MOSAIC Fall 2015 - Page 4

Marriage and Family Cornerstones of the Culture Catholic teachings on marriage and family life are divinely revealed and intimately connected—and are ordered toward society’s greater good. Dr. Robert Fastiggi T he Catholic Church recognizes the great importance of marriage and the family because both are essential for learning to love. In his meeting with families in the Philippines on January 16, 2015, Pope Francis said, “In the family we learn how to love, to forgive, to be generous and open, not closed and selfish. We learn to move beyond our needs, to encounter others and share our lives with them.” In the same meeting, the Holy Father noted that marriage and the family are in crisis today. “The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by the lack of openness to life.” 2 The words of Pope Francis provide a fitting context for raising the question: What does the Church teach about marriage and the family and why? In this regard, it’s important to realize that the Catholic Church did not create marriage and the family. Both of them have existed from the Sacred Heart Major Seminary | Mosaic | Fall 2015 very dawn of human history because they correspond to human nature. The Catholic Church, therefore, in her teaching authority, or Magisterium, seeks to uphold the authentic meaning of marriage and the family as known by natural reason (the natural law) and by divine revelation. What Does Scripture Say? Sacred Scripture upholds the beauty and dignity of marriage and the family. In the first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-2, God wills man and woman to unite as one flesh and to be fruitful and multiply. In the Old Testament, however, the “divine pedagogy” on marriage is not yet complete, though there are some wonderful testimonies of marital love and fidelity in the books of Ruth, Tobit, and the Song of Songs (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1610–1611). Nevertheless, because of the Israelites’