Thursday, November 20, 2014

On Humanum Summit in Rome

While life has been going along on this continent, with a president asserting his dictatorial delusions, over in Eurpope there’s something significant going on: Humanum, the Vatican summit in support of marriage. The official subtitle is, “An International Interreligious Colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman.”
Humanum 2014 logo, found here
There has been speculation that those in support of traditional marriage are wearing down, ready to give in. Not so. Marriage is what God defines it to be; it is up to us to stand either with God or against Him. I prefer to find God’s side and plant myself firmly there.
Others at this conference, from many countries and many faiths, share this belief. Marriage is a contract, but it is more than that. It benefits society because of its unique power to connect a man and woman for life, to form a family from which civilization perpetuates. And it happens because both a man and a woman are involved—as God designed in the beginning.
I became aware of the conference when it was announced that Henry B. Eyring would be speaking. He is a longtime favorite of mine. His messages are always kind, gentle, heartfelt, and helpfully inspiring. He is one of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a leader of 15 million people, and yet he speaks as a loving grandparent. He spoke Tuesday at the Humanum conference, giving personal experiences about how he has been able to move closer to God because of his relationship with his wife of well over half a century. I’ve included his relatively short address below.  


Another of the addresses worth hearing is Pastor Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church, an entertaining speaker who also supports traditional marriage unequivocally, and is conversationally articulate in explaining why, and also what we supporters of marriage need to do now. His forty-minute address can be found here.
The Pope addressed the entire conference at the opening, which probably brought more recognition to the assembly than it would otherwise have had. Opponents of marriage tend to look for tiny glints of evidence in the Pope’s words to see that he might be relenting on doctrine. But I trust that they have to look hard and imaginatively to see such things in his words, which are designed to support what marriage has always been. Of the conference he said (translated), “It is fitting that you have gathered here to explore the complementarity of man and woman. This complementarity is at the root of marriage and family.” (full text here)
Twenty years ago the Pope and other world leaders could have said the same words, and no one would have blinked. One could almost think it could go without saying, since it was common knowledge that a marriage is made up of a man and a woman, and they form a permanent bond in which to form a family, and enjoy the love and trials and drama involved in raising children and watching them grow to adults, and then enjoying grandchildren. Since that has been going on for millennia, it hardly would seem newsworthy to mention it. But attacks in our day have attempted to make believers in God who also believe in marriage and family out to be aberrant haters.
I offer my thanks to the participants, to the speakers, to the brave souls willing to stand up today and continue to find better and clearer language to state what used to go without saying.

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