After the recent SCOTUS decision, we need a win!
I, myself, have been overwhelmed with rainbows on social media of late, and for those of us who value traditional marriage, motherhood and fatherhood, the future seems uncertain.
This decision has made it clear that we are currently living in and environment of “social sin” which is defined in Fr John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary as “The sinfulness of society into which a person is born. Its premise is that modern socialization and collectivization have immersed everyone in other people’s values and moral actions to an unprecedented degree.”
The Law of the Land and Culture
The law of the land has a great impact on culture. Now, more than ever, our young people run the risk of growing up confused about the proper place of marriage and family life, the beauty of human sexuality, and their own identity as children of God.
The Congregation for Doctrine and Faith warns about same-sex marriage and social sin in this way:
“It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure.
This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good. Civil laws are structuring principles of man’s life in society, for good or for ill. They “play a very important and sometimes decisive role in influencing patterns of thought and behaviour”. Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation’s perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.” 
A Grave Error
In this context, it becomes clear that the Supreme Court has indeed committed a “grave error” as pointed out by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A change in law can indeed change the moral ethos of a country.
One example I remember clearly is the change that occurred after condoms became more widely available. I remember being a junior high student and hearing discussions between parents about whether or not condoms should be made available to students at our high school. Some argued that we need to protect our youth from STDs, while others claimed it would corrupt the values of our young people. Twenty years later I was having a conversation with a teenager about the truth and meaning of human sexuality.
As I explained that sex is a gift from God to be shared within the context of marriage, he immediately interrupted me and asked, “Wait! Then why do we have condoms?” The shift in our cultural sexual ethos has been going on for years. This most recent decision simply illustrates that we have lost sight of the value of marriage and family life, the truth and meaning of human sexuality, and our identity as sons and daughters which is first received from our mothers and fathers.
We will have to be even more vigilant in both teaching and living authentic family life, so that we can be a “light that shines in the darkness.” This vigilance means that we must continue to resist the distortions of family life in our culture and be witnesses to the loving communion we were created for.
A Battle We Can Win
There is still a battle we can win, and this battle may be more important than the one we just lost in the courts. There is an even greater threat to marriage, family life, and God’s plan for human sexuality that has made its way into most of our Christian families, it is found on our televisions, mobile phones, gaming systems, kindle readers, and iPod music players. Internet pornography definitively poses a greater threat to marriages and families than the recent change in marriage law.
The age of exposure to pornography is eleven years old and dropping. I have seen a child in my office as young as eight years old after exposure to pornography. The pornography they see depicts violent sex scenes that are more graphic than what someone might have found in a hotel room ten years ago. It is affecting even our most faithful families. In many cases, parents who are very vigilant in restricting the movies their kids see, have also given their children iPods with an open Wi-Fi connection.
So on the one hand the child may not watch R-rated movies, and on the other they have access to hard core pornography over a Wi-Fi connection in the privacy of their bedroom.
This kind of exposure is the greatest distorter of human sexuality our culture faces today. Many of the college students and seminarians I have worked with during the past two years say that they “wish their parents would have put protections in place.” One college student says, “I wish my father would have said something.”
Being vigilant in this area means setting parental controls on all internet capable devices. Covenant Eyes is an amazing service that allows parents to both filter and monitor the traffic on all computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
This helps parents to both say no to unwanted content, and to start conversations about the other places their children go online. Most importantly, Covenant Eyes can help parents to know if their child is accidentally exposed to pornography so that they might intervene as soon as possible—preventing the propagation of a distorted view of marriage and sexuality.
This is a fight we can win. While we may not be able to turn back the clock on distortions that come with what the civil law says about marriage and family, every family can take steps today to ensure that you and your children are protected from the ever greater distortions caused by exposure to internet pornography. We must be witnesses to the truth!
We must be a light in the darkness! In order to be such, we must eliminate all sexual sin from our own lives, and protect our children as much as possible from the dangers imposed by the sexualized culture. If you are not yet monitoring your family’s internet connection click this link to try Covenant Eyes free for 30 days. If you are unhappy with it, you can write to us and we will make another recommendation.
May God’s blessing and protection be with you and your families.
__________ Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, “Considerations Regarding Proposals To Give Legal Recognition To Unions Between Homosexual Persons” (June 3, 2003), Section 3, No. 6.