THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE
[continued from yesterday]
The need of the higher sanction and help is seen from the passing nature of the merely natural charms. The mere physical pleasures pass away with their satisfaction. Youthful ardor burns out before the mature part of life is reached. In the course of a life so intimate as that of husband and wife many faults of character become exposed.
Marriage certainly brings a revelation of many new beauties of character, but it also brings a revelation of many faults of character. It is fraught with disappointments even as with agreeable surprises. The fading of bodily beauty also tends to weaken the natural bond. When the hair turns gray, and the eye loses its luster, and the features fall into wrinkles ; when the general buoyancy and ardor of youth tones down into the prose of middle age; then indeed is there need of something more sustaining, something more lasting than the mere tie of natural affection or natural contract. It is found in the unity and perpetuity of the Sacrament.
The Sacrament imparts all the courage, the energy, the refreshment, and the love needful to make the bond strong and lasting. It renews the youth of married life and makes it satisfying even in spite of years.
The Church claims to have the care of this Sacrament. The Church, therefore, has ever insisted on its unity and perpetuity. The Church regards the sin of adultery as something infinitely more heinous than any sin possible among the unmarried.
The father who has to provide for his children must be certain that they are his own. He cares for them only on the supposition that they are his offspring. Any infidelity, therefore, on the part of the woman must of necessity tend to break up these sacred family relationships. A father cannot love and care for children who may be those of the man who has done him the greatest possible injury.
And if a woman gives unswerving fidelity to her husband she has a right to claim an equal fidelity in return. Infidelity on the part of the man, although it does not act directly in rendering the offspring of the family uncertain, yet it strikes at the root of conjugal love, and thus almost directly at the foundations of family life.
A violation of the sanctity of marriage then by either party is a double violation of God's law, a violation of chastity, and a violation of justice. Hence, we have the most stringent laws against adultery, against polygamy, and against divorce.....
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.