Friday, June 11, 2010

Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal - June 11


[continued from yesterday]

...The first and foremost reason why the Church deprecates mixed marriages is because they spoil God's ideal. Christ came on earth to speak the mind of the eternal Father. The Church exists to speak the mind of Christ. Any suggestion of difference of thought between the Fath«r and the Son, or between Christ and His Church, carries with it the evident mark of its own absurdity.

From this absurdity, however, we may gather something of the imperfection of a marriage union in which the parties profess different faiths. The Catholic faith is the most precious treasure, the most illustrious adornment, which a man can possess.

It is a possession, moreover, which is unique of its kind. It cannot combine or make terms with any other faith. If one article be changed only in the slightest degree the whole faith is rendered vain. A marriage union, therefore, in which one party makes profession of Catholicism and the other of Protestantism cannot be but an ungraceful thing in the eyes of God.

Indeed, there are few people who do not recognize the irregularity. It is only the immediately interested couple, who, for the time being, cannot see that it is a matter of the highest importance.

They are madly in love, and where it is a question of so much love the faith must accommodate itself to circumstances. Yet, if they could only see the connection between faith and love, they would have to recognize that diversity of faith in the marriage union must eventually tell against love in the marriage union. Faith is the gift by which we believe in God and in His word. Without belief in God we cannot love Him. Without the full acceptance of His word we cannot follow His commands and ordinances. We cannot live in sympathy with that wonderful system of morality by which He adjusts and fosters the love between man and man.

Thus it is that the Protestant married to a Catholic cannot avail himself of the teaching and the Sacraments of the Catholic Church which might be so effectual in fostering love between man and wife.

Real love is that only which has faith for its foundation. But in the mixed marriage the faith is all on one side. It does not flourish with that fecundity which would be present were the parties united in one and the same belief. Further, this absence of faith-informed love on the part of the non-Catholic partner must in a measure react on the Catholic partner.

Grace is very powerful, but it needs a nature upon which to act. And if the faith-informed love of the Catholic partner finds no response in the non-Catholic partner, if It receives an inferior love in return, or if it discovers itself misunderstood and unappreciated, then, if it does not dwindle away, it at least fails in its possible measure of fruitfulness.....

[continued tomorrow]
From Marriage and Parenthood, The Catholic Ideal
By the Rev. Thomas J. Gerrard
Author of "Cords of Adam," "The Wayfarer's Vision," ETC.
Copyright, 1911, by Joseph F. Wagner, New York.

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