Marriage Is a Social, Procreative Institution
In the current issue of The RI Catholic Fr. John Kiley has a worthwhile counterpoint to the pro-SSM event that I covered last night. Unfortunately, Fr. Kiley’s essay doesn’t appear online, but the he captures the gist in the following:
… Nowadays marriage has become almost entirely a matter of personal relationships. Marriages are supposed to be romantic affairs, or so most of Western society would like to believe. Yet love as the sole basis for marriage is fairly new in history.
As the popular musical “Fiddler on the Roof” testified, it was the matchmaker who drew couples together in peasant villages. Elsewhere it was parents and property and inheritances and religion and nationality that largely guided the marital destinies of young people.
The unifying principle behind various examples that Fr. Kiley describes is that marriage is about lineage and community development. Over time (notably in parallel with increases in economic comfort and medical proficiency), Western society has rightly increased individuals’ right to decide how to participate in and define that development, but same-sex marriage would undermine the very principle. It would make marriage, by its definition, nothing other than a legal compact between two currently extant individuals.
Divorced from the biological possibility of children — explicitly rejecting the idea that marriage has anything inherently to do with their creation — the institution whereby society has set apart the specific circumstance in which two people, two families, and potentially two cultures are literally joined and embodied in a unique human life would relegate that continuity to the whims of individuals.