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Commonplaces

Piquant excerpts lifted from Touchstone editors' own reading & listening.



What made the traditional family remarkable, a work of high religious art, is what it brought together: sexual drive, physical desire, friendship, companionship, emotional kinship and love, the begetting of children and their protection and care, their early education and induction into an identity and a history. Seldom has any institution woven together so many different drives and desires, roles and responsibilities. It made sense of the world and gave it a human face, the face of love.

For a whole variety of reasons, some to do with medical developments like birth control, in vitro fertilization, and other genetic interventions, some to do with moral change, like the idea that we are free to do whatever we like so long as it does not harm others, some to do with a transfer of responsibilities from the individual to the state, and other and more profound changes in the culture of the West, almost everything that marriage once brought together has now been split apart. Sex has been divorced from love, love from commitment, marriage from having children, and having children from responsibility for their care.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
from the keynote address at "The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Interreligious Colloquium," convened by the Vatican, November 17, 2014


Family Commonplaces #98 Sept/Oct 2021

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