Over at his blog at Religion News Service, Mark Silk takes issue with my suggestion that the Church lost the fight for "traditional marriage" when we allowed no-fault divorce laws to go on the books. Silk points out that the divorce rate in the U.S. started to spike in the 1950s, while the law had to play catch-up, with most no-fault divorce statutes going on the books a decade or more later. I defer entirely to Silk's knowledge, which is as comprehensive as it is thorough.
Silk writes, "If it was not the introduction of no-fault divorce that brought about the decline in the marriage rate, what did? Arguably, this had to do with changing sexual mores and the fact that women, liberated to join the workforce as professionals, found they didn’t need to get married in order to obtain a decent standard of living." This observation strikes me as true and certainly requires me to modify my argument, but I am not sure it affects the conclusion. The ambient U.S. culture does not mean by marriage what the Church means by marriage, and that difference has been around long before anyone brought up the subject of same-sex marriage. Nonetheless, I am grateful for Silk's correction and look forward to the summer when I can join my fellow Nutmegger over a drink to discuss the matter further.
Just $5 a month supports NCR's independent Catholic journalism.
We are committed to keeping our online journalism open and available to as many readers as possible. To do that, we need your help. Join NCR Forward, our new membership program.
Looking for comments?
We've suspended comments on NCRonline.org for a while. If you missed that announcement, learn more about our decision here.