With the excitement of the March for Life still going strong, it is important to remember to foster the culture of life in all aspects of our lives. This includes issues pertaining to other aspects of the family, for example, the concepts of Marriage (or Holy Matrimony) and parenthood.
Most people, when they get married, have something in their vows about “till death do us part.” But, as a staggering number of marriages end in divorce, it is not difficult to see that the meaning of the vows is lost on the average modern person.
One excuse that people tend to throw out when talking about divorce is that couples grow apart, but this is usually said to defer all of the blame from either party in the marriage.
But my only response to that would be that it absolutely is their fault.
When someone grows up with both parents in their household—and those parents happen to be loving and caring—it is reasonable that the child would grow up to love his or her parents.
But does the child grow up loving the specific attributes of the person? Probably not. The child is too young to comprehend much, right out of the womb. The child grows up with his or her parents and comes to love the parents for who they are as people, and takes on attributes of those parents.
It is similar to marriage itself.
Sure, people generally court (or date) before marriage to gauge how compatible they are with each other, but people cannot truly know anyone until they are stuck on the same island together.
You may think that this is an argument for people to cohabit before marriage, which is something that the culture of death loves to tout because they say that you need to know how physically compatible a couple is. But this is not the case, because, outside of marriage, a couple is not truly “stuck” with each other because one could always move out. Marriage provides stability for everyone involved—the father, mother, and any children they may have.
My favorite musical, Fiddler on the Roof, portrays a Jewish family in pre-Soviet Russia. The town has had arranged marriages for quite some time and, in fact, the main character is married to someone whom he met at his own wedding to her. And there is a whole song about how they grew to love each other. Love is an act of the will.
Now, before anyone gets up-in-arms about my stance on divorce, I think it should be noted that I do not believe that divorce ruins children and they can never find happiness and that life is over for them. It is simply an extra cross that they have to bear in order to allow their parents to have an extra bit of so-called “freedom”.
It is better for children to have a father and a mother.
They need proper role-models—not just the famous people they see on television.
And this brings me to the idea of “real parenthood.” There is this idea—which I have noticed a bunch of Catholics, Protestants, and atheists alike have bought into—that one has to be the biological parent in order to be the “real” parent of someone.
This comes up whenever anyone mentions that my father adopted my brother and sisters from my mother’s prior, annulled marriage. Just to clarify: an annulment means that the Church recognizes that there was no marriage in the first place, so technically the children born from an annulled marriage were never born from a marriage, so my father is technically their “real” father as well.
It is interesting how, despite various movies (such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Lilo and Stitch) portraying a protagonist who eventually comes to the realization that family is who you are around most and care about most, the overarching culture seems to reject that point-of-view.
Whenever someone finds out that my brother and sisters were created by a different human being than the one who raised them, it always weirds them out that we are okay with that. There have been countless times when good, well-meaning people have said mind-bogglingly foolish things, such as how one of my sisters seems to have a special father-daughter relationship with her biological father. I will admit that she has a good, pleasant relationship with him, but she does not do anything more with him than she would with any of her other friends. Father-daughter activities, like reading stories together and solving the world’s problems, are reserved for fathers and daughters.
The idea that biology is the deciding factor in parenthood goes directly against the culture of life for at least one reason: that biology does not give any indication for who would be a good father and who would be a bad one.
The thing that matters is the person who took that responsibility upon himself and succeeded in forming the next generation to be the best that they can be.