Cause and Effect

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Pat Archbold has highlighted this post from a professor at the “Catholic” Villanova University by the name of Katie Grimes. Grimes exhorts the Bishops at the upcoming Synod on the family to recognize some of the “injustices” of Christian marriage.

Bishops participating in the synod ought to consider issues of sexual morality in accordance with the preferential option for the poor.  In this way, rather than blaming the decline of marriage on sexual immorality, the bishops ought to recognize the way in which, at least in the United States, marriage has increasingly become a privilege of the privileged. For example, today, the college-educated are both more likely to be married by the age of 30 and less likely to divorce than those who lack a college degree.  Marriage seems the consequence not so much of moral righteousness but of socioeconomic privilege.

Bishops ought to also listen to those critics who point out that marriage also accords disproportionate benefits to the well to do.   Marriage, they claim, is not just about sex and love and children and stability, it is also about acquiring andtransmitting wealth.  Put another way, heterosexually married white and upper-middle class Catholics who follow all facets of magisterial sexual morality perpetuate social injustice not just in the political or economic spheres but also through their sex lives.*

In addition to insisting that all sex must be good sex, may the bishops also accord more attention to the relation between social justice and sexual goodness.

One can spend a day and a half unpacking all of this, not to mention the long-winded preamble where Grimes goes off on whitey putting African Americans in jail because, I guess, that’s what whites like to do. There’s certainly something to be said about the clunky academic jargon that Grimes not so masterfully uses as subterfuge to mask her dissent.

Instead of looking at all that, we should instead ponder that Grimes is actually kind of right about marriage. Just about every study shows a direct correlation between marriage and economic stability (for lack of a better term). Married men earn more than unmarried men. Married people are more financially secure. And yes, marriage rates for lower income individuals is lower than for upper and middle class people. Unfortunately Grimes comes to the wrong conclusion. Instead of looking at marriage as an institution for the privileged elite, Grimes fails to consider that the correlation between financial stability and marriage is a reason to promote marriage rather than to take swipes at it. In other words, she doesn’t seem to consider the possibility that the reason most married people are financially secure is due, at least in part, to being married. In other, other words, she may be mistaking cause and effect.

Now I’m not suggesting that marriage automatically makes the poor richer, nor that economic advancement should be anything close to a motivating factor in considering matrimony. And yes, people are delaying marriage until they are more “set.” But perhaps it is this latter attitude that needs adjusting. Too many people may be putting off marriage further and further into an ideal future that may never arrive. They may, in fact, be unintentionally putting off doing something that will ameliorate their financial situation. Perhaps Grimes ought to exhort herself to consider how the continued assault on marriage is one of the contributing causes of the social injustice she so decries. Perhaps she ought to recognize the way in which, at least in the United States, marriage has become a saving grace for the underprivileged.

Then again, this is a woman who thinks white married people perpetuate social injustice through our sex lives. We probably should not anticipate too much deep thought from such a mind.

 

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28 Comments

  1. The Church’s concern at the synod must be the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony, first and foremost.
    The next, must be the determination of valid consent of the couple. Valid consent of the couple is one thing “same sex marriage” does not have, therefore, ssm cannot be redefined as marriage.
    Emphasis on the soul’s relationship with God in marriage would bring the synod to realign with Humanae Vitae. Prayers.

  2. “Perhaps Grimes ought to exhort herself to consider how the continued assault on marriage is one of the contributing causes of the social injustice she do(sic) decries.”
    .
    My thoughts exactly. How much better, you, Paul Zummo, express what I sometimes find difficult.

  3. This woman is loony tunes:

    “Some may see a resemblance between the “innocents” massacred by Herod and the “innocents” ended by abortion. But as Sonja has brilliantly shown in an earlier post, we err both when we identify fetuses as “innocent” and when we identify innocence as the reason they should not be aborted. Like Sonja, I remain wary of moral schemas that use innocence to distinguish those who deserve not to be killed from those that do. Too often, we define innocence ideologically in ways that support the status quo. For example, in a white supremacist society like the United States, a “black” fetus is innocent, but a black man (i.e., Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell) is not.”

    http://womenintheology.org/2012/12/28/abortion-newtown-and-the-feast-of-the-holy-innocents/

  4. i guess the each and all of the seven sacraments accord “disproportionate benefits” to those who receive them and enjoy the benefits. Get in line sister, if you want to be “well to do”!

  5. Grimes get’s it all backwards. What the stats prove is that the poor oppress the rich through lack of marriage. Obviously, as income goes up, marriage stability increases. Why? Because as married couples have higher incomes and more assets, divorce puts much more at stake. Poor people have less (or nothing) to lose in a divorce, so they can divorce freely. Seriously. It’s obvious. Divorce equality NOW!!!

  6. I bet she sports a Barack Hussein Ebola sticker on her Subaru Forester.
    .

    Correlation (poverty/divorce rates) is not causation.
    .

    Note to Professor Grimes: Bless your heart. The poverty that drives wrath, violence and hatred is moral/spiritual poverty not material poverty.

  7. In France, it is not often that a commission of the National Assembly cites a bishop with approval, but, on the subject of marriage and the family, the Pécresse Mission did just that: “Archbishop of Paris André Vingt-Trois feels that the role of the family justifies its being enshrined in the law: “Even though it has not taken the modern form familiar in our civil legislation, there has always been a means of handing things down from generation to generation, which is the very basis of continuity and stability in a society. This transmission between generations is primarily effected by the family.”
    It added, “in this country, the model has long been the peasant family, structured around a patriarch and expanding from hearth to hearth.” One imagines that, until very recently, this would have been true of the American family also.

  8. I do not like how the truth is being turned around. Financial stability and success do not cause marriage, nor does financial instability and failure cause hedonistic libertinism. Rather, marital stability results in conditions that predispose one to financial stability and success, and living like a hedonistic libertine results in conditions that predispose one to financial instability and failure.
    .
    Put another way as St. Paul does, one will sow what one reaps. If one sows promiscuity and un-chastity, then one will eventually reap the concomitant consequences. That does not mean that all poor people are poor because of promiscuity. Rather, it means that if one lives like a wild baboon mindlessly succumbing to the concupiscence of the flesh, then one can and should expect to receive exactly and precisely what one deserves. After all, one is behaving like the very animal from a common ancestor of which one likely claims one has evolved (or is that devolved?).

  9. End Federal tuition loans now. Let universities sell their product on the open market just like anybody else, using private credit that has to have a competitive tack and a better-then-good chance of being paid back by employed graduates. Then we’ll see how long intellectual dustbunnies like K. Grimes stick around.

  10. Katie Grimes is practicing a particularly virulent form of ‘liberation theology’ [perhaps in a radical feminist guise] applying marxist socialist critique to “Catholic Marriage”. What most people do not realize is that before Marx ever attacked Capitalism in his Communist Manifesto he had attacked “Marriage and the Family” attacking male patriarchism [does this all sound familiar?]

  11. Paul Primavera.

    Your very last statement; “After all, one is behaving like the very animal from a common ancestor of which one likely claims one evolved (or is that devolved?).

    Spot on! Archbishop Fulton Sheen said; “Why is it that those who propagate evolution live like animals yet those who strive for holiness in Gods created universe live lives just short of the angels?”

    As for so-called same sex marriage…if monkeys want to redefine this sacrament let them do so only in the confines of their zoo!…(bedrooms).

    Otherwise Do Not call an apple a screwdriver to feel better about yourselves. You can call it a screwdriver all day long but in the end it’s still an apple. Marriage is not in need of redefinition!

  12. Philip,

    In the end, and it might take decades or even centuries for ‘man’ to realize this-marriage not only does not need redefinition but in fact cannot be redefined!

  13. I think this has more to do with the perpetuation of the welfare system and the systematic removal of personal responsibility for rearing children you have created.
    The welfare system celebrates and encourages single parenthood and removes the father’s responsibility for his children. I know, an unpopular thought but I saw this in practice as a social worker.

  14. c matt, I bet Ms. Grimes would be delighted to take that family nest egg off your hands, and free you to divorce and pursue your bliss without further concern for distribution of assets. Ms. Grimes speaks, writes, teaches, and probably votes towards that end.
    .
    Why do any of us suffer under the false consciousness of a duty to feed our own children? As sure as night follows day, when people think they ought to work to feed their own children, they will soon be tempted to set aside a little something for a rainy day, foregoing consumption and accumulating a surplus: capitalism. 🙁

  15. St. Paul says people are free to marry, but such people will have trials in this life. He recommends that people live as he does, i.e. unmarried. Seems like the marrieds are always saying the opposite — for ex. it “pays” financially to get married they say. It makes life easier, and better somehow. Is that really a good reason to marry ? Or should it be because one has discerned a call to that state ? Jesus said “let him accept this teaching who can” with regard to celibacy. Note he said “Who Can,” not “Who Can But Also Who Want To.” I do agree that singles are marginalized and persecuted by non-singles — called selfish, immature, and told “you get what you deserve” if they encounter suffering in financial, health, or other areas. I don’t buy it. Are non-singles just trying to justify their choice for some reason ? Because they know they could have “done better” by responding to a different call ? I believe more “Who Can” exist than those “Who Will.” Society is geared toward marriage and thus perhaps makes marriage easier – or at least makes it seem that way – because the married have been allowed to dictate society and its norms, not because matrimony is morally superior to single lay life. Singleness is the normal state in heaven (etymology “celibacy”) as Jesus pointed out when asked whose wife a hypothetical many-time widowed woman would be. He said people live like angels and neither marry nor are given in marriage. Want a little heaven on earth ? Celebrate celibacy.

  16. My son is is 34 and single. He was not invited to his best friend’s wedding. We think it is because he is single. His cousins go on cruises and he is never invited. He is a very outgoing person with a great personality and a very good sense of humor.

  17. Celibacy for the single, unmarried is a vocation. All people must follow their vocations to get to heaven.
    .
    T Shaw: Ouch. My son gave me a Subaru Forrester. But you are right on the money with: “Note to Professor Grimes: Bless your heart. The poverty that drives wrath, violence and hatred is moral/spiritual poverty not material poverty.”
    .
    Grimes has more than her share of moral/spiritual poverty.
    .
    Donald McClarey: This woman is loony tunes:
    “Some may see a resemblance between the “innocents” massacred by Herod and the “innocents” ended by abortion. But as Sonja has brilliantly shown in an earlier post, we err both when we identify fetuses as “innocent” and when we identify innocence as the reason they should not be aborted. Like Sonja, I remain wary of moral schemas that use innocence to distinguish those who deserve not to be killed from those that do. Too often, we define innocence ideologically in ways that support the status quo. For example, in a white supremacist society like the United States, a “black” fetus is innocent, but a black man (i.e., Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell) is not.”
    .
    Worse than Loony tunes. Grimes is a raging atheist with absolutely no idea of who she is. Concupiscence comes from Adam. God creates the immortal, human soul in perfect legal and moral innocence, infused in immediacy, then burdened with concupiscence. Endowed with sovereign personhood, free will and freedom, the newly begotten is an innocent individual. (Unless Grimes can prove otherwise in a court of law)
    .
    Grimes refuses to acknowledge the innocent soul of our constitutional posterity, as more than bad ideology. Her non-belief in “their Creator” and the unalienable human rights immediately endowed by God violates the First Amendment for every person.
    .
    As an individual, Grimes cannot dictate to people. If Grimes wishes to impose her non-belief on any person, she must secure a change in the Bill of Rights, with three quarters of the states ratifying the change.

  18. Single Lay Catholic at 52 wrote, ”Singleness is the normal state in heaven (etymology “celibacy”)”
    Cælebs or Cœlebs derives from two Indo-European roots meaning “living alone.” It is quite unconnected with Cælum (the sky, heaven)
    It is worth noting that near-universal marriage rates (90%+) are a late 19th & early 20th century phenomenon. In earlier periods, it hovered between 75%-80%. Those least likely to marry were domestic servants and the younger children of the landed gentry and the clergy. One recalls that Jane Austen, her sister Cassandra, Anne and Emily Bronte were all spinsters.

  19. Being single, at least for some of us, has everything to do with heaven. The dictionary and the linguists will have difficult time convincing me that “cael” has nothing to do with “cael” especially when indo and european languages do have the same ancient roots, do they not ? And celibacy certainly does not match the definition of “living alone” as many people in religious life live in community. Perhaps we need a new term for abstaining from sexual activity, one that is not so “lingustically” and “definitionally” challenged.

    As for the argument “If everyone were celibate there wouldn’t be any kids.” Really ? That’s just an argument so people can justify having sex. Didn’t you ever see Jurassic Park ? God would find a way to reproduce people however he wished. He is not limited to a human’s understanding of reproduction.

    I did not say, nor did I mean to imply that celibacy was a call for everyone. Just that it is underrated and undertried. And underestimated by too many non-celibates. And yes, persecuted and insulted. Let’s see. For example the word “spinster.” A statement of fact, or a put down ? How about “old maid” ? Or better yet “dried up bitter old maid” ? Or “latent homosexual” ? Pervert ?….

    Sounds like I hit a raw nerve with many of you. Good.

  20. I’m really trying to decide if Single Lay Catholic is a parody account, especially after reading this:

    Didn’t you ever see Jurassic Park ? God would find a way to reproduce people however he wished.

    While Jurassic Park may have been decent entertainment (but the book is better), it is not a source of theological teaching. Clearly God did have a design for human reproduction, and I’m sorry to say for you, SLC, it was sexual reproduction.

  21. “As for the argument “If everyone were celibate there wouldn’t be any kids.” Really ? That’s just an argument so people can justify having sex.”

    A bloody fortunate argument for you, or you would not be. It does not make me weep that God decided that a physical union of man and wife was necessary to bring about their kids. What truly daffy times we live in, when the obvious has to be defended from fools and/or fanatics. Since Single Lay Catholic has decided not to give us a real e-mail address, I am placing him or her on moderation.

  22. Single Lay Catholic at 52

    Cælum is from the proto Indo-European root *kaə-id- also found in Scutum=a shield. The bowl shape of the sky resembles the underside of a shield.
    Cælebs is from the PIE root *kaiwelo-“alone” + lib(h)s- “living.”

    A good working rule is that all popular etymologies are false, usually based on accidental homophones and ignoring known patterns of sound-shifts.

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