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

George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 16-22

21 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2016

See all articles by Helen M. Alvare

Helen M. Alvare

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

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

Alvare, Helen M., A Worthy Ally: Catholic Social Teaching on the 'Anguish' and the 'Hopes' of Marriage and Family Today (2008). Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture, V. 169, No. 1, pp. 169-188, 2008, George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 16-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2781643

Helen M. Alvare (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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