Maybe It Was Never Out of Style

Lots of interesting news items come from Zenit, but the media organ is not above puff pieces that inspire a few scratches in the scalp. Like yesterday’s on “traditional” marriage.

Rafael Navarro Valls affirmed this last Thursday, saying that numerous legal measures established in various countries, and sociological polls carried out in Spain, reflect a return to a classical understanding of marriage, based on monogamy, heterosexuality, stability, a formal commitment and an orientation toward forming a family.

This statement presumes that legislation dictates common understanding, a rather 1984-ish approach. And one nation’s polls? What about tracking these issues over the past eight to ten decades? That would tell us more than a single snapshot.

It would be my contention that modern western culture has always approved of most of this list, either by being born mostly straight (heterosexuality) or the expression of love matches (monogamy, stability, and commitment) and a generally more enlightened view towards children (family).

Even for people born SSA, there’s nothing to suggest these “traditional” qualities of marriage aren’t desirable as an alternative to promiscuity, loneliness, instability, or a lack of family connections. In other words, is the desire for stability and family a human yearning, or does it have a true application only in a heterosexual union?

In a conference in Burgos, Navarro Valls affirmed that “both the most recent studies from the Center of Sociological Investigation, as well as the studies of values and youth, [show] maximum importance is given to the family in life, above friends, work or professional competence” and that “on a scale of one to 10, the family based on matrimony and with children of both members of the couple is valued at more than nine,” thus measured as the closest thing to the “ideal family model.”

I’ve seen polls and studies summarized that show some shifts toward these values. How much can be attributed to population swells and shifts within age groups? I might expect a higher percentage of adults in their thirties to value stability and children, as opposed to people in their twenties. As western society ages, we’d expect values more important in the young to be more muted in overall expression.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Maybe It Was Never Out of Style

  1. Jimmy Mac says:

    I think this is a good article to add further perspective and substance to this story:

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/article.php3?id_article=2020

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