On 11/18/14, First Things editor R.R. Reno published “A Time to Rend,” which claims in its very first statement that “It’s time to make a clear distinction between the government-enforced legal regime of marriage and the biblical covenant of marriage.” This is indeed a wise admonition on the part of R.R. Reno et al. because such is necessary to properly deploy spiritual and intellectual forces for the upcoming battles against the secular hordes. Along similar lines to what is proposed in “A Time to Rend,” I wrote two articles in May 2012 (slightly revised and re-published over the past few years) that I am now combining into one article below as a “call to spiritual arms” that presents additional proposals to what is set forth in “A Time to Rend.”
The War is On!
Saving and Promoting True Marriage
It seems inevitable that so-called gay (Always keep in mind that the term GAY is also an acronym – G.A.Y. – promoted by homosexuals to stand for Good As You in the sense that homosexual morality is just as good as heterosexual morality.), or same-sex marriage will become legally recognized by more and more regions throughout the world as secular forces continue to promote and make gains in this area. While the entire concept of same-sex marriage is absurd and offensive on its face, and a desire to prevent greater recognition of the perversion from occurring is most admirable and rightly motivated, some good can still come out of a revised secular definition of marriage if it carries the day as seems likely.
For starters, the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches can emphasize and publicize that the lone word marriage will no longer be adequate from a church perspective, and so it will necessarily be referred to as Sacramental Marriage, with the idea that Sacramental is to be emphasized and always included when speaking about marriage from X date forward. This will help to maintain the appropriate distinction between marriage proper as a sacred union of a man and a woman and any secular or perverse definition/understanding of marriage the secular world can come up with. For other marriages recognized by the Church as legitimate but not sacramental, these can be referred to as Recognized Natural Marriages (or some other appropriate term).
Let the homosexuals and their fellow travelers cry and whine about being treated “unfairly” once again by the renewed emphasis on Sacramental or Recognized Natural Marriage being essentially different than their twisted understanding of marriage. If they and their fellow travelers are hell-bent on changing terms to suit their perverse behavior, and too much of the world accepts such satanic lunacy, then people of faith and good will can certainly emphasize appropriate terms to reflect their faith, and maintain important distinctions that honor the Lord, His Divine Law, and the Natural Law.
Next, the Catholic Church could use the new emphasis to re-educate the faithful on what marriage is truly all about, focusing on the procreative, unitive, and parenting aspects of marriage at all times. By doing this, it will expose the weakness and stupidity of the secular world’s recognition of “same-sex marriage.” As an added bonus, many people who continue to see marriage as nothing more than a simple partnership will be compelled to understand the distinction between any kind of secular marriage and Sacramental Marriage, and why Sacramental Marriages and Recognized Natural Marriages are holy institutions while the secular perversion is anything but.
Now, for anyone who thinks that churches adopting such a change in descriptive emphasis is a form of caving in to the secular and homosexual world, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of arguing about the proper meaning of an appropriated term, people of faith go on the offensive for a change by emphasizing what true marriage is all about, and that can only be a Sacramental or Recognized Natural Marriage.
Is such a renewed emphasis on True Marriage likely to take place in the churches? Probably not, at least not in the foreseeable future, but even without church leadership implementing such an approach, people of faith can adopt and emphasize the more precise and powerful terminology in all conversations, writings, and so on to fight against the secular darkness that seeks to appropriate many terms in order to distort reality.
As the wise Monsignor William Smith once taught, “all social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering.” Alas, the term “marriage” appears to already be a casualty in our ongoing war against the principalities and powers of this world, but we can resurrect it and make it stronger than ever by adding the words Sacramental or Recognized Natural to it, and by so doing, we will engage in the kind of social engineering that is badly needed at this time.
More on Using Precise Terminology to Counter the Secular World
My recent Saving and Promoting True Marriage drew quite a few responses, most of which were quite favorable to the idea of using and emphasizing the more complete and more meaningful Sacramental Marriage to describe what true marriage is, especially in the public arena.
Nevertheless, some commentators do not accept my contention that the use of Sacramental Marriage is not caving into the secular world, and they express the view that we should continue to fight to use marriage as the shorthand for true or Sacramental Marriage. This motivation is understandable, but the notion that using a more complete and accurate term is a concession to the secular world is simply wrong, and it reflects a misunderstanding of history and current reality regarding the better use of terminology. It also fails to appreciate the opportunity for renewed catechesis on the true meaning of marriage, which is, essentially, a Sacramental Marriage.
To be sure, it would be nice if everyone in the world understood and accepted the true meaning of marriage, but this is not the case, and, sadly, the trend is moving toward fewer and fewer people accepting the true and more traditional meaning of marriage. As a result, the lone term marriage is also no longer being used as a shorthand for true marriage by much of the world. This is the reality that we must confront and overcome; not simply whine about a misappropriated shorthand and all that goes with it.
So instead of crying about the darkness involved in the abuse of a particular term, we can shed greater light by using more precise terminology that cannot be so easily abused. Moreover, whenever people of Christian faith have used the shorthand marriage in the traditional sense, it is understood that this pertains to Sacramental Marriage, so by using this more explicit term to defend and promote a proper understanding throughout the world as the world is today, we can counter the secular misunderstandings and enhance overall catechesis. Not a bad result, that.
For some historical perspective in support of making changes in terminology to enhance clarity and understanding, consider how the term Christian referred to all members of the faith (with some exceptions) prior to the Reformation in the 16th Century. Afterwards, to make a proper distinction, the more precise term Catholic or even Roman Catholic eventually became necessary to distinguish between members of the Catholic faith and other Christian denominations. The shorthand Christian was no longer adequate because it no longer pertained to Catholics alone.
Now, did we lose some meaning or understaning by no longer being able to use the shorthand Christian to refer only to all members of the Catholic faith? Could it not be argued that the appropriation of the term Christian by other denominations was unjustified? Perhaps, but what is the reality today? Does not the leadership of the Catholic church recognize and refer to some denominations as Christian even though they are not Catholic? Also, the term used by leaders and general members alike when referring to our church is almost exclusively Catholic. Indeed, this is more precise terminology that encompasses and goes beyond the shorthand Christian, and the greater precision also provides a greater understanding.
To reiterate, it is indeed unfortunate that the shorthand term marriage has been appropriated for improper use, but such is the reality. However, this reality can also be an opportunity to better explain to the world what true marriage is by using more precise terminology that cannot be wrongly appropriated by secular forces.