Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Heretical Roots of Modernist Marriage

"In accepting one aspect of Christian marriage–consent–and then kicking out God and His laws–liberals/libertarians revolutionized and destroyed marriage, as they have destroyed social life in general," argues Thomas Fleming — Three Weddings and a Funeral. "They have taken the idea of consent of persons and turned it into an abstract theory of human rights."

Heresy often enshrines and then distorts one truth at the expense of all others. The Modern Phase was rightly labeled as such Hilaire Belloc in his The Great Heresies.

Also interesting is the reminder that while "[t]he Church, generally speaking, was the ultimate arbiter in disputes over marriage and divorce," it was "Martin Luther, however, [who] took the position that this weakened paternal authority and the family, which is why Lutherans and most other Protestants transferred the power of regulating marriage from church to state."

To Dr. Fleming's swipe at "liberals/libertarians," I would just add that, as Andrew Norton said, "Classical liberals—their adjective a response to the then new ‘social’ liberalism [John Stuart] Mill helped usher in—question the priority Mill gave to ‘individuality’ over other forms of life, and his critique of the role of custom in social life" — Liberals, Classical and Social.

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Blogger Extollager said...

I would be interested in a brief but well-informed presentation of the early history of the marriage of Christians. If I am not mistaken, weddings in Judaism were not performed by a "clergyman" whose presence was essential; marriage was arranged between families and celebrated by them and neighbors. When St. Paul refers to the married relationship as a mystery, he is referring to the relationship and not to a sacramental rite performed in church by an ordained clergyman.

I have been rereading Anna Karenina in the recent Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, and there is an interesting section therein, regarding the marriage of Levin, an unbeliever, to Kitty. In order to marry Kitty, Levin must first confess his sins to the priest and be absolved by him. Levin tells the kindly priest that he is not a believer and the priest kind-heartedly talks past him and absolves him. Levin will then receive the Sacrament as a non-believer and the Church law will be fulfilled.

Surely this is very unfortunate, that to secure the good of the Church's blessing for Levin's marriage to his fine young bride, he must receive the Sacrament "to his condemnation" since he does not perceive "the Body of Christ."
But such things are inevitable when the Church and the civil authority are lumped together.

4:43 AM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.