Family Matters

Ad Hominem

by John Pacheco

The nature of man is intrinsically ordered to create and to sustain. This paternal drive, of course, is tangibly reflected in the relationship of marriage. In marriage, man has essentially two roles: first, to focus his attention and sacrifice in serving his wife and, second, to join with her in participating in God's creation by the raising of their children. If man's drive is directed towards these goals, his marriage and the society around him flourish into a healthy and prosperous civilization of love. Through his sacrifice of love, his service to his family magnify God's paternal care for his creation and provide the necessary blueprint for generations to follow.

By showing his complete and total abandonment to his wife and his children, he becomes, what is by today's standards, a radical man. He becomes a revolutionary against a self-serving and narcissistic culture which seems bent on its own destruction. His self-sacrifice is a repudiation of its values. He is the figurehead of new Christian counter-culture - a living and growing culture which is at war with its decadent sibling.

In giving up time consuming endeavours which are not central to his vocation as the head of his family, the husband shows his wife that her role as his lover and mother to his children have inestimable worth. He is more willing to spend his time, his energies, and his focus on his family more than any other interest in his life. In choosing to order his life around her and the children, he shows them tangible love by devoting his time and effort to them, thereby devoting his paternal devotion and fidelity to the familial covenant. His love abounds and becomes a beacon to his wife and children as something to emulate and follow. As he accepts and is open to his wife's fertility, he affirms God's creation and his responsibility in it. Through his sacrificial love which he manifests in countless ways, all aspects of his life appropriate a new meaning and vitality so that even his sexual experience is more meaningful and even more physically gratifying.

He is willing to give more of himself because he trusts that God will show him that he is more of a man than he is now. He will allow God to increase his love, his sacrifice, and his selflessness in supporting and guiding his family. Through man's fiat, God will not only magnify man's masculinity, but He will touch and heighten his wife's femininity so that she too may understand her distinct, irreplaceable, and glorious vocation in creation.

In contrast to this man of God, modern man has long abandoned this sublime vocation of sacrificial fidelity. Instead, his attention is directed at a crass and destructive materialism which has, at its core, only one goal: self-gratification at the expense of the other. This capitulation to his lower nature relegates all of his relationships to a base level of utility. Even his most sacred union to his wife is tragically obscured so that he begins to see his wife, no longer as an end unto herself, but merely as a means - an instrument - to his own self-fulfillment. Indeed, this degradation begins to drown his intellect and reason. Because he fears the loss of his material advantages, he begins to see his wife's fertility as a threat. Sadly, he begins to consider his offspring as a disease to be contained. Invariably, he avails himself of means to thwart creation and the conception of his children. He needs to contra-cept his sexual act in order to maintain his selfish lifestyle. As his sexual desires are fulfilled through the separation of the procreative and pleasurable elements of intercourse, he is able to rear fewer and fewer children. This mentality leads to a further erosion through a smaller and more decadent subculture known as "DINKS" - "double income no kids".

As this culture begins to erode his vocation as a husband and a father, his wife's vocation as a wife and mother is also undermined and perverted. Since she begins to see her role as merely one of utility to him, she needs to recover her sense of worth. But her sense of worth can now not be considered in terms of her intrinsic femininity. Instead, she must recover this worth through a descent into the materialism that her husband has accepted. In other words, she must show her worth through material utility and superficiality in order to be valued in his eyes. So she seeks worth by leaving the home in search of something which he values: money. In such a situation, the destruction of the family is only a sad inevitability. As husband and wife seek something other than their vocation to one another, the children are the casualties of their pursuits as the State assumes its role as surrogate mother. The disintegration of the family is all but complete. The substance of their bond has been mortally weakened with only the gaunt and pitiable form of their covenant remaining.

As society witnesses this dysfunctional and distorted family structure, it subconsciously gravitates to its logical sexual corollary. If the contracepting man can have licit sexual intercourse with his wife, then why cannot he gratify himself without his wife? If a husband and wife insist that they have a moral right to mutual masturbation (i.e. contraception), then there can be no objection to self-masturbation or a host of other deviant sexual behaviours. In fact, the next logical progression to a contracepting culture is a homosexual culture. Indeed, from an ontological perspective, since his wife has been effectively neutered and her procreative power sterilized, contraception renders the woman another man within the sexual act. Indeed, since the woman's unique contribution to the marital embrace has been removed from necessity, there becomes less of a demonstrable difference between a man having sex with a neutered woman and a man having sex with another man. In fact, the purpose of the sexual act in both scenarios has the same goal: sexual orgasm with a person who will not procreate.

In societies where consumerism and materialism dominate, contraception is the sexual opium of its people. This is the reason why there is such a divergence of opinion over contraception between the first and third worlds. Where a materialistic or consumerist ideology is not as inculcated into the culture, contraception and deviant sex simply do not sell. The majority of the third world population, particularly those in Christian communities, oppose contraceptive sex as something foreign and unnatural. Indeed, that is precisely what contraceptive sex is and, in order for its propagation to be successful, it requires a compatible underlying ideological foundation to support it. This foundation is none other than the atheistic, materialistic, and consumerist ideology of a dying Western culture whose precepts it borrowed from Marxist Russia. The cancerous spread of these errors, long ago predicted by Our Lady at Fatima, were not simply the facile form of autocratic government that some supposed. No. Rather, it was the rejection of the dignity of the human person and the promotion of a God-denying, souless monster who can do business in either economic currency.

And this fact really serves as the key to understanding how our culture is to recover from its self-destructive path. The attack on this culture of death must be focused on the atheistic supported consumerism which feeds its ravenous appetite. This consumerism can be defeated, but it must start with man whose focus must turn from adoring material idols. He must focus his life and his love on His God by finding meaning in serving others. In marriage, that means man must turn back to his wife and children and serve them faithfully. This is the path that men must take. There is no other option. "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." (Matt. 6:24)

John Pacheco
The Catholic Legate
July 7, 2003


This article originally appeared on Catholic Exchange.