Anthony Esolen has written another brilliant piece for Crisis in his continuing series on the connection between social justice and the family.
The main point, taken mostly from Pope Leo XIII and his encyclicals, is simple.
The family is the basic unit of society. Marriage was raised by Jesus Christ to a Sacrament, transforming it from mere private contract to a lifelong mutual gift of love, so that the family emulates the Trinity and puts men and women in right relation to God, to one another and to society in general; society being modeled upon the family and this mutual gift of the one to the other in Christian love.
But when the family is torn asunder by divorce, pornography, adultery, same-sex “marriage” and the like, society as a whole, modeled upon, based upon, and growing out of the family, suffers.
What, by contrast, might we expect from an anti-society of self-will and divorce? … When Christian marriage is deprecated, man sinks “into the slavery of [his] vicious nature and vile passions,” and nothing, says Leo, “has such power to lay waste families and destroy the mainstay of kingdoms as the corruption of morals.
Why would we believe, Esolen asks, that men trained to be selfish and self-serving when it comes to the foundation of social relations, the family—why would we believe men from such origins—origins where spouses may be of any sex and may walk away from love at any given moment to fulfill their own private ends, why would we believe such men would suddenly become “good citizens” participating in the political life of the society at large? Why would they engage in social intercourse with their fellow man for any reason other than rapacity and lust, which we see evidenced either in the limitless greed of our masters, or in the degradation, laziness, and abusiveness of their slaves, those they have raised up in the proletarian mentality?
Every sin against marriage is a sin against the very possibility of any kind of society at all.
And I echo him here, though I am far from a perfect husband myself, and one who has often sinned against marriage (just ask my wife, who could fill a whole blog with my various sins, failures and shortcomings—our wives are very good at keeping tabs on that).
So Anthony Esolen continues to point out the bridge that should be built between the social justice activists of the left and the pro-family but often Justice-hating Randians on the right. He shows us how to make sense out of social justice, how to reform our politics, and how to put economics back in its proper place as servant of man and not as master of him. He shows us the social foundation of all these things. He shows us the secret.
And that secret is the family.
It’s not sexy, it’s not cool, it’s not sleek and exciting.
It’s all that lot who will be with you in your house for Christmas. Grandma who talks too loud; Uncle Bud who’s a boor and a bore; Aunt Krystal who’s a New Age Vegan; Nephew Tommy who’s a phone-texting idiot.
For all of them are part of something deep and mysterious, a glimpse of which we get on a quiet Christmas Eve when the animals and the shepherds gather around a mother and a father and a baby, from which moment the Greatest Adventure in the World begins, and from which all else springs.