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Marriage, Children and the Virtue of Love

刊登日期: 2013.03.03
作者: Fr. Thomas Au 區耀邦神父  

What does sex have to do with love? Does one have to love someone in order to have sex? What should constitute marriage and family? These and other related issues have become confusing and contentious. Some people do not think there should be any restrictions on the act of sex, that actions in the privacy of the bedroom between two consenting adults should be totally private and not subject to rules and regulations. 

I would like to voice a few observations on these discussions in the next few articles. And I would like to begin with the notion that “anything goes” with “two consenting adults”. Philosophically, those who argue from this position have already made restrictions with the words “two”, “consenting” and “adults”. Somehow, they argue, anything outside of these three conditions should be considered abnormal or illegal. I could propose, just for the sake of argument, that the limitation of “two consenting adults” is already too restrictive. I think I can argue to have “adult” to be the only acceptable limitation. Or maybe not? Why have any restrictions at all? And the fact is, that is the real long-term agenda for opponents to marriage between one man and one woman, no restrictions. 

You see, the present discussions on the morality of sexual behavior are all pointless! Any restriction remains a restriction. Anyone who does not agree with it will argue against it. Society has to make up its mind on what constitutes rules and laws for the good of society. Sex is not a matter of human rights, as if it is something I have a personal right to exercise, because it almost always involves another person. Something is not a private (personal) thing whenever two or more persons are involved, just as when we drive a car. Would anyone argue for the personal human right to drive a car without any restrictions and laws? 

So where should we begin? The Catholic Church begins this way. The gift of the sexual faculties is for two complementary purposes, that is, the purposes enhance and complete each other and should not be separated, or great damage may be done to both. The physical and biological purposes of the sexual faculties are 1) to allow the couple to naturally bring children into the world and 2) to preserve the human race and the society in which we live. Now, some people may argue that those are not the only purposes, and I concur. However, I do ask that they must begin with the primary purpose before we discuss exceptions. For example, if we were to discuss eating, we would not begin with eating disorders as a starting point, nor would we spend much time on bulimia and anorexia. 

Let’s continue. In the natural course of life, children are brought into the world through sexual acts between two people of complementary sexual faculties, that is, a man and a woman. In the animal kingdom, the young require a period of time for the adults to pass on the lessons of life so that they could survive on their own. In the human race, our young require a lengthier period of time, twelve or more years, to adequately be educated to be responsible adults. Therefore, in a normal and natural environment, parents commit themselves to each other and to their children to give them a life-time of stability and security, in the noble mission of parenting. This is how the original marital laws came about, to protect innocent and vulnerable children and to safeguard the duties and authority of parents in building a sound society. Society has the right to protect itself from children not properly formed to be responsible citizens. In fact, in many parts of the world, when children do not go to school and are found delinquent, the PARENTS are held responsible and therefore, negligent (of truancy laws). Their children may even be taken from them and placed under foster care. Consequently, SOCIETY has the duty to impose laws on the conditions for marriage and family. 

The present discussion around the world on marriage and family is misleading. The proponents of these new laws want protection for their own behavior, so they demand society to condone and legitimize it by using words like “personal rights”, which inflames the already muddled area of a healthy society. 

Next we will consider the love in the Sacrament of Marriage. 

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