Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Sanctity of Marriage - Vote Now!

I'm enjoying a day off with my family in New Bedford following the busy, but beautifully grace-filled nature, of Holy Week. Last night we were watching television when a commercial came on the t.v. for a new reality television show, "The Real Wedding Crashers."

They list this show on their website as a "funny marriage prank series." Their tag line: "Nothing is safe: not the cake, not the dress, not even the ceremony!" At that point, I wanted to (and should have) dropped to my knees and prayed a rosary.

You know, we often hear the debates and read in the newspapers about the issue of gay marriage as an attack on the sanctity of marriage, and that is a worthwhile debate to have. We really do need to sit down and prayerfully figure out what all of this means especially in a context of faith and what the best way to respond to it is.

But, what I really wonder is - can this sometimes become a distraction? When you add up, just the things in the media: "The Real Wedding Crashers," "Whose wedding is it anyway?", "Who wants to marry a millionaire?" These, and all of the other shows like them are having the greatest impact on the sanctity of marriage possible.

I look at the young couples who come to the Church today to be married sacramentally. Gone are the days where they would lie to the priest and give fake separate addresses for where they live. Now, in one regard you might say, well it's good they are not lying any more. And that's true. But, they aren't lying anymore because they don't even have an awareness anymore that there is any value to virginity, to chastity, to waiting, to anticipating; they aren't even aware that the Church, and our faith, are opposed to these things.

Instead they boldly and proudly tell us that they are living together. Why? "Because we want the strongest marriage possible Father, so we figured we should practice first." I sometimes wait thinking, and even hoping, that I'm on a hidden camera show. But, no matter how long I wait the punch line never comes. They are serious.

The media encourages this. Worse still, parents encourage this. I hear parents say, "This is great. I wish I did the same when I was their age." Or, "Father, I can't tell my children what to do. I don't want to upset them." And true, you can't tell your adult children what to do - but, what about long before that? What kind of messages happened at home. Were things like abstinence, virginity, being pure and chaste, encouraged and held up as lofty ideas. Or did we say, "Pass the popcorn," during the latest episode of "The Real World" waiting to see which anonymous roommate is sleeping with the other, and will the third find out?

The bottom line - sanctity starts at home. The bottom line, we are not slaves to the messages of the media; to the messages of the culture; to the messages of our friends and family. We should be living in the freedom of the Children of God. Surely, Christ didn't die on the cross for us to say, "Does it really matter."

Teach these messages at home. Live them in our lives. Turn off the television; especially when the shows support messages that are really teaching our children - and us - to reject the Grace of the Truth; the Truth of our Faith.

It really does matter.

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