I posted the following in response to “Homosexual Marriage: Only Ourselves to Blame,” an article today in the lead section. I’ve added it as a blog post as well, because I think “home economics” so neglected, and I truly want to get a discussion going about it.
This is one of the strongest pieces of analysis, “Homosexual Marriage: Only Ourselves to Blame,” we’ve published here at Catholic Exchange. I believe that if we understand the several forces redefining marriage long before the advent of homosexual marriage, we can reclaim marriage in its true character. This will certainly mean more and more Catholic couples choosing to live in a deliberately counter-cultural way, and that’s happening through the comeback of large families and home schooling. Two of our bloggers, Cari Donaldson and Dwija Borobia, are part of this movement, as they live (and write) in dramatic opposition to marriage-as-a-benefits-package.
The author’s emphasis on the economic forces that have torn traditional marriage apart is crucial; it’s also something that even the conservative Catholic press shies away from because of its reluctance to advance any criticism against a free-market system. Sadly, the practical necessity–or what appears to be the necessity–for most of having two outside-the-home incomes does more damage, I imagine, to traditional marriage than any other factor, and railing against the behavior this promotes while leaving unaddressed the root cause vitiates the authority of traditional marriage’s defenders. People think, “How are we ever going to live like that?” Since there are so few good options, they ignore the biblical charge “to be fruitful and multiply” and budget their commitment to the family, as all of life becomes a cost-benefit analysis.
Let’s do something really interesting here at Catholic Exchange and think how young Catholic couples and the rest of us can participate in the invention of a new family-friendly economy that will allow traditional marriages to flourish. We ought to have special editions devoted to ways in which Catholic couples can have a home-centered economy, particularly in non-agrarian settings. The family farm makes home-centered economies natural, but only so many can go back to the country, albeit I’ve seen this done successfully and in a heroic way, especially around Clear Creek Monastery in northeastern Oklahoma. In order for Catholics to supply the counter-cultural witness that’s needed (and which they themselves would benefit from), many more non-agrarian options need to be invented and replicated.