June 2006 – If Marriage is Natural, Why is Defending It So Hard? Taking up the Challenge to Marriage in the Pews and the Public Square

INTRODUCTION Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo presents a rich and deep vision of marriage as “a natural institution which precedes the sacrament.” (1) The essence of marriage, so understood, is unity and indissolubility. Marriage does not ratify or celebrate a preexisting relationship. It transforms the relation between man and woman because it comes into existence only from the moment a man and woman decide, via a free act of the will, to give themselves to each other in this unique way. (2) Unity implies a community in the whole of life, including the gift and acceptance of the whole sexual self, and therefore an openness to giving and accepting from one another the gift of motherhood and fatherhood. (3) A woman who gives herself to a man at the altar as a wife, but secretly reserves the right to have sex or children with another man, is not really giving herself at all. A ceremony in which a man promises to stay with a woman until someone better comes along is not really making a marriage promise at all, whatever his legal certificate says. The task is to explain the obstacles to achieving this vision of marriage and also the ways to overcome such obstacles. Practically speaking, the strongest resistance to this vision of marriage as a natural institution clusters around three areas: contraception, divorce, and gender. (4) What is the deep source of these obstacles to marriage? There are many possible answers, many of which Cardinal Trujillo touches upon: legal positivism, individualism, false anthropologies, self-created spiritualities, and the accompanying decline in religious and/or moral authority. (5) Most intriguing is that Cardinal Trujillo identifies ideology itself as the enemy of the family: [T]he various historical attempts to eliminate the family as a   natural institution have perhaps contributed to the decline,   apparent now more than ever before, of the proper understanding   of the “natural character” of the family. Such attempts have   been produced particularly in countries following a Marxist   ideology, in a world pursued…


June 6, 2006 – Introductory Remarks to Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo’s The Nature of Marriage and its Various Aspects

These helpful introductory remarks explain the intent and object of Cardinal Trujillo’s essay.  It reaffirms the depth of Cardinal Trujillo’s understanding of the natural quality of marriage affirmed and elevated by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony without taking away any of its natural ends.  This introduction prepares us to understanding…