Sunday, November 16, 2014

Concerns over Cohabitation

With so many pivotal questions on the church's table at present, it is certain that the most monumental of all challenges is that of finding the wisdom to bridge the intent of Christ with the modern concerns of caring for His sheep.As this is no small task, and certainly one too complex to be adequately addressed by my politically dis-inclined mind, I am nonetheless compelled to explore the topic because of the great injustice it is to find such impediments to the sacramental life.

It is widely reported that many couples today are not marrying, choosing to cohabitate instead without the "slip of paper" simply because there are so many financial (survival) obstacles that come with it.
I will say up front,that as far as cohabitation is concerned from a theological standpoint, I borrow a bit from Pope Francis' book the line,  "I remain a "loyal daughter of the church."

I also admit that there are serious, practical obstacles in our modern world that make choosing traditional marriage unduly difficult.These need to change if we as catholics hope to, as St. Augustine says, "build the City of God."

(It also must be affirmed that financial issues are not the only reasons cited for the as to why we are cohabitating in greater numbers.It is also true that my millennial generation suffers from an inoordinate fear of commitment,comorbidly believing,among other things, that one must have vast sexual experiences before settling down
But that is another article.)

I merely propose for timely consideration how secular "marriage" laws have created many varying and valid concerns which are so foreign to the Church's view of matrimony, that we now have the conundrum of copious "irregular situations."
We train the best of our theologians to go to task representing the church to the world in  this game of Intellektual Gymnastics. This is no true game however, as very real people are the ones invested,having placed their bets on these integral players needed to build an emergency bridge between the ideals which the church exists to uphold and the society where her faithful live under dual citizenship(even though temporarily.)
For instance...
Elderly folks lose much of their Social security benefits simply by signing a civil marriage license.
Impoverished mothers lose even more of their public assistance benefits if she is blessed enough to actually have a man commit to her and her children.
And, for those who would like to be married in the church but are without a civil marriage license, the church will not witness their sacramental marriage,as if there could be no sacrament without Ceasar's approval.This is truly tragic.

With the well-known financial impact of fewer job opportunities, higher student debt, and the fallout of the recessed economy, many people are not considered by others to be "good candidates" for civil marriages (simply) because of  financial baggage.They cannot "afford" their God given vocation.
In these all too common situations, many people would otherwise civially marry but unfortunately, there are often complicated reasons for not doing so that were not part of our cultural landscape in years past.
It just seems to me a terrible injustice that one should be pressured by fears of losing health insurance,Veteran's benefits, or other means of survival into forgoing their vocation which is very truly one's "means of salvaton."
In these instances, marriage becomes the opposite of what it is meant to be.Matrimony becomes,quite like children have, a liability rather than an asset.

As the question is asked over and over, "What can we do to help' the family?'" -we may consider spending our time doing research to find practical ways of re-orienting society towards making it more conducive to healthy marriages and family life .
We need family- friendly laws.We need just wages.We need paid maternity leave for mothers and fathers.We need more ethical business practices.We need...a lot more that I wish I knew how to identify to convey my point here.

We live in a time where the incentives for cultivating family life have lacked the trendiness so characteristic of the modern civil law making of the past couple generations. Instead, the popular mantras of the collective media consumer have been focused on the rights of the" individual" but not for the building up the individual to be stronger members of the community.Rather, the individual's right (to do anything they choose ..fill in the blank) comes at the great expense of what is good for the community.Thus, paradoxically, the intrinsic needs of the individual suffer in the end from a lack of strong communities.

I do not presume to have the answers as to how we ought to go about building these bridges between doing on earth as it would be in Heaven (as it would be in Eden) and how it is being done in a neo-pagan society. I can only offer, for what it is worth, that if Rome wants to aid catholics in their individual vocations and encourage marriage for the greater good, it would be advantageous to remember how the landscape of civil marriage punishes those who desire to approach the Altar of the Lord with practices that are based on ideologies of a false freedom.A freedom can hardly be called such when the only "freedom" that is protected is that which ensures the individual can do as they wish.

Matrimony cannot be as God intended it to be-the building block of society- until society begins to rebuild the honor due to God's most basic,stabilizing and natural union.
To be continued...

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