Marriage, sex, intended to promote new life


Cullin Schooley, in his letter published April 23, rejects the claim that gay marriage will “grievously harm families and children,” saying that “I have yet to hear of one heterosexual marriage that has been destroyed by gay [marriage].” Let’s look at how the Catholic Church understands marriage.

Marriage represents the ideal of two people as soul-mates, destined for each other and giving completely of themselves for the other. Pope John Paul II called this ideal “mutual self-gift.”

Marriage is consummated by sexual intercourse, a complete and unconditional sharing which may result in new life. Simple observation reveals the complex psychological and biological processes that link attraction, love, romance, intimacy, marriage, sex, children and family into one, large interrelated system. If we disconnect or ignore any part of such a complex system, we will produce consequences far beyond our immediate intentions that are spread out over many individuals over long times. 

Consider, now, the consequences of disconnecting the biological and psychological connection between sex and children. We all know that there are many ways of sharing love and that true lovers always want to share more. Sex is a special case of love because it is shared not just between two, but three: the partners and the potential new life.  Refusing to share love with new life is selfishness and selfishness is the death of love.


Mutual self-gift becomes mutual self-gratification and when the pleasure ends, the marriage ends. Gay marriage, perhaps without intending it, promotes this view that is subtly damaging to many marriages over long times.

Roy Doorenbos

St. Mary Parish, Grinnell

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