The last two articles have focused upon American society and her historic defense of the rights given by God. This article and the next will return to a discussion of the sacraments and describe what the Vatican II Council calls, “the primordial society,” that is, marriage and the family.
In recent years, there has been much doubt about the essence of marriage and family; and this confusion has led to many of the attacks on religious liberty. For many people claim that the historic defense of Judeo-Christian principles of marriage and family (and by extension the historic principles of the other great religious traditions) are somehow unfair or intolerant. But we do not hold that a doctor is being unfair or intolerant when he distinguishes between what leads to good health and sickness, nor an engineer when he distinguishes between what will cause structures to be stable or unstable. Even more so, defending the natural and supernatural laws that provide the basis for healthy and stable families and societies is simply a matter of truth and charity.
With regard to marriage, Genesis 1 and 2 use a lot of symbolism, but they describe very important realities. And one of these realities is that God Himself created marriage from the beginning. We then developed schools, businesses, governments, sports, and the like. And we can change the rules for the things we created as the situations change, although even in those fields there are enduring principles such as those of justice and natural rights. However, God Himself created certain structures to give a solid foundation for everything else. And among those structures are marriage, the ancient Chosen People, the Church and the sacramental system. Each of these institutions has a crucial role in salvation history.
As Genesis 1 states, “God created man in His own image. . . . male and female He created them.” Gen. 1:27. There is a complementarity of masculinity and femininity in humanity, as there is by analogy a complementarity between harmony and melody in music, primary and pastel colors in art, rhyme and meter in poetry, and nouns and verbs in prose. Marriage brings together this complementarity in a commitment of lifelong and total love. And this loving union then gives children a father and mother, along with grandfathers and grandmothers one generation up. This permanent, faithful and complementary love between man and woman and among generations then enables individuals and societies to appreciate the love of God who guides onward to everlasting life.