with you is Wisdom, who knows your works and was present when you made the world;
who knows what is pleasing in your eyes
and what is conformable with your commands." (Ws 9:9)
* * *
Is there a law in the nature of things which dictates what a marriage is?
"Darwin's theory of evolution, or at least some readings of it, is a definitive break from the logos of creation. It asserts that our behavior does not follow logically from a created order, which is the essence of the natural law, but is the result of instincts whose origins stem from mere chance. Nature and human instincts are products of random, irrational occurrences, and therefore no universal law, rule, or moral principle can originate from them." (David G. Bonagure, Jr. "Is Natural Law Extinct?"
Natural law stems from the fact there God's universal reason is inscribed in the order of creatures and that we are capable, by the use our intelligence, to discover this order. Natural Law is universal because it is inscribed in the nature of the person compose of body and soul. It does not depend on one's religious beliefs, although any religion worth anything must support the Natural Law.
So let us look at human nature. Man and woman as persons are differentiated physically in the area of sex and psychologically in their attitude toward reality. Men are more inclined toward sex and material objects while woman are more interested in love of persons. They are inclined toward each other by nature for union. Why? so as to bring forth new life. Their natures is a given and not a matter of choice. This than is the basis for the union which we call marriage. Hunan life "was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives." (CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH)
Bishop Sheen has expressed the truth of natural law as the unity between sex, soul and personality."Sex in isolation from personality does not exist! An arm living and gesticulating apart from the living organism is an impossibility. Man has no organic functions isolated from his soul. There is involvement of the whole personality. Nothing is more psychosomatic than the union of two in one flesh, nothing so much alters a mind, a will, for better or for worse. The separation of soul and body is death. Those who separate sex and spirit are rehearsing for death. The enjoyment of the other's personality through one's own personality is love. The pleasure of animal function through another's animal function is sex separated from love." (Fulton J. Sheen, Three to Get Married, Scepter Pub., Inc, 1951, Chap. !)
In all major cultures of the world, marriage became a social institution with varying practices leading up to cohabitation by man and woman, or man with more than one wife. Married persons are part of the social order and what they do has moral and economic repercussions in society, thus, is regulated by civil law.
What is the relationship between Natural Law and Civil law?
Civil laws are made by men who seek to order society and the laws they make may be or may not be in conformity with the natural law. Since Natural Law comes directly from the Creator it is above human law and no human lawmaker has a right to legislate contrary to the Natural Law. Cicero, the Roman orator defined Natural Law as follows:
"True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions.... It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge." (Cleon Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap, Part II: The Founder's Basic Principles, p. 98) Our founding father subscribed to the Natural Law.
In the United States there now rages the debate over same sex marriages. One hears the slogans, "freedom of choice" and the "right to same sex marriages". To reduce marriage to a choice based on self-determination in nonsense. Marriage is not simply the creation of human freedom without regard to the nature of the persons involved, not is it a right given by God because God did not create, on the sexual level, man for man and woman for woman. Any feelings homosexuals have for each other did not come from God but from nature warped by sin.
So, should same sex marriages be legalized? Pope Benedict XVI as Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:
"Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good."