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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Monday, October 24, 2016
by Crystal Stevenson / American Press
This article was first published October 21, 2016, at AmericanPress.com.
How to heal after the breakdown of one’s family unit will be the topic of the San Diego-based Ruth Institute’s inaugural Louisiana event.
The “Healing Family Breakdown” retreat will be 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Our Lady Queen of Heaven’s family center, 3939 Kingston St.
The retreat will include short talks, guided meditation and small group discussions, said Ruth Institute founder and retreat organizer Jennifer Roback Morse.
“Pretty much every family is affected by it in some way or another, if not your immediate family then in the extended family,” Morse said. “We realized based on our scientific research that there is an enormous amount of pain associated with it. Just looking around the culture you can see that people are suffering, but they don’t know what to do about it.”
Morse describes the forms of a family breakdown as adults divorced against their will — such as in cases of adultery or desertion; children who experience the divorce of their parents; children born to unmarried parents; and fostered, adopted or donor-conceived people who don’t know their biological parents.
“A lot of times people feel it’s their fault and there’s something wrong with them, but really we have a lot of structural problems causing this,” she said. “So we wanted to put together something that would help people deal with it in their own lives and also have a bigger picture of why it’s so troubling, and that’s what the retreat is designed to do.”
Morse said the retreat will focus on the child’s perspective.
“Our philosophy is that every child is entitled to a relationship with both of their parents unless some unavoidable tragedy takes place to prevent that, and of course that does happen,” she said.
“From the child’s perspective, anything that involves them not being in a day-to-day relationship with both parents, that’s a breakdown. If you look at it from a child’s perspective, sometimes the family is broken down even before it starts.”
Too many families are suffering alone and in silence, Morse said.
“It’s possible to have some healing. The feelings you have of maybe longing for the missing parent or longing for the relationship to somehow be restored, that’s a perfectly valid feeling,” she said.
“It might not happen; you might not be able to control whether it happens or not. But we want people to feel affirmed that at least it’s OK to have that desire.”
Morse said the conference is open to people ages 15 and older. Cost is $30 per person and $50 per family; attendance is free for members of the clergy. To register, visit www.olqh.org.
Posted on: Saturday, October 15, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
Originally published at The Blaze on October 14, 2016.
Dear Social Justice Warriors,
In some circles, the term “Social Justice Warrior” is a slur: an overly sensitive, obliviously privileged college student in a continual uproar over trivia.
I don’t agree with this caricature. I agree with you that social justice is real and worth fighting for. I admire young people who want to do something noble and good with their lives.
I have the perfect cause for you. This is a cause where you can do something constructive for the poor and marginalized. This cause demands something of you, rather than you demanding something of others. Are you ready for my challenge?In Portland Oregon, 2-year-old, Zackariah Luda Daugherty was murdered by a 20-year-old man. In West Virginia, an unnamed 9-month-old baby girl died after being sexually assaulted, shaken and strangled by a 32 year-old-man. In New Jersey, Ariana, a two-year-old girl diedafter being sexually assaulted by a 22 year-old-man.
What do all of these cases have in common?
The perpetrator of these crimes was in each case, the mother’s live-in boyfriend. If you type the words “mother’s boyfriend kills child” into your browser, many similar stories will pop up.
Social scientists have known for some time that the most dangerous living arrangement for a child is living with his or her mother and her live-in boyfriend. Back in 1994, a British study of child abuse reported that children living with their mother and a cohabiting boyfriend were about 50 times more likely to be killed than children living with their married parents.
This chart is taken from the original article with the permission of the author. Look at the bar labeled 2 NP md, which stands for “two Natural Parents, married,” and compare it with the bar labeled NM & chtee, which stands for “Natural Mother and cohabitee.”
A more recent study, in 2005, in Missouri, found that children living with their mother and an unrelated adult were 60 times more likely to be killed than children living with their married mother and father. And 84 percent of the time, that murderous unrelated adult was the mother’s boyfriend.
What does this have to do with me, you may ask? My young friends, I have frequently given talks on the hazards of cohabitation. And it never fails: some college student, usually a guy, will claim that cohabitation is not really so bad. It just looks bad, he will say, because lots of poor people cohabit. It looks like a bad deal, because the people who cohabit are more likely to be losers in the first place.
This is not correct, as it happens: controlling for income and education does reduce the impact of cohabitation, but not all the way to nothing. But let us say, for the sake of argument, that the problem is not cohabitation per se, but the people who happen to cohabit.
This, my earnest young friends, is where the social justice issue comes into play. Let’s say that you, as a privileged college-educated woman, can have a child, and then safely move in with a boyfriend who is not your child’s father. Let’s say you, as a college-educated man, never abuses your live-in girlfriend’s child.
But look: the child of a poor woman is more likely to be harmed by his or her mother’s boyfriend. What part of social justice is it for you and your advantaged friends to make excuses for a social convention, cohabitation, that won’t hurt you, but is systematically more likely to harm the poor? Why would you do such a thing?
That study is old and out of date, you may say. Ask yourself why you think that matters. I think we somehow expect the passage of time to bring wider acceptance of cohabitation. And we think, this wider social acceptance will solve these problems.
That assumes that the problems have only to do with social approval. Do you really believe that less disapproval of unmarried motherhood will eliminate the stress, fatigue and loneliness that unmarried mothers feel? Will wider social acceptance improve her judgment about what kind of guy is good for her to be involved with? Is the mere progression of time enough to make men no longer prefer their own natural children to someone else’s? Will further progress of the Sexual Revolution make men less interested in sex with the mother and more interested in her child?
In other words, the True Believers in the Sexual Revolution believe they can remake human nature.
I think this is a fool’s errand. I think these “old, outdated” studies show that we have known from the beginning that cohabitation is problematic. The privileged people of society, academics, social workers, judges, law enforcement officers, they are all aware of these risks. But we are not telling the poor, whose lives are most likely to be disrupted and even destroyed.
So here is my challenge to you. Stop making excuses for cohabitation. You don’t really need to move in with your Significant Other, do you? And even if you think you do, at least stop defending it as public policy. Give some thought for Zackariah, Ariana and the thousands of other unnamed children who have been harmed by their mothers’ boyfriends. Sacrifice yourself for the sake of social justice.
You just might save some lives.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse: Survivor of the Sexual Revolution
Posted on: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
By Joyce Coronel
“My friends, the Church has lasted 2,000 years. Let this be our finest hour!”
Such were the parting words of Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, when she spoke before a packed hall of more than 350 inside the Diocesan Pastoral Center during the Catholics in the Public Square legislative seminar Sept. 17. It was a harkening back to the iconic speech given by Winston Churchill as the Nazi attack on Britain loomed.
With the election just weeks away, Catholics from across the Diocese of Phoenix gave both Roback Morse and Alan Sears, president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, standing ovations for high-energy talks that encouraged attendees to get informed, speak out, and live their faith boldly in the public square.
Many of those gathered were parish representatives on hand to get copies of the fourth edition of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted’s “Catholics in the Public Square” booklet. The booklet examines the intersection of faith and civic duty and calls on the faithful to form their conscience “in accord with the voice of God” and to “defend the dignity of every human person.”
At a Mass held at St. Mary’s Basilica prior to the seminar, Bishop Olmsted preached about the centrality of belief in the Resurrection of Christ, a belief he said “has had to be defended throughout history,” including today. This reminder of the power of the resurrection and Jesus’ promise to be with His believers until the end of time should bolster our faith “no matter what may discourage us in being good citizens,” the bishop said. “We do not walk into the voting booth by ourselves. We do it in Him and with Him.”
Sean Halpain, state deputy for the Knights of Columbus, spoke of the organization’s goal this year to encourage men to become the spiritual leaders of their own families. He also called on younger men to join the more than 16,000 Knights in Arizona.
Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, pointed to the funding by the Knights of Columbus that made it possible to print 55,000 copies of “Catholics in the Public Square.” The diocese held the first legislative seminar to distribute the booklet 10 years ago, he said, and since then, more than 300,000 have been distributed.
“This booklet has helped change the diocese,” Johnson said. In 2008, when voters were to decide on a proposition defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, the educational campaign launched by the booklet and seminar helped shift the Catholic vote 40 points, Johnson added, and the measure passed. Despite such success, however, “in 2016, we see storm clouds.” He encouraged attendees to educate themselves on the issues and noted that the five Catholic bishops of Arizona oppose the push to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, a measure that will be before voters in November.
Specifically, Johnson urged people to Vote No on Prop. 205 in order to avoid problems, especially those related to the endangerment of public safety and harm to children.
Both Sears and Roback Morse also alluded to ominous developments in the public square. Sears spoke of the “56 percent of self-identified Catholics who disagree with the Church’s teaching on marriage and the 46 percent of Catholics who believe private business owners should be compelled to provide services to same-sex couples. The trampling of religious liberties continues, but most Catholics fail to grasp the significance,” he said.
“One thing people don’t understand is that it won’t matter to the government how kind you are, how loving you are,” Sears said. “All that will matter is one thing: whether you have bowed and offered your pinch of incense at the altar of secularism. … Catholics have seen over and over that when you offer that little pinch, it never satisfies.” He called for Catholics to speak out and stand with John the Baptist and St. Thomas More, who “never compromised on marriage. … These are grim days, but they are also days that can form our own sainthood,” Sears said.
Roback Morse, for her part, defined and denounced the sexual revolution, calling it “a pagan ideology that no Christian should have anything to do with.” She called out the separation of sex from babies, the contraceptive mentality, no-fault divorce and the move to wipe out gender differences for the harm they have caused society. She drew laughs with a meme of Blessed Paul VI inscribed with the words, “Humanae Vitae: I told you so.” The late pontiff predicted that acceptance of contraception would lead to numerous social ills, including infidelity and moral decline.
“The sexual revolution is irrational and impossible. … We have people in power deciding to create a world not based on reality,” she said. Sex does make babies, children need their parents, and there are differences between men and women.”
Posted on: Tuesday, October 04, 2016
The Ruth Institute commends Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo of Richmond, Virginia, for his defense of Catholic teaching. Tim Kaine, Democratic candidate for Vice President, has said that the church will change its teaching on marriage. Bishop DiLorenzo, Kaine’s local bishop, disagrees.
The Bishop’s office posted: “Despite recent statements from the campaign trail, the Catholic Church’s 2000-year- old teaching to the truth about what constitutes marriage remains unchanged and resolute.”
The statement continues by pointing out a foundational belief shared by the Ruth Institute: “Redefining marriage furthers no one’s rights, least of all those of children, who should not purposely be deprived of the right to be nurtured and loved by a mother and a father.”
For his steadfast defense of the true nature and purpose of marriage, the Ruth Institute commends and thanks Bishop DiLorenzo.
As a sign of support for Bishop DiLorenzo, the Ruth Institute offers these roses and our prayers for him and for everyone in the Diocese of Richmond.
Posted on: Saturday, October 01, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Blaze on September 29, 2016.
I got into the conservative movement as a 19-year-old economics undergraduate at Ohio State University.
My OSU professors were all recent graduates of the University of Chicago and were true believers in the free market. The theory was elegant, simple and humane. I was instinctively suspicious of anyone to the left of Milton Friedman. But recent developments have persuaded me to reconsider at least part of that elegant equation. Never in my wildest dreams, did I expect to feel as much resentment toward the wealth of certain people as I do today. Let me explain.
As a young free marketeer, I developed a sensibility that I should not automatically be suspicious of wealthy people, (even though I didn’t actually know any.) An honest person could do well in an economy like ours. “Do well by doing good.” Serve large numbers of consumers. Give the consumers what they want, at the lowest possible cost.
I developed unbridled contempt for people who used the coercive power of the State to enrich themselves. Bilking the taxpayer, bullying competitors through regulations, generating artificial demand for your product by government fiat: this kind of thing made me angry. It still does.
I couldn’t care less how a person spends his or her own money. Ostentatious conspicuous consumption. Keeping up with the Jones’. Their shallowness was their problem, not mine. As long as they came by their wealth honestly, I hold them no ill will. The gap between their income and mine, the gap between their income and the person who cleans their house: that still doesn’t much bother me. The wealthier person provides employment for others, without harming their dignity.
But now, I have come to see that some rich people are doing something I really do resent. They are using their wealth to manipulate the political system. They are trying to change the rules for everyone to remake the world in their own image.
I first noticed it in my area of social conservatism. I saw people like Paul Singer passing out money to get “marriage equality” enacted in New York State. People like George Soros form organizations to manipulate public opinion and lobby the government. (See the Tax Form 990 for the Open Society Institute for 2014, Part XV, Line 3, here.) Rob Reiner and his Hollywood friends formed an organization to overturn Proposition 8, which had been duly elected by the largest grass roots campaign in history.
Warren Buffett has spent over a billion dollars promoting abortion, “comprehensive sexual education,” and “peer counseling,” (read: propaganda) for promoting the early sexualization of children. This same handful of rich people financed the research that overturned the Texas abortion clinic regulations, which were duly enacted by the duly elected representatives of the people.
This weekend I went with my husband to the Gun Rights Policy Conference, sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation. Guess what I learned? They are dealing with the same problem. In their case, Michael Bloomberg is the Sugar Daddy of the campaign to disarm law-abiding citizens. I heard speaker after speaker describing “astro-turf” (that is, fake grass roots) organizations lobbying the legislature.
Different issue, same problem. Rich people figure they are entitled to throw their money around to enact the laws that will bring their fantasy ideology into being. They spend their money to promote massive publicity campaigns to manipulate public opinion, so people will go along with it, and maybe even come to believe it.
The fantasy ideology of gun control is: “If we only had enough new gun laws, criminals would all obey those laws and firearm violence would disappear.”
This fantasy requires a lot of propaganda. “If we never run a news story in which an armed and trained citizen interrupts a crime, no one will ever notice that a good guy with a gun actually can stop a bad guy with a gun. We will make a “documentary” that we edit to make supporters of citizen self-defense appear foolish. Those dopes in fly-over country will never notice.”
The fantasy ideology in my line of work is: “Kids don’t really need their own parents.” This fantasy also needs a lot of propaganda. “If we just “educate” everyone early enough and often enough, kids won’t miss their missing parents. We can change the story line slightly to accommodate the fact that some kids lost contact with their parents through divorce, single parenthood, or third party reproduction. But it is the same story: kids don’t really need their own parents. If we never mention in a news story the connection between fatherless boys and violence, or fatherless girls and early sexual activity, or mothers’ boyfriends and child abuse, maybe no one will ever notice.”
What does this have to do with the free market, and my personal regrets? When my friends and I were promoting the free market, we were thinking of small businesses, minding their own businesses. We were thinking of Dave Ramsey-style, living within your means, ordinary folk taking personal responsibility for themselves and those around them. We thought that by speaking out against crony capitalism, we had done our duty. We were not taking seriously the ways that highly concentrated wealth could be used to manipulate the whole political system.
Perhaps some of you agree with “marriage equality.” Maybe you agree with abortion on demand and sexually explicit sex education in the schools. Maybe you agree with highly regulated guns and highly unregulated abortion clinics. But do you really want to be manipulated by a handful of unelected, unaccountable wealthy people? I sure don’t.
I am now wondering whether some of the people I considered Leftist adopted those beliefs because they were worried about these very things. I still can’t’ imagine myself going full bore down the left-side of the spectrum. But still, maybe some of these people have more to say than I gave them credit for. If you are suspicious of the rich, or of the free market, for these reasons, allow me to apologize. I should have listened sooner. I still don’t know what to do about it.
But, maybe we should talk.
Posted on: Monday, September 12, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Blaze on September 12, 2016.
Those of us who live in prosperous countries may not realize the full impact of the contraceptive ideology around the world.
You know the ideology I mean: everyone old enough to give meaningful consent is entitled to unlimited sex without a live baby showing up. We tend to think governments should allow people to obtain any form of contraception they want. We don’t realize that governments around the world, including and especially our own US government, have done far more than that. They have actively promoted contraception and even forced people to limit their childbearing.
As a devout Catholic, I believe the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life and the sacredness of the sexual act are good, humane and true. For holding these beliefs, I am accustomed to being a public punching bag (metaphorically of course). I am undaunted.
Pope Paul VI was prophetic in 1968 when he restated what had always been the ancient teaching of all the Christian churches. His landmark encyclical, Humanae Vitae, was correct.
In paragraph 17 of Humanae Vitae, called Consequences of Artificial Methods, Blessed Pope Paul (he was beatified by Pope Francis after the Synod on the Family in 2014,) makes a series of predictions. All of them have come to pass.
We have indeed seen an “increase in marital infidelity” and a “general lowering of moral standards.” Who can deny that we have obliterated the incentives for “young people to avoid temptation?” or that men have “lost their reverence for women?”
But it is Paul VI’s analysis of the misuse of governmental power that is truly prophetic.
Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone.
I have often wondered how this seemingly far-fetched thought occurred to Blessed Pope Paul. Perhaps a meeting with John D. Rockefeller III in 1965 had something to do with it.
John D. Rockefeller III was an avid proponent of population control. He worked hard to neutralize the opposition of the Catholic Church throughout the 1960’s. He cultivated relationships with faculty and staff at Notre Dame, even sponsoring conferences there. His friend, Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh, arranged the papal audience in July of 1965.
Rockefeller was perhaps accustomed to religious leaders swooning over his wealth and power. (Metaphorically, of course.) We don’t really know what took place at this meeting. But we do know from a letter Rockefeller wrote that he volunteered advice to the pontiff for his upcoming encyclical (which became Humanae Vitae) and that he gushed about the need for population control. I can imagine the Holy Father, cultured European gentleman that he was, being shocked by the presumption of this brash, rich American. Perhaps it was this very meeting that persuaded Paul VI of the danger of morally sanctioned birth control in the hands of people like Rockefeller, and the governments they might be able to influence.
In any case, look at how correct Paul VI proved to be about the dangers of government’s imposing their will to override people’s genuine reproductive rights.
The Obama administration spent an estimated $23 million illegally lobbying Kenyan lawmakers and bribing opinion makers to legalize abortion in their country—and succeeded. The current president of the Philippines has proposed a “Three Child Policy,” in a country that has experienced amazing increases in prosperity and living conditions without any such policy. The Catholic Bishops of Africa have spoken out against these new forms of ideological colonialism. A Nigerian bishop has claimed that the US refused to help them fight Boko Haram, unless the Nigerians accept U.S. policies on birth control.
And China’s One Child Policy: what can one say? The Chinese Birth Control Police is arguably the largest law enforcement organization in the world with 1.2 million “cadres” and about 500,000 professional bureaucrats. Make no mistake: the One Child Policy has not gone away, just because the People in Power have decreed that some people get to have 2 children instead of 1. People still need Birth Permits. Pregnant women are still dragged off the streets and forcibly aborted. Couples with an “illegal child” may have their homes destroyed.
Oh heck, just watch this four minute video and see what I mean.
Hideous ideas have hidden behind the widespread social approval of contraception. Religious figures still allow themselves to be used by the rich and powerful of the world. George Soros tried to influence the media coverage around Pope Francis’ visit to the US, by dumping money into Catholic front groups. Even now, a group of dissenting Catholics are planning to present a “new” report on the ethics of using contraception at a UN-hosted meeting on September 20. Their goal: “to encourage the Catholic hierarchy to reverse her stance against so called “artificial” contraceptives.”
And where are the feminists while women are being forcibly aborted and sterilized? AWOL. And what about the libertarians? What do these freedom-loving people have to say about governments requiring permits, for the most personal of human rights, having a child? Crickets. The Catholic Church is the only major institution in the world offering even token resistance.
That is why I am proud to be a Catholic, not in spite of her teachings on the sanctity of human life and the sexual act, but because of them
Posted on: Saturday, September 10, 2016
By Joyce Coronel
This article was first published
In the midst of a contentious political season, Catholics might be tempted to obey the maxim about steering clear of politics and religion in public. But that’s not what they’re called to do.
That’s one of the messages Catholics will hear at the Sept. 17 Catholics in the Public Square Legislative Seminar. The day begins with an 8 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica with Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, followed by breakfast and a lineup of nationally-known speakers at the adjacent Diocesan Pastoral Center.
“Our Catholic faith is not a private matter. It is deeply personal but it is also social,” Bishop Olmsted told The Catholic Sun. “If our faith is alive, then it permeates every dimension of our lives, including our citizenship.”
Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, the policy arm of the Catholic Church in Arizona, noted that the seminar provides much-needed encouragement and a pep talk for the faithful.
“This is always a spectacular event,” Johnson said. “We’ve been having these for over a decade and what we’re really excited about now is the release of Bishop Olmsted’s booklet that day, the fourth edition of ‘Catholics in the Public Square.’”
The latest edition, in English and Spanish, includes numerous updates as well as quotes from Pope Francis and his visit to the U.S. “We’ve got over 50,000 copies we’ve been able to get printed up, largely through the help of the Knights of Columbus and others,” Johnson said.
The event will be one way to motivate Catholics to let faith permeate every aspect of their lives and be courageous in defending their faith in the public square.
“It’s never been good enough for people to be cultural Catholics,” Johnson said. “That’s especially so now when society is really expressing hostility in so many forms against people of faith.”
Those who attend the seminar will hear from Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, and Alan Sears, president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“We can no longer be holding-pattern Catholics. We can’t just assume that we can circle Atlanta and everything’s going to be fine if we stay on auto-pilot,” Roback Morse said. “We have people in the public square who are actively hostile to our entire worldview and they are pushing us out of the public square, enacting into law policies that are deeply harmful to people.”
Her talk, she said, would focus on “how the sexual revolution got started, how it is a pagan ideology that we absolutely must resist and that it’s a totalitarian ideology.” She also emphasized the importance of confidently expressing the truth of Catholic belief.
“You cannot win on defense — that’s what you do when you’re on the run, you’re retreating. We need to say we are correct on the substance of the issue,” Roback Morse said. We want to be allowed to practice the Catholic faith. We want to be able to run our hospitals the way we want to run them, our schools the way we want, because we’re right.”
She had sparring words for some of current hot-button issues too. “We don’t want you re-defining marriage. We don’t want you re-defining the human person out of their bodies. People are being harmed by these things. And the Church is the only one with the guts to speak up about it,” Roback Morse said.
Sears, for his part, said it’s crucial for Catholics to be involved in the public square.
“We are living in perilous times of sweeping change and growing danger to our Church, to our nation, to people of faith across the globe,” Sears said. “The dramatic increase in government power and scope — such as demanding that churches fund abortion, demanding that charities fund abortion-inducing drugs, coercing creative artists into producing and communicating messages contrary to their conscience — is intruding further into our hearts and minds every day, and has been for a generation or more.”
And while he noted that the upcoming presidential election is undoubtedly important, Sears said much more is at stake for freedom’s future than who sits in the Oval Office.
“The threats to freedom exist in many places at many levels — legally, politically, culturally, at the state legislature or city council —
but as many threats as there are to freedom, there are that many more opportunities for the faithful to secure and advance freedom for future generations,”
Posted on: Friday, September 09, 2016
by Jennifer Johnson
This article was first published at Clash Daily on September 1, 2016.
There is a lot of controversy over the Catholic annulment process, both within the Catholic world and outside of it. I am grateful that the Church has such a process, but there is confusion about it. So I thought of a way to explain it by using a hypothetical story about a same-sex couple:
Once upon a time there was a man and a man. They fell in love and decided to get married. They planned a large wedding in a beautiful church. They obtained a marriage license from the county and found a minister to conduct the ceremony. They planned a beautiful reception.
On the big day, all their family and friends came. The ceremony went smoothly and the reception was a lot of fun. Everybody had a wonderful time and many people remarked on what a joyous occasion it was. They went on a honeymoon and after they got back, they decided to buy a home together. They hung their marriage certificate on the wall. They were very happy.
After a few years, one of the men slowly became convinced that he was not living the way God wanted him to live. He eventually submitted his life to Jesus Christ, and sought a divorce. He started going to church that disagreed with same-sex marriage and made a lot of friends there. He had gotten to know a Christian woman there, and they became close friends. He told her of his past life and she didn’t seem to care. They loved each other and decided to marry.
They knew the ancient Christian teaching regarding marriage, and wondered if perhaps God viewed the man as still being married in God’s sight. So they went to the pastor with this question. The pastor told them that no, just because the man went through a wedding ceremony and had a marriage certificate, did not mean that he was married in God’s sight. The pastor assured them that the man was free to marry the woman, since he had not been married in God’s sight when he was with the other man.
Any Christian can see that this would be true, if it were to happen. Same-sex marriages are not marriages in God’s sight. If somebody in the situation above were to later desire marriage with somebody of the opposite sex, they would be free to marry since they were not truly married in the first place. As Christians, we say this because the ancient teaching is clear in passages such as Matthew 19.
Unfortunately, the same thing can happen in male/female marriages. Sometimes they are not married in God’s sight even though they had a wedding, a reception, a marriage certificate from the county, children, and a divorce. Even civil law acknowledges this concept, and calls these situations “putative marriages.” This is a problem that has grown along with the sexual revolution. So-called “sexual liberation” has distorted people’s understanding of marriage, to such an extent that some of them fail to enter into real marriages in the first place.
I am grateful to the Catholic Church for having a process to determine whether or not marriages are valid. Although I am sympathetic with some of the criticism of that process being made by orthodox Catholics, I am grateful the process exists. And it needs to exist as a matter of justice. Marriage is a public commitment, a public institution, not a private one. Determinations regarding it should happen in a public forum.
Catholics call this “the external forum” which is a tribunal that exists to make these kinds of determinations. Because marriage is a public institution, I disagree with “internal forum” or private/personal determinations regarding the status of a marriage in God’s sight. Our own testimony, feeling, and conscience regarding the status of our marriage is certainly valuable, but it is not enough. “Private marriage” is oxymoron, and so private (aka “internal forum”) determinations of it can’t satisfy the requirement for justice. If we rely solely on a private or “internal forum” solution regarding the status of our marriage, we are being the judge and the petitioner in our own case. It should be clear that justice can’t be rendered, since there is a conflict of interest. The judge needs to be separate from the petitioner.
Once such a marriage has been found as invalid by the external forum, it is referred to as a putative marriage. A putative marriage as some of the elements of a valid marriage, such as legitimate children. A valid marriage can be likened to a circle, and a putative marriage can be likened to a circle with a part missing. It looks like a complete circle until it is examined more closely by people who know how to do such things.
Are there any such procedures in non-Catholic Christian churches? I am not aware of them but I’m certainly no expert on what goes on in those churches. I would appreciate learning about these procedures in other denominations.
For Christians, an invalid marriage is a relationship that looks like a marriage yet was never a marriage in God’s sight. Somebody who was in such a relationship is free to marry. He is not in violation of verses such as Matthew 19 if he should seek marriage in the future.
Jennifer Johnson is Associate Director and Treasurer of the Ruth Institute and Contributor for Ruth Institute Blog.
Posted on: Monday, September 05, 2016
The fact that an ideology is incoherent does not mean that people are not deadly serious about implementing it.
By Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Federalist on June 6, 2016.
I hate to disagree with Rachel Lu, whom I admire and consider a friend. But we simply cannot count on the LGBT movement self-destructing. I agree that this ideology is incoherent and destructive. But that is no guarantee it will implode. I fear Lu does not fully appreciate just what manner of thing we are dealing with.
Lu suggests the LGBT movement is a passing fad: “Whether it’s Malthusian population controls, global temperature freak-outs, low-fat diets, or disco, it often seems that idiocy seems unassailable until suddenly it isn’t. A page turns, and the emperor has no clothes, as his folly becomes a cautionary tale for future generations.”
By contrast, I believe the LGBT movement is one feature of the overall movement called the Sexual Revolution. The Sexual Revolution is not like low-fat diets or disco. It is more like the other items on the list. I hate to break it to you, but population control and global temperature freak-outs are still with us.
Also, what do these three things—the Sexual Revolution, population control, and global warming ideology—all have in common? They are ideologies that demand total control over large numbers of people. These ideologies are appealing to some people, precisely for that reason: they imagine themselves as the controllers, not the controlees.
The fact that an ideology is incoherent does not mean people are not deadly serious about implementing it. Look: it is not possible to create a prosperous society without private property rights. Marxist ideologues believed they had a high moral duty to try. The Soviet Union lasted 70 years and did not “self-destruct.” Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul, Margaret Thatcher, and, yes, Osama bin Laden all had a hand in pushing it over.
These three points sum up the ideology of the sexual revolutionaries. They believe a good and decent society should: Separate sex from procreation, separate both sex and procreation from marriage, and obliterate all differences between men and women, except those individuals explicitly choose. Do you recognize our society? Do you notice that all these of these objectives are impossible?
It is not possible to create an entire society in which sex does not make babies. Sex and child-bearing should both take place within marriage because children really do need their parents. Marriage is society’s institutional structure that allows children a stable and ongoing relationship with both parents. Finally, men and women actually are different, starting in the womb (little boys are less likely to survive pregnancy and childhood) and going all the way to differential causes of death.
All the branches of our government, the media, academia, big business, and entertainment are committed to the fantasy ideology of the Sexual Revolution. It takes a lot of force to do the impossible. It takes a lot of propaganda to make people believe the impossible. That is why the Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian movement, standing all on its own, quite apart from the usual categories of Left and Right.
That’s not a bug, as they say. It is a feature. Many of the most militant activists are drunk on their own power. Look at the “trans-activists” getting the city of New York to place onerous fines on people for using the wrong pronoun. Look at the college students, getting professors fired for insufficient conformity to the ever-changing standards of “sensitivity.” Look at the gay activists suing small Christian businesses, as if there were a constitutional right to get your picture taken by the photographer of your choice. These militants are intoxicated with power.
We must see the Sexual Revolution for what it is: a tyrannical movement that resents the limitations of the human body, especially those caused by our maleness and femaleness.
With all due respect, Lu, the LGBT movement will not self-destruct: it will morph into new and more virulent forms. The LGBT true believers are already throwing over the Ls (lesbians, remember?) in favor of the Ts (transgender people). Lesbian couples made nice, non-threatening images for commercials for redefining marriage. But many lesbians do not accept “transmen” as women. Lesbians are no longer useful as battering rams for taking down sex differences. Therefore, their objections don’t count.
The Ts are the current battering ram. A very useful battering ram they are, too. If you can make people say and believe that Bruce Jenner is a woman, you can make them say and believe anything. If you can make people afraid to say anything other than that the 1976 Olympic decathlon winner is a woman, you can make them believe that black is white, up is down, and freedom is slavery. Or, more to the point: that slavery is freedom.
No, we cannot count on the Sexual Revolution to just fade away. It has caused enormous human suffering already. That has not stopped the true believers from carrying on. The Ruth Institute has a plan. This column is not the place to go into it. Suffice to say, that our plan calls on everyone who has been harmed by the Sexual Revolution to tell the whole truth about what happened to them.
If we all speak up, we have a chance. If we are afraid to speak, if we try to live our lives quietly, as if nothing out of the ordinary is going on, the revolutionaries will continue unimpeded. Eventually, we won’t be able to protect ourselves and our children.
I for one, am all in: total, unapologetic opposition to the whole destructive course of the Sexual Revolution. Total solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Sexual Revolution.
Posted on: Monday, August 29, 2016
This book is great - simple, achievable hints for a better relationship.
by Tamara El-Rahi
This article was first published August 16, 2016, at Mercatornet.com.
It’s not often that couples are in unhappy relationships because of big things like star-crossed fates or the fact that their families are feuding. More often than not, it’s the small things that come between two people – and isn’t that a shame?
Sometimes I observe a couple and wish they knew certain simple things that would really enhance their relationship. Which is why I am a big fan of the book 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage by Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes: because it’s literally 101 little and achievable things that make a big difference if implemented in a couple’s day-to-day life.
The different chapters offer a handful of hints that come under various topics, such as “Adjust Your Attitude,” “Get It Done Without Drama” and “Appreciate Your Spouse.” I can’t list all of my favourite tips as there are just so many good ones, but here are a few that stood out to me, as well as my thoughts on them:
Tip #5 – Enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings, but don’t feel cheated if they go away. Feelings are fleeting. “I like the way I feel with this person” is not enough to sustain a marriage for a lifetime.
A common mistake that people make is assuming that the way they feel in a moment is all that matters - but feelings change from day to day. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to catch some episodes of the latest US season of The Bachelorette; seeing her base her decisions so much on the way someone made her feel over their other qualities. My feelings towards people can change when I’m hungry, for goodness’ sake! Feelings are good of course, but love more than anything needs to be an act of the will.
Tip #10 – Take responsibility for your own happiness. Your spouse does not really have the power to make you happy or miserable. You have a choice about how to react to what your spouse succeeds or fails to do.
This is something that many people struggle with – I sure have! I think that after the joy of falling in love, people expect that it’s their spouse’s job to always keep them that euphoric. Talk about pressure! No-one is perfect, so expecting your spouse to be will just leave you disappointed. Owning your happiness (or seeking it in God, for those who are religious) is so important for your relationship satisfaction.
Tip #35 – Practice giving to your spouse. “I’m getting up to get a cup of coffee. Can I get something for you?”
I love this one! No-one is happy with contributing 50-50; or counting how many good deeds they do in comparison to their spouse. Happiness comes from “100-100” – both giving their all and thinking of the other first; instead of focusing on what they’re getting: which too often becomes a focus on what they’re not getting! I know I always feel cherished when my husband brings me a snack or a drink when he went to get one for himself.
Tip #37 – Always speak well of your spouse, both in private and in public. Badmouthing your spouse to others makes you look either disloyal or foolish, or both. Say nothing if you can’t think of anything positive to say.
I’m sure you’ve experienced it – socialising with a couple as one lists the other’s bad habits in a passive-aggressive manner, as you awkwardly try to laugh it off or change the subject. Or catching up with a friend to hear her complain endlessly about her husband – not in a constructive way where she’s looking for advice, but rather in a “men are so stupid” way. Let’s be honest: these scenarios are pretty cringe-worthy. Unity is so important for a couple’s relationship to be strong! If you have something critical to say, it should be dealt with behind closed doors, and then you should move on instead of hanging onto resentments. Not to mention that the way one speaks and thinks of their spouse is how they end up relating to them – hence best to keep it positive!
97 more great tips like this to be found in the book! And for those who aren’t yet espoused, 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person is due out this October.
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