: "Some of the readers of this blog are aware that Brant, Michael, and I—along with Peter Kreeft—were all involved in a large Catholic Bible conference in New Orleans a few weekends ago, the Word of God conference sponsored by Catholic Productions.
The conference was focused on the sacraments of service—matrimony and orders. After an introductory lecture by Brant, I delivered a talk on the Catholic view of marriage, based on reason and revelation. My first major point was that Catholic teaching on marriage is in agreement with reason—social scientific data supports the view that the two-parent, heterosexual marriage is superior to all other arrangements for the raising of children. Since the state has a vested interest in the welfare of the next generation, the state justifiably identifies and protects the life-long mutual commitment of a man and woman—marriage.
After making this point, I went into a biblical narrative theology of marriage starting from Genesis 2 and moving through the Pentateuch and even into the Historical Books, pointing out how the narrative implicitly valorizes monogamy and critiques other arrangements—i.e. polygamy and homosexuality. My students will remember this as the “implicit critique of polygamy” in the Old Testament. Of course, this view is not original with me. It has deep roots in the Jewish interpretive tradition, and my eyes were opened to it by reading the superb Jewish biblical commentator Umberto Cassuto on Genesis.
I also mentioned the concept of marriage as the climax of the creation story (Genesis 1-2) and the iconic significance of marriage vis-à-vis the creation of mankind in the image of God. Marriage is two persons whose love becomes hypostasized (personified) in a third; inasmuch as this is true, it is iconic of the relations of the persons of the Trinity.
In any event, after the talk was over, an officer of the local secular humanist society, who happened to be in attendance, approached me cordially and shared with me that he disagreed with “everything” I had said, and invited me to debate the issue of marriage in a forum provided by his organization. I declined to debate, but offered to arrange someone else to do so. I contacted Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who has since accepted the offer to debate. We will see how that develops.
In any event, the encounter led to some self-reflection, and I began to wonder if I had overstated the case for the importance of the two-parent family, with biological father and mother present, for the raising of children. That led me to do some searching on the internet, which turned up a remarkable link to none other than that bastion of Catholic dogma, Time Magazine. -Read More