Father Hugh Barbour on Marriage and Chastity

Catholicism.org has recently published a few things on marriage, the editors being of the conviction that the restoration of the family is necessary for the restoration of the Church and the State. It’s good to see that there is an insightful piece on the subject in the last issue of Chronicles. In the article, “Moonstruck Morality Versus the Cosmos,” Father Barbour contrasts the original Vatican II schema on marriage  with the text the Council ultimately produced. The latter, he holds, is inferior.

Of special worth in this article are passages from the original schema that got deep-sixed soon after the council began. You can read those over at Chronicles. Here, I would like to quote one passage from the Premonstratentian’s article that is very hard-hitting and unsentimental.

Here are the words of a dissenting voice at the council when the new schema on marriage, the one that was ultimately approved by the council, was being proposed in place of the original.  Archbishop Djajasepoetra of Jakarta in Indonesia complained—in Latin—at the council’s third session in 1964:

“The schema is too Occidental . . . You in the West find it quite natural for those in love to marry.  But you are the exceptions if humanity as a whole is considered.  Our people love one another because they are married, which is not quite the same thing.  We differ from Westerners in that our marriages are contracted not out of love but by the will of the parents or tribe.  We marry to continue the race.”

The romanticization of sexual love in marriage has led to the subordination of its objective cosmological role in the procreation of the human race to human desire and personal need.  “Our people love one another because they are married.”  This is a love of the common good of the family, or the tribe, or the nation, or of the whole human race.  On this view marriage is as much a matter of the common, public good as warfare, or capital punishment, or a stable means of exchange.  Of this perspective we have great need, and there are signs that it is being gradually recovered, if not with the rotund reprobations of the preconciliar age (these are now reserved only for certain offenses judged to be worthy of condemnation by the media), at least with the clear, essentialist thinking that looks unflinchingly and unromantically at the nature of things.