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with its characteristics of exclusivity, indissolubility and openness to life, comes to appear as an old-fashioned and outdated option.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.