Marriage unites a man and a woman with each other
and any children born from their union.
That's what marriage is. That's what marriage does. It's a fact. It's indisputably true. This is reality!
Expressing the reality of marriage in this way reflects how marriage has been recognized by every culture, by civil laws, and by every religion in the world. It also expresses Catholic teaching (Catechism, §1603). It expresses complementarity, procreation, mother and fatherhood, permanence of relationships, irreplaceability of persons, kinship, the family, and the potential for the hearbreak of infertility. And, it implies the good of children in a way that corresponds with the human heart.
This is an example of reality-based thinking, which is so critical for children and adults to learn in this culture of relativism in which false "realities" become embedded in the minds of each individual. It is characterized by "your reality is not my reality" or "what is true for you is not true for me." This tempts people to chase illusions that promise but never deliver—false "realities" that often lead to personal disaster. It is this kind of thinking that has led to the current attacks on marriage and family.
The Impact of Redefining Marriage on You, Your Family, and Friends
Some want to change the reality of marriage by redefining it in law as merely the public recognition of a committed relationship for the private interest of adults. This is what is needed to accomodate same-sex couples, but this would no longer be marriage—the reality.
San Diego volunteers at a Stand with Children booth.
What many people do not realize is that this false understanding of marriage is subtly and not so subtly being taught in schools across the country, in some cases as early as kindergarten. This false definition is being promoted through television, film, and news media. And, this false definition is already embraced by many in society, especially the young, leading them to think marriage is obsolete and to question why they should consider the vocation of marriage in their lives. This has led to the increasing privation of married mothers and fathers for children, with huge human and social consequences.
Stand with Children, a positive campaign to rebuild a marriage culture
2010 Stand with Children
As people get involved with Catholics for the Common Good Faith and Action circles, they will learn that redefining marriage has the pernicious effect of also obscuring the reality of true love, kinship, and family. People are losing a sense of the need for the primordial connection between child and mother and father that every person without exception desires. Children are reduced to objects for the benefit of adults, and the sense of what it means to be human is lost.
People Know Reality
In a recent Pew survey, the connection between marriage and children was shown to be weak based on respondents' opinions of what marriage means to them. But look at the dichotomy demonstrated by these responses. These were not based on the culture, but common human experience.
Seventy-one percent agree with Stand with Children!
" The growth of unwed mothers is a 'big problem'."*
How did they know this?
It is a big problem for children who are deprived of a father or married parents. It is the root cause of the increase in poverty.
Sixty-nine percent agree with Stand with Children!
"A child needs a mother and a father to grow up happily."*
How did they know this?
Having a married mother and father happens to be the heart's desire of every person. We need only turn to our own experience to verify that. This is reality.
* As Marriage and Parenthood Drift Apart, Public is Concerned about Social Impact, Pew Research Center, July 2007 based on a national random sample of 2020 adults.
Not only must we mobilize to defend against the pernicious effects of the culture on our family members and friends, but as Catholics we are called to fill a particular role in the mission of the Church: working to organize a just civil society that supports the dignity of the human person and the common good.
In doing so, we must always be for the good, for the human person, for the family, for all of humanity—not against anything or anyone. We must become love, even to our detractors, and always be in solidarity with the victims, the poor, and the spiritually vulnerable. (see the Catholics for the Common Good Way)
Who are the victims of the changing definition of love, human sexuality, marriage, and family?
1. Young people who learn a distorted view of love, human sexuality, marriage, and the family that effects the choices they make in life. These may be people in your own family.
2. Children who are deprived of a married mother and father, sometimes even intentionally deprived of knowing and being cared for by their mother or father or both.
Children are powerless to stand up for their interests and depend on adults to advocate for them—for a common interest that is shared by all that we can verify by our own experience. It is that common desire we all have for a married mother and father—the two people from whom we originated who are committed to each other and committed to us. It is a human need—a right that must be supported by laws and society in general.
Every Parent's Nightmare
While some adults are uncomfortable talking about the reality of marriage because of intimidation and social pressures, consider that your child's world is worse.
Parents try to teach the faith, and the truth about love, human sexuality, marriage, and family to their children. Then children go to school where they are met with hostility from peers and teachers with different views of marriage, family, and sexuality. What can they do? Here are the choices: do they adhere to what their parents have taught them; do they become schizophrenic and behave one way at home and another way at school to get along; or do they just give in to the pressures? They love their parents. They know how important the faith is to them. And, they don't want to disappoint them, so it is difficult for children to even talk about such things.
This is a reality that every child faces sooner or later, and one that parents need to recognize. If adults think the social pressures are difficult for them, think how much greater they are for vulnerable, impressionable, insecure children learning social skills with peers and authority figures.
It is Time to Commit and Choose to Stand with Children
[with] "the new state of affairs today . . . It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle"
Pope John Paul II
Join the positive "Stand with Children" movement. Sign Stand with Children statement of principles today. Consider volunteering or applying for a local leadership position.
End the sense of isolation that so many people who are struggling with the attacks on marriage and family are feeling. Join or start a positive Faith and Action Circle in your parish which will serve as a support and learning community. Join the team beginning the work of rebuilding a marriage culture.
This is a long term project. We have been sitting idly for the last 40 years while those who are redefining love, human sexuality, marriage, and family have been working hard. They have built a huge infrastructure with advocates in classrooms, on school boards, in corporate management, and in government at all levels. Look at the pro-life movement, put your trust in the Holy Spirit, and think in terms of decades. But one thing is certain—now is the time to stop complaining about how bad things are or what other people are doing or not doing. Now is the time to get on our knees, to make a commitment to God and to our friends and family and get involved.
Promote the Centrality and Integrity of Marriage
Because Having a Mother and Father