Traditional Marriage is best defined by Natural Law—the rules of the universe that describe unalterable reality. It is the ubiquitous presence of natural law's order found in the physical, psychological, and moral realms that defines some of the most astonishing attributes of God—the heavens declare the glory of God. That is, God is revealed in the quantifiable, visible, mathematical, supreme order of the universe and that such order is immutable.
Yet, some courts and lawmakers think they can mess with Nature. Yes, they can make any choice they want, but they have no choice over the consequences. Only Natural Law will determine the outcome. One such example of the Supreme Court's mistakes in this regard was 1857 Dred Scott Decision that concluded African Salves were property, not U.S. Citizens. Natural Law disagreed... and the consequence was the Civil War, ...which then led to the 14th Amendment.
But is "marriage," as the Catholic Church defines it, really capable of being defined and defended by Natural Law?
UNITIVE AND PROCREATIVE
An often-ignored principle of Catholicism is that its practice and purpose is to succinctly define Natural Law in its doctrines and practical teachings so the faithful can follow nature more easily and thus live more happily.
Thus, it's not surprising that what the Church says about marriage is vastly supported by medical and social science. But it takes some careful reading to see it. And, it would help society if our Bishops were more publicly vocal and assertive. The Church is called to be salt and light. But it is often lost its saltiness and its batteries seem dead when the dark invades. So, let me try to make a candle and light it...I've got some bees wax here somewhere.
Paragraph 2366 of the Catechism states:
The inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.In this sentence, the Church claims that marriage is defined uniquely by these two terms alone: (1) unitive and (2) procreative. Pundits might want to add that marriage is "between one man and one woman" or that marriage is a "permanent" relationship. But as we will come to understand, the terms unitive and procreative make such clarification redundant (although for the common communication the esoteric is often not enough and more wordy formulations are necessary.)
So, is there evidence from science and Natural Law that the concepts of a unitive relationship combined with a procreative relationship are possible for homosexual relationships, or are they reserved for heterosexual relationships?
A Unitive Relationship implies that the relationship creates "one flesh" through the congeal act. On the surface, this has one (1) meaning—the temporary physical union of the persons. While this is possible on the surface with male-on-male homosexual relationships, it is not possible with a lesbian relationship. Yet, with male-female unions it is always possible.
If we add the Procreative component, the unitive relationship of a male-female union has a second (2) and more significant meaning. For, only then can the "two "flesh" produce the "one flesh" of a baby. This is not the typical interpretation of the Mark 10 passage, below, but it is true.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. (Mark 10:6–8)
But there is yet another way that only a male and female can become one.
WHEN UNPROTECTED SEX IS GOOD SEX
Getting deeper into science, there is a third (3) meaning to unitive, which we discover goes far deeper than physical copulation, and is more subtle than having a baby...and it is only possible in heterosexual relationships.
Science has discovered that male semen plasma, apart from conveying nourishing sperm on their way to the female's eggs, contains a host of vitamins and nutrients that benefit the female by providing to the female's blood stream (a) antidepressants, (b) several mood-elevating compounds, (c) antigens that can help prevent breast cancer, and (d) agents that lower blood pressure helping to prevent preeclampsia conditions.
These discoveries came out of research that studied heterosexual vs. lesbian couples. Women who were in lesbian relationships, or women who used condoms, had a higher probability of depression and thoughts of suicide, higher blood pressure and a higher affinity for breast cancer.
Thus, unprotected sex, which allows semen plasma to be absorbed into the woman's blood stream becomes yet another layer of meaning to the concept of unitive as chemicals (not just sperm) from male are passed into the female.
Further, this passing of chemicals reinforces the procreative component of the definition of marriage by making the woman physically healthier, apart from producing a baby. Benefits that are absent in all homosexual unions.
There is more to consider in my next essay on the natural law and science surrounding monogamy. But, with only the information presented above, the legal attempts to redefine the natural law of marriage suggests that someday a hauteur will ask the courts to upend gravity. I can see the headline now: GRAVITY, ONCE CONSIDERED A GOOD IDEA, RULED ILLEGAL.
And, that's why I'm Catholic.
Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D.
Next Time: What Does Natural Law Say About Monogamy?
(SOURCES: Aside from the citations referenced in the text, this essay made liberal use of cited medical journal references found in Wikipedia's articles on marriage, semen and polygamy.)