2 Key Threats to the Family
FREE Catholic Classes
According to Theologian Father Michael Hull
NEW YORK, APRIL 3, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the text of an address Father Michael Hull of New York delivered at a theologians videoconference last Tuesday. The Congregation for Clergy organized the international videoconference.
* * *
Threats to the Family
By Father Michael Hull
The family is the beginning and the basis of all human society. Thus has it been from creation: "Then the Lord God said: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him'" (Genesis 2:18).
Aristotle has a sense of this when he describes the family as the fundamental community between men and women ("Politica" I.2). St. Augustine speaks of marriage as "the first natural bond of human society" ("De bono conjugali" 1.1).
Threats to the family are those that imperil this bond, especially when it is sealed as a sacrament. Perhaps the two gravest threats to the family are divorce and artificial birth control. The former destroys the family by tearing it asunder; the latter frustrates natural expansion of the family and the human community.
Civil divorce has become de rigueur in many developed countries and is on the rise all over the world. In most countries these days, divorce is a simple civil matter, easily obtained and no longer socially stigmatized. The breakup of families is common and carefree, with little concern for Our Lord's solemn admonitions against divorce (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:10-16).
In the United States of America, for example, surveys place the current divorce rate at about 40% among the general population and 20% among Catholics. Interestingly enough, these rates are significantly lower, approximately 10% to 15%, than they were 10 years ago.
The reason? Marriage has fallen into such disfavor that many couples elect to live in sin, either temporarily or permanently. Many young adults engage in a number of short-term or even long-term relationships before they marry -- if they ever marry at all.
Many younger and older couples decide specifically against marriage and opt to live their lives in so-called common-law marriages. Surely the Church must minister to the divorced -- as is illustrated so well in Pope John Paul II's "Familiaris Consortio" (see Nos. 83-84) -- but the Church must continue to speak out vociferously against the breakup of marriages and, therefore, families.
Like divorce, artificial birth control seems to be the order of the day. On the one hand, it is utilized by those who are married, frustrating or limiting God's plan of procreation. On the other hand, it contributes substantially to the contemporary malaise of sin by eradicating many of the consequences of immoral sexual intercourse.
Both Pope Pius XI in "Casti Connubii" (Dec. 31, 1930) and Pope Paul VI in "Humanae Vitae" (July 25, 1968) put a special emphasis on artificial birth control as a principal threat against the sanctity of marriage and the family in modern times.
Pius was clear: "Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin" (CC, No. 56). Paul was prescient when he noted that artificial birth control would "open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards" (HV, No. 17).
There is no doubt that such unfaithfulness is on the rise as moral virtue declines. Indeed, artificial birth control has opened the way so wide and facilitated such a lowering of moral principles that Paul's words seem but modest and understated.
In order to defend the family, the Church must be vigilant in proclaiming the sanctity, inviolability, and permanence of marriage, as well as the importance of leaving the marital act open to life. The aforementioned threats to the family are best met by remembering what the family is, namely, the cornerstone of society and the domestic Church ("Lumen Gentium," No. 11; FC, No. 21), without which man is bereft of his natural and supernatural community.
Help Now >
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Family, Hull, Clergy, Theology, Man, Woman
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Download Now >
Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.