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Marriage: The Enigma in the Room

September 26, AD2015

Birgit - holy family
We are indeed a peculiar lot. We evolve and change, push and pull, vote then cheer or sulk. Often the powerful just invent some feature of life that they think would be cool then force the compliance on all. We then suffer as a lot.

The powerful have done that notably with slavery and abortion. Slavery has had its day and abortion is soon to follow, as more people realize that something is wrong with abortion when they hear, “It is a child in the womb, not fetal tissue”. This overly technical description, it’s just tissue, was put in place to numb the mind when it is tempted to think of what is really going on inside that womb.

The Human Genome Project has found “nature’s complete genetic blueprint for building a human being” within the tissue of the conceived, and used throughout the decades of life, until the death of that “tissue” that you may have called Mom. (Doctors are trained to cut out faulty tissue. It can be bloody and ugly. They must block out their fear for the ultimate good. Wait…how do they determine what is good?)

Marriage has long been practiced, and understood in America and elsewhere, as mankind has always known it; the union between a man and a woman. In June 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States decided by a majority of one, to change the definition, henceforth changing the very character of that marital institution in America – it became something else completely – but only temporarily. It will change again, either returning to what it was, or more likely, plowing on into an appeasing future.

Is Marriage an Enigma?

The Oxford U.S. English dictionary defines enigma as:

An enigma is now a person or thing that is mysterious or difficult to understand, but it was originally a riddle, or an obscure speech. The word came from Latin, based on Greek ainissesthai, ‘to speak allusively’. See also riddle.

Marriage has not been an enigma to mankind for centuries. For faithful Catholics, it is like all features of life, it is to be savored; something God has given us. It is in harmony with our natural understanding so we easily comply.

Although marriage and love are not Catholic enigmas, they are often called mysteries even in Catholic literature. They are not strictly mysteries as we commonly use the word defined above. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, theologically a mystery is, “a supernatural truth , one that of its very nature lies above the finite intelligence.” The understanding of these mysteries can be given to us directly through Sacred Scripture or has been created in our nature as both are told here:

On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign—at his mother’s request—during a wedding feast. The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence. (CCC 1613)

Marriage for a Catholic is first the sacramental joining of a man and a woman. This is the basis on which everything else associated with marriage is justified. The Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand said, “Love is the primary meaning of marriage just as the birth of new human beings is its primary end.

The sexual differences, psychological and emotional differences, that form a spiritual union of human creatures differs from the bond that is between humans of the same sex. Love in its many descriptions can exist among people, but true complementary married love can only exist because of the biological and spiritual nature of men and women.

Children are the fruit of a marriage that creates a family. The stable and loving family willed by God is where children learn how to approach life. The stable and loving family is where they absorb the importance of caring for each other. The stable and loving family is where they learn about order and authority from their parents. The stable and loving family is where they observe the behavior of a mature man and woman. These lessons prepare a child for adulthood. Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI said, “Yes, there is no future for humanity without the family.”

Why Is Marriage an Enigma to Secularists?

It has become an enigma for those who reject God and His creation because marriage to them can be pliable. Its pliability is because they have the power of conceptualizing. This is the use of free will not hampered by God’s intervention. They reject a fixed definition and what has always been the original purpose.

The secular mysteriousness comes when what was once accepted is now rejected, and unlimited change can begin. What it will become no one knows. Will it become entirely obsolete as it is slowly recognized that a license from the state is an unnecessary inhibition to pleasure in coupling, tripling, or more? Will enough political power be gained by polygamists and animal “lovers” to affect the same change that we thought impossible by homosexuals?

The rationale for homosexuals marrying relied on applying the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment of our Constitution. The reasoning went like this: Marriage is a civil institution that must be open to all citizens of the United States. Whom a citizen chooses to marry is a personal choice, and there is no state purpose in restricting it by gender. An assumed state purpose exists regarding number, age, physical health, geography, mental health, species, uniformity, etc. Any restrictions can be challenged in the future. In other words, the state (in this case, a tiny portion of a third of the federal government; the Supreme Court) sees no value in gender differences in marriage, and insists that the rest of the country adopt this view – state government has been denied it’s purpose.

Civil marriage now has no fixed definition at all. At present, only a vague idea that “love” and mutually manipulating sexual organs are somehow key elements. Children and family are an afterthought; if ever a thought at all. At present in civil law it is a license to love, as if one was ever needed. The restriction of marriage to two persons is a carryover from tradition accepted without thought of debate, casually placed into friend-of-the-court briefs, until those who wish a change of this restriction, work their cases through the courts, following the successful tactic of the homosexual lobby.

Why Would Anyone Tinker With God’s Plan?

The desire to tinker with God’s plan came out of the general push towards autonomy for about 250 years since the Enlightenment period of human history began. Intellectuals gained confidence in the illusionary power of creating their own morality and ethics. In order for this illusionary scheme to work, it was necessary to eliminate any competitive higher power by ultimately denying spirituality, or at least a spirituality that dictates morality. The same result occurs as when we see adolescents accept free will as the only controlling force, then running wild with it into a miserable adulthood. This attitude leads to a more recent realization that sex can be separated from procreation with birth control devices. The result of this evolution has become the pursuit of unlimited selfish pleasure.

Justice Thomas in his dissenting opinion in Oberbfell v. Hodges (the gay marriage case decided June 2015) referenced PP v. Casey (1992). The Casey decision was about abortion and contained an amazing statement that now not only controls the lives of many of us voluntarily, but also now controls law in the mind of many:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. (emphasis is mine)

We still find ourselves behaving irrationally because “one’s own” (as stated above) refers to an individual, not a group. Instead of letting legislatures (the group) decide right and wrong, the court has become a protector of an individual’s rights that were not explicit in our Constitution – the “right” to personally conceptualize meaning. In other words, we have a protected right to psychosis.

What We Have Now

This rat’s nest of reasoning has become dependent upon not only individual citizens, but individual Justices. It has brought us to a point where the interest of the state is as pliable as marriage. The police powers of the state now choose to compel acceptance of one individual’s meaning of marriage over another in defiance of the assertion that individual choice is the heart of liberty. This choice of one meaning over another is also being compelled by the state’s public schools indoctrination programs.

This whole inconsistent idea is a call to anarchy or totalitarianism by a body that claims otherwise. It is a confusion of purpose and a lack of direction from a higher power.

Secularism must understand itself as synonymous with Materialism; the belief that everything known and experienced is declared to be the result of material causes. They believe that marriage arrived into our life by some mysterious natural selection of choices by unseen Darwinian rules that were not created by “a” God. It just happened to appear one gloomy day in a primordial swamp. It evolved from ooze into what was described as marriage. Now we feel the urge to bypass Darwinian rules and evolve it some more according to our personal concepts.

This Trend Shows Us the Future

Since sexual relationships outside of marriage have become a partial social norm after the upheaval of the 1960s, Polyamory advocates have been working towards “continued growth and increasing acceptance.” In these relationships, every conceivable combination of persons is promoted; married, single, homosexual, straight, young, old, with children, without children – a melange of human beings joined together in any way they see fit. Thus is the ultimate definition of one’s own concept of existence and pursuit of happiness. Societal acceptance is only necessary to avoid the unpleasantness of criticism by others.

Polygamists recognize a desire to have a close relationship with more than one other person as do Polyamorists, but insist on a marriage state. This desire of many Americans was rejected by the homosexual advocates during their long battle for support of inclusion into the married life even as they denied the benefits of marriage itself. The obvious reason for denying that others had a valid cause was that they would have to argue against the eventual destruction of the institution of marriage for lack of any coherent meaning. Marriage would become meaningless if a variety of combinations of persons or things could marry. So they chose exclusivity and restricted the arguments to their cause alone with success.

The future will be full of more rejection of God’s plan. Unless the bad fruit of this rejection is recognized, we will see the eventual regression to a barbaric state of civilization – a state when power over others dominates because it has been recognized as the ultimate expression of one’s own concept of existence. A concept once protected by law, until law itself becomes subservient to this simple concept.

It would be wise to listen to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI when, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he said in 2004:

In political life, it seems almost indecent to speak of God, as if it were an attack on the freedom of those who do not believe. The world of politics follows its norms and paths, excluding God as something that does not belong to this world. The same in the world of business, the economy and private life. God remains marginalized. To me, its seems necessary to rediscover, and the energy to do so exists, that even the political and economic spheres need moral responsibility, a responsibility that is born in man’s heart and, in the end, has to do with the presence or absence of God. A society in which God is completely absent self-destructs. We saw this in the great totalitarian regimes of the last century.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

H.L. Duncan is a senior citizen widower in his 8th decade of life (70s) who was married for 36 years to his only wife Jill. He lives on 40 acres of the Great Basin Desert in an owner built solar powered home. He has three children who have left the nest and are now too far away. After an Episcopalian childhood, his teen years brought on the disease of agnosticism with occasional bouts of atheism. He entered the Church in 2010 and says he has felt at home ever since. His working life included Forest Fire Truck Driver, Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa building schools, Motion Picture Cameraman in industrial films and while in the U.S. Army, production assistant to a Producer in Hollywood, Professional Still Photographer, Photo Lab Technician, Postal Service Letter Carrier, Computer Systems Analyst in business and government, Computer Consulting, Owner of an Internet business, Web site creation. His educational background is mostly self directed reading and experiential but does include; A graduate of the London School of Film Technique, London, England, AA degree in Business Data Processing with an additional course in accounting, Seminars and technical classes. He now spends his days in local parish church work and Right to Life groups, Internet conversations with new friends and old enemies of the Church.

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  • John Morgan

    I don’t think marriage has ever been understood as the union of a man and woman. Rather, it has been understood as a wedding ceremony and state-sanctioned marriage license. The main reason it became a civil institution was to allow for divorce and the subsequent allocation of money and property. In my opinion, that’s the number one factor that has led to the demise of marriage. It should have never been part of the legal system.