I often go to news conferences where a coalition of anti-poverty groups will lay out the latest proposals to combat poverty, which is especially high among unmarried women with children, newcomers to Canada and Indigenous peoples.
At the same time, I often cover stories by think tanks and pro-life and pro-family groups that stress marriage as an important indicator of whether a couple that starts out poor will remain so. In fact, I remember a lecture in which an expert described marriage as one of several pathways out of poverty, along with education. Children born and raised by couples who are married parents biologically-related to them have the best future outcomes when it comes to the likelihood to get married and stay married themselves, to their future income levels, educational attainment, postponement of sexual activity, drug use and involvement in crime.
What I do not see a lot of is anti-poverty proposals that include encouraging marriage as part of them. What does this have to do with Anglican patrimony?
In Fr. Hawkins excellent piece in our latest Shared Treasures, he writes about how his Anglican priest father took an assignment in an Anglo-Catholic parish in an economically depressed, industrial region in a community full of social pathologies.
This is something I would like to explore because I have heard about the great slum Angl0-Catholic parishes that saw bringing the Gospel as a remedy for the social ills among the poor in Victorian England.
Anyway, these thoughts came to mind when I saw this article by Andrea Gagliarducci (who writes MondayVatican.com) that was published in the Catholic Register.
According to Fontana, there is a concrete link between the Church’s sacramental life and “the Catholic commitment to politics.” Christians’ commitment to build a world according to God’s plan for the salvation of men has “a theological motivation and grace in the Eucharistic sacrament and in all the sacraments.”
Marriage is one of these sacraments and the basis of society. Without marriage, society becomes “a group of individual relations variously interconnected with no order.”
Fontana noted that marriage comes from the natural order, but nature cannot be self-sustained without grace.
Only in marriage between man and woman is there a basis of complementarity. This is the foundation of any other social relation intended to follow a natural order, and not “any subjective wish.”
Based on this rationale, Fontana draws a clear conclusion: “If we eliminate marriage, little is left of society. And the sacrament of marriage is important also from the political and social perspective.”