Lately many have attempted to refute Bishop David Zubik's statement about marriage ("When Two Become One: Marriage, Separated From Procreation, Loses Its Meaning," Sept. 15 Forum). What about infertile couples? Those beyond childbearing age? And other arguments even sillier.
My son Paul says: "Dad, if you have to explain something like that, they still won't get it." But I will try, if not for them then for those who may be influenced by such weak thinking.
First, his is not a "religious" position. Aristotle (300 B.C.) was not a Christian. He was a scientist. So he wondered: What is the purpose of a sperm? Why is there a sperm? Or egg? Each by itself produces nothing. But united they produce a new and unique human person. Yes, there is also "pleasure" associated with sex. Why, he wondered. Pleasure is not a primary end. But it can bring and keep two persons, male and female, together to raise the children created. Now we all know that each of these ends can be frustrated by humans. Are frustrated. We also know that every sperm or egg does not create a new person. None of this disproves Aristotle's finding of primary and secondary purpose. In fact it supports and demonstrates it (for those capable of grasping Aristotle's thinking).
What is 100 percent certain is that the male-male and female-female relationships do not ever produce new life. Can an MM or FF relationship be productive of something? Yes. That is another question, too often lumped with this question of marriage. But an examination of universal human life (anthropology) will clearly show that only MF relationships can perpetuate the human "tribe" through marriage.
We all know that even Aristotle's pleasure principle is not enough to keep a family together all the time. So marriages are imperfect. Nevertheless, while MM and FF relationships were known (and sometimes better socialized) in ancient cultures they are not called "marriage" because they are not. Nor should they be in ours. That was Bishop Zubik's point. And Aristotle's too.