First Published in ‘The Catholic Voice’, Ireland, December 2015
Modern Ireland’s Pharisaism
Modern Ireland, has lost sight of God’s primary purpose for marriage and has become Pharisaical in putting God to the test with legalised divorce, legalised contraception, legalised ‘same-sex’ relationships which are falsely called marriages, legalised adoption of children into ‘same-sex households contrary to the best interests of those children and contrary to all the ‘fluff and burble’ of our politicians about cherishing and protecting all children, legalised murder in the guise of abortion, and soon we will have legalised euthanasia if our Taoiseach continues along the road he has so freely chosen to lead this nation of ours.
Christ sends the Pharisees back to the Beginning
When the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with their question on divorce, which is told to us in both Matthew 19:3-12 and Mark 10: 2-12, Jesus refers them back to the beginning of creation, to the book of Genesis, and he quotes Adam’s words on beholding Eve, “And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.” (Genesis 2: 23-24)
The bible starts with these words “In the beginning God created …”. The Gospel of St John starts as follows “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”. So we see that in the beginning there was God, and God alone, perfect in every way, existing in a beautiful Trinity of Love.
What does God desire and will for Marriage?
When Jesus refers the Pharisees back to the beginning, He is referring them back to God and telling them to look to God for the answers to their questions. What did God desire and will, when He created Man and Woman? The answer to this question is contained in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.
In this time of Advent, which is the beginning of the Church’s Liturgical year, it is good for us too to go back to the beginning and so I propose to have a look at some parts of the first three chapters of Genesis in my next few articles, because here we will find many of the answers to our queries concerning marriage and, we will also find out the reasons why things are not going as well as they should be going in our society today.
The Book of Genesis
In Genesis 1: 26 – 28, we have the first account of the creation of man.
“And He said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.”
Man is the Pinnacle of God’s Creation on Earth
Here we see that God, having created the earth and filled it with all kinds of plants, fish, birds and other animals, comes to the pinnacle of His earthly creation, Man! Man is created in the image and likeness of God, with just two genders, male and female, and God bestows upon man the authority to rule over His earthly creation.
The Primary End of Marriage
God then establishes marriage, in its natural form, by blessing the man and the woman and saying, “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth”. God, in His first words to Adam and Eve, gives them the primary end of marriage which is to “increase and multiply and fill the earth”. In other words, go and have plenty of children. These children are the primary blessing which God has given to marriage and they are the purpose for which He established marriage.
Pope Pius XI, refers to this in his great encyclical on marriage, Casti Connubii, where he says “Thus amongst the blessings of marriage, the child holds the first place. And indeed the Creator of the human race Himself, Who in His goodness wishes to use men as His helpers in the propagation of life, taught this when, instituting marriage in Paradise, He said to our first parents, and through them to all future spouses: “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth.” As St. Augustine admirably deduces from the words of the holy Apostle Saint Paul to Timothy when he says: “The Apostle himself is therefore a witness that marriage is for the sake of generation: ‘I wish,’ he says, ‘young girls to marry.’ And, as if someone said to him, ‘Why?,’ he immediately adds: ‘To bear children, to be mothers of families’.”” (Casti Connubii 11)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reaffirms this in No 1652 quoting Gaudium et Spes “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.”
The catechism continues “Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Saviour, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.”
Many people reject God’s view of Marriage
The problem today is that so few people, Catholics included, see marriage in this way. But, to see marriage in any other way is to deny God, for this is how God intended marriage to be and no creature can change what God has intended. This problem, for which Moses gave a compromise to the Jews of old, has also deeply affected Christ’s mystical body the Church, with many Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and religious, leading lay people astray by teaching a corrupt understanding of marriage which exalts the secondary ends of marriage such as union and romantic love, above the primary end of begetting children for God’s kingdom. These secondary ends must always be at the service of the primary end in order for the marriage to be truly happy and as God intends.
So what went wrong? Let us go once again, as Our Lord told the Pharisees, back to the beginning and to the Book of Genesis, where we will find the answer.
© John Lacken 2015
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Author: John Lacken
Founder: Legio Sanctae Familiae – The Legion of the Holy Family