350,000 refugees in the U.S. are on food stamps, according the Congressional Research Service, or CRS. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Bill and Hillary Clinton have been 'disorganized and greedy,' analyst says Watch

Image of Regardless of Bill Clinton's personal feelings about Obama, it did not take him long to see the advantages of an Obama Presidency. More than anyone, he pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, along with his wife Hillary - who has her eyes on the presidential seat come 2016, reportedly have a "web of connections between Bill's private work, Hillary Clinton's public role as secretary of State, the Clintons' ... continue reading


Loretta Lynch makes history as the first African-American female U.S. attorney general Watch

Image of Loretta Lynch is the first African American female attorney general in the history of the United States.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Loretta Lynch has been confirmed as the new U.S. attorney general last Thursday. History is made as she became the first African-American woman to occupy such a crucial and distinct government position. Lynch was not present during the Senate confirmation, however, her ... continue reading


Have they found their man? Koch brothers offer audition to Jeb Bush Watch

Image of Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, may be the candidate likely to receive support from the Koch brothers and their network of extensive political contacts.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Koch brothers, Charles and David, the wealthy political donors who have dipped their hands and massive fortunes into U.S. politics for years, may have upped their involvement, considering for the first time whether to lend their wealth and organizational ... continue reading


Will one book ruin Hillary Clinton's entire presidential campaign? Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton's campaign takes a big hit with new book.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A controversial "tell all" book about the Clinton Foundation's funding habits, titled "Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich," is set to enter stores and rock Hillary's campaign next month. ... continue reading


Social Security numbers issued to more than half a million illegal immigrants in U.S. Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The cornerstone to lawful employment to labor in the United States, it has been recently revealed that more than half a million illegal immigrants - or 541,000 illegal aliens. This disheartening statistic has been revealed by Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner ... continue reading


Hillary Clinton caught in shameful lie on family's history Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Hillary Clinton continues to shape her platform for presidency, she is reported as boasting her family's immigration history. During one of her first speeches as an official candidate, Clinton said that "all her grandparents had immigrated to the United States," ... continue reading


Federal government sets all-time record for tax revenue Watch

Image of We will not know how much additional tax revenue the Treasury pulled in until it releases its next daily statement tomorrow afternoon. Every dollar of it will add to the new record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tax day has arrived - and with the close of business on April 14, the Treasury brought in a record $1,477,901,000,000 since fiscal 2015. Began on October 1, 2014, these figures are courtesy of the Daily Treasury Statement. Despite this record tax revenue, the ... continue reading


INSANE: U.S. federal tax code is 74,608 pages long! Watch

Image of If the tax code continues to grow at the same pace it did over the last century, it will pass 100,000 pages in 2050.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you had your taxes professionally prepared this year, you may now fully appreciate what your accountant or cleric did for you this year. The U.S. federal tax code is a whopping 74,608 pages long! Try to imagine trying to digest all the nuances that go along ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 4:8-12
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 21, 29
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:11-18
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 3:1-2
1 You must see what great love the Father has ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 26th, 2015 Image

St. Cletus
April 26: St. Cletus was the third bishop of Rome, and succeeded St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter