The following items are tagged Marriage
What are you interested in?
Blogged by James Preece 3 Months ago...
I haven't quite finished thinking this one through but think Joseph Shaw is talking a lot of sense.
At first glance one might expect that the logical thing for orthodox/traditional/absoluist/nasty Catholics to do when the state does Marriage wrong - to the point of calling things Marriage when they are not - is to reject state Marriage altogether. One might expect that scaredy-cat, elitist, latin chant, only no-sinners-allowed types would want to retreat ever further in to a Catholic ghetto?
Yet the opposite turns out to be true. My thoughts on Marriage are alarmingly scientific. I consider it to be a thing that exists outside of my ideas about it. A thing I can look at and study and talk about but a thing none the less and a thing that, like Planets and apples falling out of trees, will go on being exactly what it is no matter what I or the government might choose to say about it.
A scientist can look at 16th Century ideas about gravity and say "those guys were wrong about gravity" but he knows that both he and the 16th Century fellow are talking about the same thing. I can look at 21st Century ideas about Marriage and say "those guys are wrong about Marriage" but I know that both myself and the 21st century peeps are talking about the same thing.
To quote Dr Shaw..
There is only marriage: natural marriage, and the sacramental marriage which, when the parties are baptised, supervenes upon it. Marriage is an institution of natural law, and it is recognised by both Church and state.
Today's government is very, very wrong about what Marriage is and how Marriage works. They are as wrong as alchemists having a guess at the invisible spirit thingies who pull the planets around the sky. Yet, I think the Marriage they are wrong about is still Marriage.
Dr Shaw continues..
The state also allows people to get married who are not, under Natural or Divine Law, free to marry: people who have a validly married spouse still living, for example. We say of such people that they are not 'really' married, and at this point what is recognised socially becomes less clear. But if the law of the land wants to do this, while it confuses and weakens the social recognition of the institution, it doesn't change the fact that if a couple want to marry, they want to be recognised as being married, by the law.
What is being proposed is that this confusion be increased vastly, and whole new categories of partnerships will be legally recognised as marriages, when under Natural Law they are no such thing. Ultimately, we may say that the state has ceased to deal with marriage at all, but will be doling out certificates of 'vaguely committed relationships'.
Ultimately, we may say (and I do) that the state did this in 1969 with the Divorce Reform Act. Since then, state Marriages have been certificates of 'vaguely committed relationships' which are routinely handed out to people who are not, under Natural or Divine Law, free to marry.
So in this respect, while "gay marriage" legislation is very wrong in that it denies the link between marriage and heterosexual fertility, I don't think the "gay marriage" legislation does very much to change the situation with regards to "what should the Church do when the state calls something marriage that isn't?"
The state might force us out of registering valid marriages with the state - but I don't think we should want to stop doing it.
At least... I think that's what I think... so far.
Far more important to me is the question of the priests in every city who already routinely bless "re-married" non-marriages and invite people in that situation to be extraordinary ministers. Talk about sowing social confusion... Will our Bishops be turning a similarly blind eye when the same is done with same-sex "marriages"?
Blogged by James Preece 3 Months ago...
My thanks to New Friend for taking the time to answer my question...
There were many other reasons for marriage. You identify some. Others were political, some to secure family fortunes, some just for companionship. Some to find a carer for elderly parents. Some to find a home maker. Marriage was always for a variety of reasons. It is NOT just a recent development. It is a particularly myopic religious viewpoint which attempts to suggest that in the past marriage was only to produce children in a "responsible" way.
We need to distinguish between the reasons individual people get married vs the reason a society has marriage in the first place.
Individuals may get married for companionship or so they can immediately divorce and run off with half of the wealth or just in the hope that the old fella dies soon and they can bag the inheritance. Those things all happen, but they are clearly not the purpose of marriage.
No society has ever said "hey, let's have Marriage so that people can have a crack at scamming inheritance money!"
The other reasons New Friend gives - to maintain political harmony, to ensure the stability of families through the inheritance of wealth, to ensure the elderley have carers... These all amount to my original premise - that Marriage is a social institution between couples and society to ensure that children grow up in the best possible way.
There have certainly been differences over the years about what is the best environment for children growing up. In some societies the priority has been on bringing up children to be good carers, in others cases the priority has been on averting a war between two kingdoms while in other cases the goal has been to keep wealth in the family. So not always "best for children" in the sense of "that which puts the needs of the children first" - you know, the myopic sense of a stable home with a mother and father. Sometimes "best for children" in the utilitarian sense of "that which produces the kind of children we want".
That said, I think it would be cynical in the extreme to suppose that Marriage has primarily been selfish. As New Friend goes on to say "Good parents, married or not, will always care for their children because they love them". Is it really such a leap of faith to think that these good parents who "will always care for their children" might feel compelled to consider the fate of their future grandchildren?
The interesting thing to note about the above is that every single one of these reasons without exception involves the institution of marriage being used (or abused) as a tool to manage heterosexual fertility in a way that benefits society and/or children.
Even when we disagree with the goals, we seem to agree on what Marriage is.
Blogged by James Preece 3 Months ago...
Dylan Parry makes the important point that back in 1994 the Sunday Trading Act was passed only after many assurances were made that nobody would have to work on a Sunday.
Thanks to the magic of Google and the online version of Hansard (the official record of what got said in Parliament) I can refer you to the second reading of the Sunday Trading Bill on 8th March 1994 in the House of Lords...
Baroness Gould of Potternewton
none of the options would have been acceptable to me without the provision for all employees, present and future, whether on the shop floor, in the loading bay, or elsewhere, to have the statutory protection to work when and where they choose and to be confident that they will suffer no retribution for declining to work on a Sunday.
Baroness Turner of Camden
It is not too much to say that the reason for the failure of previous attempts to legislate for general Sunday trading was the concern of people from all parties about the pressure that might be put on shopworkers to work on Sundays against their will.
The Bill provides that present and future shopworkers may opt out of Sunday working without any penalty and that dismissal of an opted-out worker of whatever age is automatically unfair if the reason for dismissal is the refusal or proposed refusal to do work on Sundays.
I shall just remind your Lordships how comprehen-sive those measures are. All existing shopworkers have immediate protection from being required to work on Sunday unless they are Sunday-only workers. To qualify for protection, workers will not have to serve a qualifying period of service; the protection will apply even if they are beyond the normal retirement age, and it makes no difference how many hours a week they work.
The protection is not limited to shop assistants. Whether you are a shop manager, a canteen worker, or the person who collects the trolleys from around the shop, you will still qualify for protection if you work in or about a shop which opens on Sunday.
It is not only existing employees who are covered by the provisions. New recruits will also be protected.
That is what was said in the House of Lords as the Bill was being debated. Here is what actually happened...
Christians have no right to refuse to work on Sundays, rules judge
A new ruling by a High Court judge - the first on the issue in nearly a decade - says that Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs.
The judgment - which upholds an earlier decision - means that individual Christians do not have any protection from being fired for not working on Sundays.
Campaigners said the decision puts Christians at a disadvantage to other religions and means the judiciary are deciding what the core beliefs of Christians can be, which they say is an interference in the right to practise religion.
The judgment was issued by Mr Justice Langstaff as he ruled on an appeal brought by a Christian woman who was sacked after she refused to work on Sundays at a care home.
Turns out those comprehensive measures were not all they were cracked up to be. Perhaps you can understand my failure to be reassured when Mr Cameron says this...
"But let me be absolutely 100% clear: if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn't want to have a gay marriage it will not, absolutely must not, be forced to hold it.
"That is absolutely clear in the legislation.
We've heard that one before...
Blogged by James Preece 5 Months ago...
There are days when I think it might be easier to just cut out the middle man and forward all my blog traffic to Fr Ray Blake's place. This is one of those days, Fr Blake has written exactly what I was thinking...
"I wish one of our Archbishops or Bishops had written this:"
The most striking thing about the government’s consultation report on gay marriage, published yesterday, is how casually and cockily it redefines the institution of marriage. The Tories now decree that marriage is simply and definitively “about two people who love each other making a formal commitment to each other”. That’s it. It’s about you and your lover, nobody else. It isn’t about having children or raising a family or binding yourself into the broader community through taking on responsibility for creating and socialising the next generation; it is simply about “two people”, ensconced in a loving bubble, making a “commitment to each other”.
To that end, the report makes absolutely no mention of creating a family. It uses the word “children” only eight times, and its every use of that word is merely part of a response to (and criticism of) those groups that petitioned the government to recognise the importance of marriage as a means of raising and socialising children. It doesn’t mention procreation, or family bonds, or communities (except when it refers to the needs and aspirations of the “transgender community”). Marriage is depicted as something which takes place in a vacuum, between two people wrenched from any broader notion of social or generational responsibilities, where the aim is merely to satisfy an individual’s own needs. Marriage, the government decrees, is about allowing “two people” to “express their love and happiness”.
Of course, marriage, at root, brings together two people, and it is, one would hope, an occasion of love and happiness. But what this report overlooks is that for great numbers of people marriage is about more than “two people” – it is about entering into a union for the purpose of creating a family and assuming a social, even historic responsibility for raising the next generation. For many people, marriage is something which not only binds them to the person they love but which also binds them to the broader community, making them a key cog in a social process of having, educating, caring for and imbuing with goodness children who will go on to become the future guardians of society. That none of this is even mentioned in the government’s report – that family, children, community are all glaringly absent from this government decree on “what marriage means” – suggests that an alarmingly narrow conception of marriage is being pushed to the forefront of British political and social life.
If marriage is about two people in a bubble of luurve then why on earth does the government need to have anything to do with it? How is it any of their business who is in a bubble with who?
On the other hand, if children have the right to grow up in a stable home with their own biological parents of both genders sticking around to look after them then it makes sense for the surrounding society to discourage people from producing children if they are not yet in a lifelong relationship. It makes sense for the surrounding society to provide a legal structure for people to enter in to those relationships and to provide support and encouragement to help those relationships last.
We used to call that marriage - what are we supposed to call it now?
Blogged by James Preece 10 Months ago...
For a while I thought The Freethinker was a satirical magazine poking fun at atheists, then I discovered it was for real. Anyways, they have some interesting statistics about the "War against Gay Marriage" in Scotland:
On Sunday, the posturing fool threatened the Scottish Government with an “unprecedented backlash” if it did not back down from its plans to legalise same-sex unions.
And he pledged to spend a further £100,000 on an advertising campaign against gay marriage. This is on top of the £50,000 the Church has already spent in its battle against marriage equality in Scotland.
I know it's not a competition, but I can't help wondering how the figures in England and Wales compare. If the six diocese in Scotland can manage £150,000 on a campaign against gay "marriage", how much have the twenty-two diocese in England and Wales spent?
Blogged by James Preece 11 Months ago...
Speaking at the World Meeting of Families in Milan...
MANOEL ANGELO: Some of these remarried couples would like to be reconciled with the Church, but when they see that they are refused the sacraments they are greatly discouraged. They feel excluded, marked by a judgement against which no appeal is possible. These sufferings cause deep hurt to those involved. Their wounds also afflict the world and they become our wounds, the wounds of the whole human race. Holy Father we know that the Church cares deeply about these situations and these people. What can we say to them and what signs of hope can we offer them?
THE HOLY FATHER: Dear friends, thank you for your very important work as family psychotherapists. Thank you for all that you do to help these suffering people. Indeed the problem of divorced and remarried persons is one of the great sufferings of today’s Church. And we do not have simple solutions. Their suffering is great and yet we can only help parishes and individuals to assist these people to bear the pain of divorce. I would say, obviously, that prevention is very important, so that those who fall in love are helped from the very beginning to make a deep and mature commitment. Then accompaniment during married life is needed, so that families are never left on their own but are truly accompanied on their journey. As regards these people - as you have said - the Church loves them, but it is important they should see and feel this love. I see here a great task for a parish, a Catholic community, to do whatever is possible to help them to feel loved and accepted, to feel that they are not “excluded” even though they cannot receive absolution or the Eucharist; they should see that, in this state too, they are fully a part of the Church. Perhaps, even if it is not possible to receive absolution in Confession, they can nevertheless have ongoing contact with a priest, with a spiritual guide. This is very important, so that they see that they are accompanied and guided. Then it is also very important that they truly realize they are participating in the Eucharist if they enter into a real communion with the Body of Christ. Even without “corporal” reception of the sacrament, they can be spiritually united to Christ in his Body. Bringing them to understand this is important: so that they find a way to live the life of faith based upon the Word of God and the communion of the Church, and that they come to see their suffering as a gift to the Church, because it helps others by defending the stability of love and marriage. They need to realize that this suffering is not just a physical or psychological pain, but something that is experienced within the Church community for the sake of the great values of our faith. I am convinced that their suffering, if truly accepted from within, is a gift to the Church. They need to know this, to realize that this is their way of serving the Church, that they are in the heart of the Church. Thank you for your commitment.
Blogged by James Preece 11 Months ago...
Not entirely right, in fact, most of what he says is total nonsense.
But this bit is spot on:
And as a threat specifically to marriage, what about divorce? Unlike homosexuality, this is a subject on which Jesus was pretty specific, but the C of E is perfectly prepared to marry divorced couples.
When marriage stopped being "till death us do part" it stopped being marriage and became a convenient arrangement for the time being as long as we both feel like it.
It stopped being about lifelong commitment for the benefit of children and became about optional semi-permanent as long as it suits me commitment for the benefit of adults.
Divorce and "remarriage" killed marriage.
Gay "marriage" is just dancing on the grave.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
Unless you have been living under a rock lately you have heard that campaigners are demanding the right to gay marriage, that the government are "consulting on legalising gay marriage" and that the nasty intolerant hateful Christians are saying they don't want gay people to have marriage because "God hatez teh gays innit"... or something like that.
You have heard wrong. The argument is not about who has the right to marriage. The argument is about what marriage is.
Many people do not seem to have noticed but there are in fact two competing definitions of Marriage. The first of these definitions I will refer to as "traditional Marriage" and also simply "Marriage" because that is what it is. The second definition can scarcely be called Marriage at all, I shall refer to is as "pretend Marriage".
What is traditional Marriage?
The origins of traditional Marriage are lost in pre-history, the earliest civilizations we know about already had Marriage and there is a very good reason for that: Marriage is necessary for civilization to exist at all. People did not build civilizations until they were advanced enough to invent marriage, it was the other way around - they got married and discovered they had built a civilization. It is practically the definition of civilization for human beings to recognise their rights and duties towards one another and the most fundamental duty in any society is this: The duty of both parents to care for the child they have created together and the right of the child to be cared for by their parents. Everything else stems from this.
The specifics of traditional Marriage have varied in different times and places (e.g. polygamy etc) but the general requirements have remained constant. It begins with an obligation on heterosexual couples to abstain from sex outside of marriage because despite the lack of government mandated sex education, primitive societies knew what causes babies and they also knew that babies need looking after and it was irresponsible to do the thing that makes babies without first promising to stay together to look after the child. Even most modern day secularists at least have some sense that sex outside of marriage is dangerous and one must don 'protection' and approach with extreme caution. People of the 21st century might be a bit mushy on the details, but even they get the basic principle - you shouldn't do the thing that makes babies without first promising to stay together to care for the child.
Other requirements of traditional Marriage are that it be exclusive and for life. Not only because children do best when their parents stay together (and that includes grown up children and grand-children as well) but also because while it's quite obvious which woman is giving birth to a child (the midwife can usually tell) it isn't necessarily obvious which men are responsible for which babies. Okay, I hear you... DNA tests. But traditional Marriage isn't about making sure the right man pays the right maintenance money in to the right bank account - it's about making sure children have the best possible chance of growing up in a stable family with a mother and a father. Did you know that mums new boyfriend one of the people most likely to abuse a child?
Countless cultures and civilisations have understood something own society seems to have forgotten: Children are the future. We can invent flying cars, build beautiful towering cities on the moon and even find a way to fund everybody's pension but if nobody has any babies then in a hundred years time it will all be in ruins. It is not simply a matter of having babies either, it is a question of bringing them up well and forming the next generation to be the kind of people who help old ladies across the street rather than, say, knifing each other in the playground and setting fire to London. The survival and prosperity humanity throughout the ages, from stone age villages to medieval villages and modern cities have depended on the institution of Marriage as the mechanism to discourage irresponsible behavior and ensure that the rights of children are put ahead of the pelvic desires of adults.
Traditional Marriage insists that teenagers wait so their own children can grow up in the best possible environment and it recognises that sex before of marriage is gravely irresponsible behaviour that jeapordises the right of a child to be born in to a stable family. It forbids men from using one woman after another as objects of pleasure before abandoning them to look after children on their own. Finally, traditional Marriage imposes on society an obligation to support families. If men and women are obliged to provide a stable home and bring up their children to be a benefit to the society in which they live, then that society is obliged to do everything it can to help them.
What about pretend Marriage?
Our culture has spent the better part of the last hundred years dismantling marriage. Contraception appeared to remove the necessity for couples to abstain from sex until they were ready for a child while divorce declared marriage a temporary arrangement to be ended once the shine wore off. The new definition of marriage is a mirage. It looks a bit like marriage from the outside (dresses, rings and lots of flowers) yet it has no substance. It has ceased to be the system of rights and duties on which our civilisation depends and has become something altogether different.
CS Lewis noted over sixty years ago that people who "do not believe in permanent marriage" simply "wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price: that is, they were impostors". The pretend Marriage many people have today is no longer a committment between a man and a woman for life and has become a special gold star award that couples grant themselves in recognition of their extra mushy feelings. It's a little bit like a Facebook status only more expensive. People buy you gifts and make you feel really special. You can always get divorced.
So far I have written only about heterosexual couples, but it should now be clear why I say that the campaigners asking for gay marriage are not asking for real marriage at all. They do not want society to impose on homosexual persons a duty to avoid pregnancy until they are ready to have children, they do not want society to insist homosexuals remain monogamous for life. They simply want homosexuals to be allowed a share in the special gold stars in recognition of their extra mushy feelings.
A threat to civilisation?
Increasing numbers of people believe that marriage is nothing more than a way to show that you are respectable people who love each other sooo much you are willing to put yourselves in a position where separation is a bit more expensive. Despite this, Marriage is still widely understood in the traditional sense and our society depends on it.
Some marriages will always struggle and not everybody will avoid pregnancy before they are ready. The economy can afford for some marriages to fail, life doesn't always go according to plan and the state can and must support single parents, widows and orphans. It was wrong of previous generations who resented the "burden" of single parents to ostracise them and their "bastard" children. The child who had the right to be born in to a stable family, doesn't lose the right to be cared for just because his mother or father scarpered. Yet this support is possible only because a majority of stable families support those for whom things didn't work out - do you think the economy can afford for most marriages to fail? Do you think the economy can afford the promotion of pretend Marriage?
There are already plenty of people who have non-permanent special pretend-Marriages already and plenty of people who do not bother to get married at all. Our economy is already feeling the strain through the ever expanding benefits system, the cost to the NHS dealing with the various health problems that are associated with messy, painful divorces not to mention increased crime rates. This is why we say the destruction of marriage (of which the legalisation of gay marriage is but a small part) is a threat to civilisation. Not because gay marriage involves a man and a man (the homosexual aspect is largely irrelevant) but because the legalisation of gay marriage would enshrine in law the idea that marriage has nothing to do with mutual rights and responsibilities between potential parents and society but is instead a "right" to have your super mushy feelings properly recognised with a big party and a certificate from the government until such time as you decide you don't quite feel so mushy any more.
This is also why it is futile for Christians to ignore the struggle for the meaning of marriage. If all we do is say that heterosexuals can have a special certificate for mushy feelings but homosexual's can't then that really is unfair discrimination. Homosexuals are just as capable of mushy feelings as anybody else and they have just as much right to demand the government applaud their mushy feelings as anybody else does.
So what now?
Civilisation as we know it depends on traditional Marriage. If we dismantle traditional Marriage and replace it with a fraud then our civilisation cannot last. We will wake up one day and realise we have been replaced by populations who respected traditional Marriage. Long before that happens we will experience economic collapse and poverty. We will have failed our children.
It is a well known fact that hateful bloggers like myself have no time for Bishops which must be why I regard them as essential to any attempt at rebuilding traditional marriage. It is they who have the authority and the duty to mount a serious defense of traditional Marriage, to teach loud and clear the rights and duties heterosexual couples and society have towards one another. To explain all the things I didn't have time for in this blog entry (like why contraception doesn't negate the need to abstain from sex before marriage) and to claw back some of the ground lost in the last fifty years.
Meanwhile, we laity can take some advice from the campaigners who say "against gay marriage? - don't have one". If we are against pretend Marriage then one thing we can do is make sure our own marriages are not pretend ones. To remain faithful to our partners and provide our children with the stable environment they have the right to.
Please do support the coalition for Marriage pertition but know that it is not enough on it's own. It is not enough to oppose pretend Marriage, we need also to promote traditional Marriage.
Because none of us can live without it.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
Three votes, and now every state in the Union faces the choice of acknowledging gay marriages made in New York, or violating the “full faith and credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution. What is worse, gay marriage in New York was not imposed by judges, as in Massachusetts, but by the free deliberations of a duly elected legislature, in accord with the Catholic principle of subsidiarity. This means that (barring an extremely unlikely constitutional amendment, for which we should fight, of course) gay marriage is here to stay. The institution of marriage — which has been so disfigured by the sexual revolution, and feminism, then the lax divorce laws born of both — now bears no resemblance at all to the natural, sacramental reality that Western laws once were written to acknowledge and support. We really should call it something else. May I suggest “frenemies with benefits”?
What made the victory possible, analysts told the New York Times, were the pitifully tepid efforts of its religious opponents, in particular the local Church. As the Times reported, “It was befuddling to gay-rights advocates: The Catholic Church, arguably the only institution with the authority and reach to derail same-sex marriage, seemed to shrink from the fight.” Instead of pulling out all the stops and calling in all its chips, the Church shrugged off the effort to defend the natural law as a good thing for all New Yorkers — and went scrambling for exemptions to guard its institutional interests. Republicans who were wary of gay marriage spent their political capital not fighting against the bill, but carving out little enclaves of protection for such oddball cults as might not want to solemnize same-sex rites. Indeed, as the Times reported, inserting these exceptions won the bill the votes it needed to pass.
This is exactly what happened in England and Wales over government plans to make sex education compulsory. The Catholic Education Service didn't oppose the bill because they had negotiated some almost meaningless exceptions. We were very lucky to dodge that bill in the 'wash up'.
Once upon a time a Catholic Bishop lost his life defending the sacrament of marriage. Meanwhile, other Bishops somehow found a way to live comfortably with the new regime.
Who knows what's down the road?
I reckon Archbishop Vincent Nichols probably does.
Blogged by James Preece 1 Year ago...
‘Permitting divorce’ is a euphemism for ‘prohibiting marriage’ which the state has no power to do.
That's how I felt when I got married more than five years ago. I felt obliged to explain to Ella that as well as being willing to "get married" to her, I also actually meant it...