Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Allure of Magic

David Warren Ottawa Citizen columnist extraordinaire has posted an excellent piece on same-sex marriage.

We now have the Canadian Supreme Court's diktats on "same-sex marriage". In political football, we've watched the completion of a double-handoff: the Liberals handing to the Court to make a decision that could be politically suicidal, then the Court handing back, by ruling the Liberals had already made the decision by failing to appeal judgements in the lower courts. (Let us pause to admire the fine footwork!)
Like David Warren, I fear that the key decisions on same sex marriage have already been taken and that we are undergoing the next devolution in the values which underpin Western society. Mr. Warren suggests we pause to admire the fine political and judicial footwork. He's speaking tongue in cheek, of course.

One can indeed admire the way the Her Canadian Majesty's executive branch of government, under Liberal Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, and all levels of the judicial branch, have so skillfully manouvered to achieve their ends without admiring the ends to which they have placed their talents. Satan is reputed to be beautiful in aspect, if not in spirit.

I do not mean to directly compare Chretien and Martin, or even the nine justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, to Old Dirty Face himself. They are not Lucifer incarnate, or even conscious acoloytes of his. Unlike them, Old Nick knows what he is about.

Our political, judicial and media elites, so bent on reconfiguring society, are more comparable to Mickey Mouse in the old Disney cartoon movie the Sorcerer's Apprentice. They are playing with powerful magic, without any recognition or sense that their considerable education does not at all equip them to tinker so capriciously with society's elemental foundations. They are precocious children setting loose upon our land consequences which they do not intend to loose in their immature wisdom.

David Warren is correct in asserting that this process of deconstructing Western society began a couple of decades ago with legal changes to permit the killing of infants in the womb and the introduction of easy divorce. I would take it back one step further, to the introduction of artificial birth control, which severed the unitive and procreative link in marriage and in heterosexual relationships, in general.

In his 1968 encylicycal Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI, wrote of the defining characteristics of marriage: . Perusal of this definition is useful whether you are Catholic or not, because it encapsulates the essence of marriage as properly in our sociey understood for centuries.

In the light of these facts the characteristic features and exigencies of married love are clearly indicated, and it is of the highest importance to evaluate them exactly.

This love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.

It is a love which is total-that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner
loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.

Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare." [Bolding is my emphasis.]

Marriage then, as properly understood in Western civilization, is an act of the the free will, which is total, exclusive, faithful and fecund.

When heterosexual married society embraced the pill it severed the necessary marital connection between the sex act and the transmission of human life, between marriage and parenthood. To this extent, same-sex marriage is a logical consequence of the reduction of heterosexual marriage to the unitive facet alone.

Those who oppose it ought not to berate homosexual couples for wanting to participate in the trunctated version of marriage bequeathed to society by the generation which embraced the pill. If heterosexual marriage is endangered by the current changes to the institution, it is by a self-inflicted wound. Alchemist wannabees have been mucking about with this serious magic for several decades now.

Polygamists are standing next in line. What will you say to them, Mickey?


At 1:28 pm, December 14, 2004 , Blogger Timmy the G said...

You have hit upon the very issue I have stewing about, John. What do we say when Mormons and Muslims turn to the courts to get their right to polygamous marriage recognized?

But I should note that many homosexual unions pass the fecundity test, too. Whether it is through artificial insemination, surrogate motherhood or adoption, there are many avenues to parenthood.

Good post.


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