All of us remember the experiences of so many of our national soldiers who went through arduous, exhausting and seemingly interminable combats. How many of them saw numerous companions fall, and they themselves were uncertain of their own survival…but the desire to defeat the enemy, to save their country, and to fight on like heroes encouraged them to continue without desisting, and even to give their lives if necessary. How many nations have the glory of numbering among their sons men of this valor; men who are more concerned with fulfilling their duty than enjoying a life of betrayal and egoism.
But now, let’s imagine a hypothetical situation: a general, who in the midst of one of the worst conflicts that his country ever faced, has under his command a certain number of soldiers who start to drag their feet, and instead of promptly obeying orders, react with an attitude of relativism towards the commands received, start leaking information to the enemy and go so far as to persecute the few soldiers who remained faithful to their military ideal and discipline. Would there be any possibility that such an army could defeat the invaders, obtaining peace for their country?
Would there be some way that the general could rectify this situation? The remaining true soldiers would certainly hope so! And they would justly hope that for their efforts and courage, in face of the enemy and their slovenly and disparaging comrades in arms, they would receive military honors and that the others would be duly punished.
However, observing the pathetic state of his army, let’s suppose that the general summons his soldiers and delivers a speech to encourage …the dissenters! ‘No army drops down from heaven perfectly formed…we cannot harshly judge those who have tired of the fight. It is time to put the demands of military discipline and honesty in proper perspective…’ And in ending his dissertation, he rewards some of the soldiers…the most insubordinate ones.
Do we need to finish the story? Would the few good soldiers want to keep fighting?
Failure to encourage the good is the same as promoting vice. In any life circumstance, the human being has the innate necessity to aim toward elevated goals, but requires incentive and challenge. We don’t need to give examples; everyone has already experienced the daily situations where the expectation of a reward or the fear of scrutiny by a supervisor makes everyone give much more of themselves… If we need a little ‘push’ even in undertaking ordinary things, why would it not be so in the spiritual life?
“Seeing things in a proper perspective”… a relativistic expression that we would never have wished to encounter in an encyclical, much less so in one on marriage. If there is something in which absolutely no form of relativism should exist, it’s in conjugal union, which is the basis of society.
What intention does he who fails to demand – and even dispenses from – perfection, purity of intention and consistency in family life have? If these virtues are not required, he will be classifying the faulty, false and inconsistent fulfillment of matrimonial duties as something good….
What kind of instruction for spouses is this? It is absolutely discouraging for those who fight to remain faithful. And what kind of formation can parents give to the poor children who are born in such an atmosphere where heavenly blessings are not felt?
What does the Church say about the virtues essential for Christian marriage? Does it permit relativism? Read on..