A Worthy Ally: Catholic Social Teaching on the 'Anguish' and the 'Hopes' of Marriage and Family Today
Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture, V. 169, No. 1, pp. 169-188, 2008
21 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2016
Date Written: 2008
Whereas important secular institutions — legal, cultural, and social — have demonstrated an increasing apathy with respect to the decline of the institution of marriage and the status of the family that has occurred over the last forty years, the social teaching of the Catholic Church has taken seriously the causes of this decline. In fact, the Catholic teaching has attempted to remain consciously faithful to longstanding normative traditions based often on natural law while applying those traditions specifically to contemporary problems. Responding to the current problems affecting marriage and family, the Catholic Church upholds the centrality of the family as a basic social principle, recognizes the current challenges to its realization, insists that society recognize this basic social principle, acknowledges the independent value of science, affirms the transcendence of the human person and human love, and rejects body/soul dualism. In an effort to contrast this compelling response by Catholic social teaching with the secular response, this essay discusses concrete examples illustrating the lack of a well-conceived, proportionate secular response and then explains the specific ways in which Catholic social teaching provides constructive, practical solutions to both Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Keywords: Catholic Church, Christianity, cohabitation, divorce, family law, marriage, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI
JEL Classification: K3, K10, K36
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation