Via First Things, Maggie Gallagher points to some strikingly counter-intuitive statements by the Pope on the relationship between marriage and peace. Here, for example, is a snippet from the Holy Father’s remarks at this year’s World Day of Peace:
Consequently, whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace. This point merits special reflection: everything that serves to weaken the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, everything that directly or indirectly stands in the way of its openness to the responsible acceptance of a new life, everything that obstructs its right to be primarily responsible for the education of its children, constitutes an objective obstacle on the road to peace.
And here is a similar statement, made in 2007 to the Executive Committee of the Centrist Democratic Internationale:
There are those who maintain that human reason is incapable of grasping the truth, and therefore of pursuing the good that corresponds to personal dignity. There are some who believe that it is legitimate to destroy human life in its earliest or final stages. Equally troubling is the growing crisis of the family, which is the fundamental nucleus of society based on the indissoluble bond of marriage between a man and a woman. Experience has shown that when the truth about man is subverted or the foundation of the family undermined, peace itself is threatened and the rule of law is compromised, leading inevitably to forms of injustice and violence.
I’ve been puzzling over these comments for a couple of days now, trying to understand what the Pope was getting at. After all, the relationship between, say, Same Sex Marriage and the Iraq War is hardly obvious. Yet the Pope is nobody’s fool, and if he’s repeatedly made the point, it’s worth considering whether he’s on to something.