More on marriage

More on on sex and the death of the West: Young men are running from marriage. They’re sleeping around while waiting for that soulmate who never comes, and view pregnancy and children as a trap.

The article, written by a female columnist for a newspaper’s “Lifestyle” section, naturally pins the blame on men: “If [a young man] finds [a supposed soulmate], he is also likely to find that the relationship does not live up to this romantic ideal, but it will be easy enough to divorce these days.” In fact, of course, it’s far more common for the woman to file for divorce. After all, she can get the house and children just by kicking her husband out, and the support system is stacked in her favor. The lady columnist might do well to broaden her perspective on the situation. The article does attempt to end on an upbeat note with a quote from David Popenoe: “We are beginning in this nation to talk about marriage more …” We sure are. We’re talking about “gay marriage” as a celebration of marriage. That’s a turnaround the institution can do without.

So what do we make of this, as citizens and as Catholics? The obvious question is how to relate our faith—and our understanding of natural law—to life in this world. Vatican II was supposed to open the windows of the Church to the world. In its wake the distinctive Catholic culture that had existed was dismantled and distinctive ways of living abolished. People apparently thought that would be a good idea because the world was thought to have the open air, starlit skies, pulse of life and whatever in its keeping. That has turned out not to be the case. In the absence of a Church that makes transcendent realities visibly and concretely present the world has turned out to be a closed circle of frustration and death.

In a sense, of course, it’s a mistake to blame things on bad pastoral decisions coming out of Vatican II. What we are seeing in our time is the outcome of a huge social and spiritual experiment—the attempt to create a purely human world—that goes back to the beginnings of modernity. We should pray for the wisdom and humility to draw the right conclusions from the failure of that experiment, and to act on them.

5 thoughts on “More on marriage”

  1. According to Reimer’s
    According to Reimer’s article, following Popenoe and Whitehead, the “good dad” is one who “takes the 2 a.m. feeding, packs lunches or helps with homework”, and “fathers in intact marriages . . . are certainly doing much more than their own fathers did, in terms of child care and helping around the house and in establishing egalitarian relationships with their wives”. Among the married, is this something to celebrate? Is there any reason the “good dads” should be doing more than their fathers did? Egalitarian relationships within marriage? If this is marriage, young men ought to be running away.


  2. Good point. Marriage, like
    Good point. Marriage, like any fundamental social institution, involves differentiation of function. The “good marriage” for these social scientists is one that does away with that. There’s a problem of nonfunctional men Their solution is to do away with the function of being a man, and so to make men as much as possible like women.

    It obviously isn’t going to work. Part of what’s involved in being an expert, I think, is the acquired ability to ignore the obvious.

  3. Frankly, as a recently
    Frankly, as a recently divorced father of this generation, I think I’d have to agree with the general proposition. On the one hand, I did more than 50% of childcare and household activities and I got to be the majority breadwinner with its attendant responsibilities and if I ever expected that the childcare would be distributed equally, I got beat up with every feminist cliche that had sat on the shelf for the last twenty years since, as I would hear repeatedly, men had gotten off so easy for the last millenia or more (and presumably I had to make amends for all of that.) When I divorced and got 50% custody, I actually got some equality.

    Bottom line – we’ve created an extremely disfunctional society because of the silly weltenshauing that has been created in the minds of the educated.

  4. Here’s a piece I wrote some
    Here’s a piece I wrote some time ago, with
    references. Please excuse the illiteracy, as
    I have no degree.

    Driving the Divorce Rate: Who’s Teaching the Women?

    We know that with other things being equal,
    more children have healthier lives if they
    have both mothers and fathers in intact
    families. We have learned that with the high
    divorce rate, something needs to be done to
    train fathers to stay with their families and
    that far too many fathers abandon their wives
    and children, unwilling to abide by their
    responsibilities… We’ve been on the wrong

    Wives have been filing for divorce at
    about twice the rate (more, in some places)
    of husbands. See the study report, “These
    Boots are Made for Walking: Why Wives File
    for Divorce” (Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas
    W. Allen, 2000, The American Law and Economics
    Association) in which an enormous number of
    divorce certificates from four U.S. states
    were analyzed.

    Why have so many supposedly conservative
    ministers and socio-political writers
    sermonized exclusively on the problem of
    husbands abandoning or being “absent” from
    their wives and children? Are we really
    doing women any good service by refusing
    to truthfully define the problems instigating
    the high rate of divorce in order to make
    it lower? Are we doing the potential
    children of divorce any good by the same?

    So how can we assure that fewer children
    will suffer from the ill effects of
    divorce? According to the Brinig and Allen
    report, no-fault divorce and “who gets the
    children” are the predominant motivations—not
    “cruelty” (“6%,” with all forms of cruelty,
    including adultery). We have allowed
    the saturation of our media and government
    with subjective feminist propaganda, full
    of exaggerations, to divert our attention
    from the prevalent causes of divorce. We
    need to know more about those prevalent
    causes before we can take effective action
    to lower the divorce rate.

    Who’s teaching the women? We know that
    many socially conservative organizations are
    now teaching men to be good fathers. Think
    about it. Women are learning about issues
    of marriage and dealing with husbands
    through Women’s Studies courses (feminist
    and humanist propaganda), local “battered
    women’s shelters” (which disseminate more of
    the same in each community) and many other
    kinds of organizations that teach women to
    be independent—independent from husbands.
    Women are also taught by such organizations
    to know the incentives to divorce (propaganda
    and tactics that make divorce an easy
    lifestyle option for them). Most
    conservative organizations have been
    recipients of some of the same liberal,
    anti-family propaganda—many without knowing

    The recent Brinig and Allen report should
    be sufficient to dispell the common myth that
    fathers, more often than mothers, abandon
    their families, but there are older sources
    of fact on the same issue. Two more
    references are “Who Divorced Whom:
    Methodological and Theoretical Issues” (Sanford
    L. Braver, Marnie Whitley and Christine Ng.
    Journal of Divorce & Remarriage Vol 20(1/2)
    1993, p.1.) and the May 21, 1991 National
    Center for Health Statistics, Monthly
    Vital Statistics Report (Vol. 38, No. 12 (S) 2).

    Many conservative organizations and
    organizations of faith are teaching men to
    be good fathers and husbands. That may
    solve part of the problem, and it is a good
    effort. Who will teach women to be good
    wives and mothers?

    From our studies, we’ve found that although
    more women take the final steps to divorce
    because they expect to get custody and control
    of the children, there are earlier causes.
    Learn about those in our next installment,
    “The Fundamental Causes of the Rise in the
    Divorce Rate.”

    We shall serve God, family and country, in
    that order, because without the one before
    it, each would perish.

  5. You are absolutely correct,
    You are absolutely correct, Art. My children’s mother filed for divorce primarily to obtain sexual freedom, but also to obtain financial independence, though I still don’t understand how her dependence on child support and alimony gives her financial independence.

    When I made a commitment to renew my faith through the Catholic Church as a result of having my children taken from me, sermons tended to focus on the same anti-male message we are constantly bludgeoned with by the media, politicians, entertainment, and family courts. And knowing for certain that abuse allegations made against me were among the very large percent of false allegations made against fathers in divorce made hearing the feminist perspective sermon particularly hard to take in church.

    I certainly would like to see, even help, the Catholic church work to restore marriage and family by asking for women to have some level of responsibility. That is desperately needed since government initiatives to restore marriage and fatherhood are turning out to be little more than new wings of child support enforcement agencies that will only encourage greater family breakdown and more replacing of fatherhood with government.

    But now I am learning that, as Stephen Baskerville puts it, “At the very time churches are relinquishing their role as guardians of what is supposedly a sacred covenant, they are being recruited as government informers.” This quote is from his article entitled “The Federal Bureau of Marriage?”, which I highly recommend to anybody interesting in saving marriage or family. It is the cover story in this month’s Liberty magazine, but can be read online at


Leave a Comment