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Life & Family | Marriage

What In The Heck Is Marriage Anymore?

Can anyone explain to me what marriage is today for our country?
by Fr. John Hollowell | Source: http://on-this-rock.blogspot.m

Driving around today, much to my joy, my favorite Adele song came on.  When the song was over, some bubbly DJ, in a really saccharine and smiley voice reported that "the rumor that Adele got married this weekend apparently isn't true.  She was maybe going to run off and get married this weekend, but it didn't happen.  We're also told her baby is due at any moment."

    My instant reaction, as soon as the DJ said the phrase about her not getting married was "who cares?"  My own reaction shocked me because I DO care about marriage.  I thought about it more and realized that my reaction was more along the lines of "why does society care about marriage anymore?"

    So the rest of the way home I was thinking "is it possible to turn this Titanic moral failure of a country around?"  To this DJ, and to most of America, what in the Hell is marriage anyways?  If marriage isn't a sacrament (and we're quite clear as a country that it is not a sacrament), if I define what marriage means to me, then why do we care if Adele gets married or not?  If Adele, two days later, can walk back into court and undue what she just did two days earlier (with a nominal processing fee) why in the world would anyone care if Adele got married or not? 

    As a society, we certainly don't care if Adele gets married because we are worried about the mental health of her child.  We have disregarded any study that would say her decision to marry or not would have any meaningful impact on her child's life, and we've disregarded any studies that suggest that if Adele married Stephanie or Brenda that it would have any meaningful impact on her child, so why do we care as country if Adele gets married or not?  Aren't we to the point now where, like in a Brave New World, people don't bother with the pretense of marriage any longer?  Why are we still hanging onto it when it doesn't mean anything to us as a society?

    Three people can get married in Brazil.  Two guys can get married in several states in the U.S.  The public at large treats news of marriage like it is on par with whether or not a star received a new tattoo or not.  Assuming as our populace does that the Catholic Church has the completely wrong understanding of marriage, and assuming that it isn't a sacrament, can anyone explain to me what marriage is today for our country?  I'd love to hear it.  If you are a man with a boyfriend, or a girl with a girlfriend or you live in Brazil and you are preparing for your three person wedding, or maybe you are just a supporter of marriage rights for all people - can you please send me your understanding of what marriage is today. 

    The only reason I can think that our populace cares if Adele gets married or not is because weddings were a big deal for people "in the old days" and so they are a kind of nice little cultural event, and so to recreate those nice little parties from the past is fun, like going to the fair or watching a movie at a drive-in theater or purchasing a hand-spun milkshake.

    I know who wins in the long run, but I guess I'm just wondering if there is any hope for turning this country around?  On a positive note, I'm reminded of Abraham who bargains with God and talks him down to sparing Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham can just find 10 good people living there.  Then I'm saddened when I remember Abraham didn't find 10 people and Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.  "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8).  As with all of Jesus' questions, it is one worth pondering.

To read more from Father John Hollowell


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