Amoris Laetitia 53: Alternatives to Marriage

amoris laetitia memeThe synod bishops cite not just First World problems but also Third:

53. Some societies still maintain the practice of polygamy; in other places, arranged marriages are an enduring practice… In many places, not only in the West, the practice of living together before marriage is widespread, as well as a type of cohabitation which totally excludes any intention to marry”. (Relatio Finalis 2015, 25) In various countries, legislation facilitates a growing variety of alternatives to marriage, with the result that marriage, with its characteristics of exclusivity, indissolubility and openness to life, comes to appear as an old-fashioned and outdated option.

The diagnosis here is incomplete. The rejection of marriage is a rejection less of the institution, and more of the poor qualities we often see in troubled or failed marriages.

Many countries are witnessing a legal deconstruction of the family, tending to adopt models based almost exclusively on the autonomy of the individual will.

My sense is that we’re seeing less a deconstruction and more an imitation. Although it’s a good bit more complicated.

Surely it is legitimate and right to reject older forms of the traditional family marked by authoritarianism and even violence, yet this should not lead to a disparagement of marriage itself, but rather to the rediscovery of its authentic meaning and its renewal. The strength of the family “lies in its capacity to love and to teach how to love. For all a family’s problems, it can always grow, beginning with love”.(Relatio Finalis 2015, 10)

This is correct. But any human relationship can explore love, show love, and contribute to society and Church. I think of monasticism being an easy target for us to say, “Yes, see how these Christians love one another.” For your reference, Amoris Laetitia is online here.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Amoris Laetitia 53: Alternatives to Marriage

  1. Jim McCrea says:

    There are many of us who, having only recently been allowed to get married, have done so strictly for the secular and civil benefits, rights and responsibilities. The fact that this church and so many churches refuse to recognize our marriages is totally and absolutely inconsequential.

    I think that more and more people of all sexual orientations find that a religious patina on what is essentially a civil contract imparting some 1100 rights, etc., has become a very expensive, over-the-top frosting on a basic cake and not worth the money.

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