The first key step towards the acceptance of same-sex marriage was the societal acceptance of marital contraception by the Church of England in 1930. The dissenting Anglican bishops pointed out to their fellow bishops (who approved it) that accepting marital contraception would lead logically to the acceptance of sodomy. The history of the Church of England has proved their correctness all too well. Not only that, it led to the acceptance of sodomy by their own bishops. That, in turn, led to the acceptance of sodomy within marriage. It’s largely an unspoken subject, but heterosexual sodomy is practiced and even recommended.
I recall reading a book about pregnancy in which the author clearly recommended that the wife do oral copulation on her husband in the later months of pregnancy. I have read a book on natural birth control in which the author clearly condemned anal copulation as unsanitary but also clearly recommended oral-genital copulation as a way of not having to abstain during the fertile time. I think I remember a direct quote: “Try it; you’ll like it.” A Catholic priest was in dialogue with this non-Catholic author, and she deleted that from her book. When she later lectured at a conference, during the Q and A period I asked her if the change in her text represented a change in her thinking, and she said it did not. Then she explained that she really didn’t understand the Catholic objection to this sort of thing.
The second huge step towards the acceptance of same-sex marriage came with the acceptance of no-fault divorce. As Maggie Gallagher put it so well some years ago, the courts won’t let you get married for keeps. Oh, we can still marry for keeps in the Catholic Church, but if one spouse says he or she wants out, the courts will allow it. No arguments are needed. As I have read many times that same-sex marriage will destroy or greatly harm traditional marriage, I have wondered if it can have any more deleterious effects than the societal acceptance of marital contraception and no-fault divorce.
So what can be done? The war will be won only by fighting in the trenches. That entails having every engaged couple participate in the right kind of preparation for marriage, and that includes the right kind of NFP instruction, the kind that is found almost exclusively in NFP International. There was recently a discussion on the NFP professionals e-list in which it became clear that many, perhaps even most, NFP programs and teachers do not teach Catholic morality. That is, they do not teach explicitly about the evil of masturbation and marital sodomy. Teaching that you should “avoid genital contact” simply will not do. It is all too open to a strictly pragmatic (avoiding pregnancy) interpretation.
If you would like to help your diocese do what it should be doing for the benefit of couples and the institution of marriage, encourage the diocese to offer an invitation to NFP International.
(Sheila: For more on this same topic, see John’s excellent commentary at www.johnkippley.com.)