aborcja :
pornografia :
tapety : zip : pdf : radio : księgarnia

From Eros to Agape. Catholic marriage

eric gill - secular humanism - seraphim of sarov

CHAPTER X, part 1


'It is no accident, as the Socialists say, that Socialism and Sex (or 'free love') come in together as 'advanced' ideas. They supplement each other. Russian dissident Igor Shafarevich, in his profound book The Socialist Phenomenon, explains that the Socialist project of homogenizing society demands that the family be vitiated or destroyed. This can be accomplished in good measure by profaning conjugal love and breaking monogamy's link between Sex and loyalty. Hence, in their missionary phases Socialist movements often stress sexual 'liberation,' and members of radical organizations may impose mandatory promiscuity within the group, everyone sharing a bed with each of the others, each equally related to each. It is the ultimate in leveling... Few Americans will buy a bottle labeled Socialism. The cunning of the Socialist hive has consisted largely in its skill in piggybacking on the more attractive things. Like Sex.'
Joseph Sobran(1)

'Now it is obvious that the Evil one, who from the beginning has wanted to poison and destroy the work of the Creator, will rage incessantly against these four - marriage, sexuality, love, procreation - for he hates everything about them.'
von Kuhneit-Leddihn(2)

'In all times and places it has been man's delight to think of human love as a type of divine Love and of human marriage as a type of the marriage of the soul with God'
Eric Gill(3)

Many marriages get into trouble. The causes of this can be listed as 'the world, the flesh and the devil.' This old canard is not without meaning. The world imposes innumerable pressures on marriage both by its value system or rather, negative value system, and by the difficulties of earning an adequate and honorable living.

How often our children are mis-educated and our women forced to work outside the home if the family is to survive as an economic unit. The flesh relates to those problems that arise from within ourselves. A marital couple in conflict can truly be said to be at war - one is reminded of St. Paul's question, 'whence come your wars? - they come from your greeds and your lusts. And finally, there is the devil - or evil - which greatly delights in the destruction of marriage and the perversion of sex. There is much talk in Catholic literature of marriage, but very little of sex. Hence I shall try in what follows to deal with this delicate topic, as well as with love and marriage.

Catholics are faced with a serious dilemma with regard to sex. Brought up in an alien culture, bombarded with the distortions of the media, and strongly influenced by a scientific and biological educational background based on false philosophical and theological principles, they have increasingly tended to see sex only in its biological setting. In addition to such influences, they are also subjected to a variety of distorted opinions on the subject from supposedly traditional sources. What I hope to do in what follows is present some insights into the Catholic view of sex based on documents drawn from the Church's Magisterium.

In order to do this let us for a moment consider the nature of man - for sex must be placed within a given context. Unfortunately most of us have been influenced by evolutionary theory and hence we tend to see Natural Selection as a driving force in our lives. If man is only a higher form of animal, the product of natural evolution, then it logically follows that man's sexual and erotic life is seen in terms of an extension of animal instincts. The ultimate, positive basis of human eroticism becomes the biological purpose of the species, usually seen in terms of survival.

Not dissimilar to the purely biological point of view, is that which embraces the concept that sex is 'natural' and that repressive cultural forces or religious attitudes have distorted our sexual lives. According to this view, the only normal attitude towards sex is that of the uninhibited and amoral primitive savage - an opinion that refuses to recognize that even the most primitive of tribes in Africa and South America have strict rules with regard to sexual activity. This Rousseauian viewpoint is often embraced by modern writers. Thus, for example, Aldous Huxley in Point Counter Point describes D.H. Lawrence's attitude in the following terms: 'the natural appetites and desires of men are not what makes them so bestial... It is the imagination, the intellect, the principles, the education, the tradition. Leave the instincts to themselves and they will do very little evil.'

The problem with both these viewpoints is that neither says anything about love. Without love, sexuality becomes like the activities of the birds and the bees.

Most philosophers hold that man is distinguished from the beast because of his ability to think and will; similarly, most philosophers place love within the realm of the will.(4) For man to reduce sex to a 'natural' or 'instinctive' act, or to use the words of Lawrence, 'to blood and flesh,' can only signify degradation, for what is called natural for man as man is not at all the same as what the term 'natural' signifies in the case of animals. This does not mean that sex for man is not natural, but rather that, like all his acts, both his intellect and will to some degree are involved. Clearly man shares certain instincts with animals - but a man is not said to act in an animal manner unless he refuses to use his higher powers to modify his instinctual drives. Conformity is natural when it is conformity to one's own type. A horse would not be seen as natural if he ran like a rabbit, and vice versa. What is normal to man must take into consideration the fact that he is placed at the apex of God's creation and made in the image of God. For him to act in a manner that refuses recognition to his stature is for him to act unnaturally.

Proof for this contention can be found in the fact that the false notion of sexual love as a physical need. As Julius Evola points out, 'A physical sexual desire never exists in man; the desire of man is substantially always psychic, and his physical desire is only a translation and transposition of psychic desire. Only in the most primitive individual does the circuit close so fast that only the terminal fact of the process is present in their conscious as a sharp, driving carnal lust unmistakably linked to physiological conditional qualities which take the foremost place in animal sexuality.'(5) Nor can it be claimed that human sex is driven by an instinct for reproduction. As one wit put it, 'when Adam awoke next to Eve, he did not cry out and say 'behold the mother of my children.' '

I have said that the problem of the biological or Rousseauian viewpoints is that while they speak of the emotions, they say nothing of love. Now, despite innumerable attempts to define the nature of love, none of them have been wholly successful. This is not surprising in that there is something mysterious about this 'affliction.' However, I believe there are certain characteristics - perhaps one could say 'symptoms' that are fairly universally recognized. Love by its very nature seems to
1) involve the whole being.
No one ever claimed to love another other than with their whole body, soul, and spirit.
2) love demands or longs for eternity.
A person truly in love wants to bind himself forever to his beloved.
3) love sees in the beloved, not his or her faults, but rather his or her perfections.
The very names of endearment speak to this, for the beloved is an angel if not a god or goddess; he or she embodies - or at least potentially embodies - all the qualities of the divine prototype - the solar hero, the flawless maiden.
4) both parties to the loving relationship see their worldly, if not their eternal happiness to lie in the perpetual enjoyment of each other's company.
5) love requires an act of the will - a commitment -directed towards what is understood as desirable - an act of the will which also excludes anything that intrudes upon the unity of the parties involved.

To say this is not to exclude the emotions, for as has been pointed out above, the act of loving involves the whole of what one is. It follows then that one who refuses to commit himself, or who breaks a commitment in order to start another relationship, fools himself. Such a person confuses the excitement of novelty with authentic happiness.(6)

What role does marriage play in all this? Borrowing from von Hildebrand, 'marriage is the friend and protector of love. Marriage gives love the structure and shelteredness, the climate in which alone it can grow. Marriage teaches spouses humility and makes them realize that the human person is a very poor lover. Much as we long to love and to be loved, we repeatedly fall short and desperately need help. We must bind ourselves through sacred vows so that the bond will grant our love the strength necessary to face the tempest-tossed sea of our human condition.... Marriage, because it implies will, commitment, duty, and responsibility, braces spouses to fight to save the precious gift of their love.'

Almost all cultures initiate and establish marriage with religious rites. For those that believe in God, knowing how difficult marriage can be when we lose sight of the inner essence of the beloved and see only his or her outer accidental qualities, realizing that they have made a commitment or a vow made to God, and asking a higher power to succor their weakness, becomes an inestimable source of strength; a means of renewing their commitment and of assuming their responsibilities which not infrequently take on the form of a cross. Marriages involve commitments 'in illness and in health, for better or for worse.'

Religions tend to view marriage as a contract.(7) This in no way is meant to exclude love, regardless of whether that love has led to the marriage, or the arranged marriage has opened the door to love. This is not only because every commitment has a contractual aspect to it, but also because religions tend to see marriage in a broader context - that of society as a whole, and therefore as directed towards what philosophers call the 'common good.' Whereas modern social theory tends to view each individual as tied to the state, traditional societies tend to see the family as the basic building block of society. The very word economia means family, and so it is that both religion and traditionally minded governments do everything possible to maintain and foster the integrity of the family.

If marriage is a contract, it is not a contract in the ordinary sense of the word. It is not a contract in which man's subsidiary goods - his house or property - are transferred, but one in which it is his and her very person which is transferred. No man or woman has the right to say of another that 'you are mine.' Two beings alone can say this to one another because they have truly and freely given themselves to one another. What is exchanged is their will and consent, and this, unlike any other contract, irrevocably. 'This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh... what God has joined together let no man put asunder.' And subsequent to this proclamation God instructs the couple to 'increase and multiply.'

To speak of family is to speak of progeny.(8) Now there is no question but that, as St. Augustine says, 'the sanctity of the sacrament is more important than the fecundity of the womb.'(9) Yet, the childless family always bears a tragic aspect.

No wonder then that most religions agree with the Catholic principle that the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation and education of children, and the secondary purpose of marriage is the fostering of the unitive relationship of the parties involved.(10) Let us be clear on what the procreation and education of children means. It does not mean that one should have as many children as possible, but rather that in a marriage the children come first - not just their production, but their upbringing. Further, by education one does not necessarily mean a Harvard degree, but rather the formation and development of complete human beings; individuals whose physical, psychic and spiritual development is fostered. What this means is that, should love grow cold and the unitive aspect of marriage fall apart, the parents are obliged to sacrifice their personal needs - their desires to love and be loved -for the sake of the children. This may seem to us to be a painful course to follow. But, as St. Seraphim of Sarov points out: 'Christian marriage is a life-work. It is easy only in ideal circumstances.

Fidelity to the end, St. Seraphim taught, is essential to happiness. If Christians find they cannot live together, they go on living together for their homes, their children, for the Church and for God. It may mean much suffering, but this married life is the way to heaven. For only those who take up the cross can follow Christ.(11)


(1) Secular Humanism or The American Way, The Human Life Review, Fall 1982.

(2) The Timeless Christian. He continues: 'man's participation in God's creative power, something that is denied him - the love between two human beings, the sanctification of nature, and not least, the sacramental character of the married state. He will try to force love to take on an egotistical form, to infect it with jealousy, to destroy its permanence; he will move heaven and earth to bring disorder into every aspect of sex, to turn its stream into a raging torrent, or to dry it up altogether, or to divert it into a false bed; he will lead the partners towards divorce, to petty bickering, to a sterile boredom of everyday life, even to mutual hatred; finally he will try to estrange children from their parents and, recalling his own origin, will infuse their minds with the spirit of vainglory, of 'knowing better,' and of ingratitude.'

(3) 'Outside the commercial civilizations of the [modern] western world, love and marriage take their place as types of divine union, and everywhere love and marriage are the subject-matter of painters and sculptors. It is true that love is the theme of [modern] western writers also, but, with them, the idea of love is now entirely free from divine signification, either explicit or implied, and, however much they mays still be under the heel of the old tradition which makes marriage the inevitable 'happy ending,' yet, as religion decays, the inevitability of such an ending becomes less and less and the nootion of a permanent union, 'till death do us part' is more and more frequently relegated to the 'scrap-heap' of outworn ideas... The modern world fondly imagines that it has removed the veil with which a more superstitious generation shrouded reality whereas, actually, it has simply blinded itself to the reality of which material life is the veil.' Art and Love, Bristol: Cleverdon, 1927.

(4) Love is nothing other than the will ardently fixed on something good... ' William of St. Thierry, The Nature and Dignity of Love.

(5) Much that we label 'primitive' is only degeneration. As Erich Fromm states, 'What is essential in the existence of man is the fact that he has emerged from the animal kingdom, from instinctive adaptation, that he has transcended nature although he never leaves it; he is part of it - and yet once torn away from nature, he cannot return to it' (The Art of Loving).

(6) Christ loved Lazarus deeply as a friend - it is said that the emotions whelmed up in him on hearing of his death. The more modern translations state that he was overwhelmed with emotion, but such is false, for while the emotions have their place, they would never in Our Lord overwhelm the higher functions of His human soul.

(7) 'Nowhere is sexual union regarded as marriage unless it is in some way socially sanctioned.' C. Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, (1917).

(8) Aristotle in his Politics states that 'a home must possess three relationships if it is to be complete, namely, that of husband and wife, of father and the children and that between the master and servants.' (Quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Commentary on Ephesians).

(9) De bono conjugali, cap. Xviii, n. 21

(10) In the words of St. Augustine, 'offspring signifies that children shall be lovingly welcomed... and religiously educated' De Gen. Ad litt., 1.9,c.7, n.12.
Similarly St. Thomas teaches 'education and development until it reach the perfect state of man as man, and that is the state of virtue.' (III, 41, 1). It is said that a woman who brings up her child in the faith will enter heaven before any theologian.

(11) St. Seraphim of Sarov, A Spiritual Biography, Archimandrite Lazarus Moore, Sarov Press, 1994

from eros to agape - sex - julius evola - catholic - marriage - eric gill - joseph sobran - von kuehneit-leddihn - secular humanism - seraphim of sarov

statystyki www stat.pl