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Why Can’t Parents Marry Their Adult Children?

One of the most important “dogmas” seared into the secularized mind is the Dogma of Consent. For example, whatever two adults want to do with each other is morally acceptable as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others.

Seems fair, right? But the dogma doesn’t hold up, even in the secular mind, when placed under close scrutiny. What if black slaves in America consented after the Civil War? Imagine house slaves working in a beautiful mansion for a very wealthy and kind plantation owner. What if they preferred their life as slaves as opposed to the prospect of being left to fend for themselves? They could have willfully signed a contract with the plantation owner to forfeit their freedom and remain his legal property. Under the “Dogma of Consent”, couldn’t slavery be reinstituted as legal in the U.S.?

Consent is at least one of the premises used by some when trying to justify same sex “marriage” (SSM). Who are you to say who can legally marry and who cannot? If secular marriage is about the gratification of two individuals and granting “rights”, what does the number two really have to do with anything? Additionally, who are we to say anything about marriage at all? Why can’t a parent marry their adult child? Here’s a recent article about a man arrested because his wife also happens to be his 20 year old daughter…but what’s the problem???

Why do we discriminate against people with Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA)? Is it because we find incest repulsive? Then we must be a society of bigots making groundless distinctions based on someone’s sexual preference; maybe they were born that way and can’t help it. Is it because incest tends towards birth defects? We don’t exclude other couples from marriage if they have a high risk for children with birth defects. Shouldn’t there be equal treatment under the law? What if a parent and adult child were perfectly platonic, but wish to benefit from state-offered marriage rights? Can we deny marriage to people that choose to be non-sexual?

Once a society accepts the base premises of SSM, the above paragraph contains the kind of disjointed thinking we will potentially need to face. The degree to which marriage means anything we want it to mean is the degree to which it means nothing. Why government involvement then? If two people wish to be best friends forever do they seek a government issued BFF license? How about business partners? Is there a government business partner license to apply for?

Although there is much confusion today, the official Church teaching is just as clear on incest as it is on other matters of human sexuality and marriage. “Incest designates intimate relations between relatives or in-laws within a degree that prohibits marriage between them…Incest corrupts family relationships and marks a regression toward animality” (CCC #2388). Of course, if humans are only smart animals, we must then ask the question…What is wrong with “animality”? Does this mean we can now open the discussion to bestiality in the context of marriage?

Without diving into the Catechism or a lot of theology, we should take pause and think about what rationally links all the things a lot of people still associate with marriage, including people in non-Judeo Christian cultures? Why only two people? Why opposite gender? Why no incest? Why no animals? Why exclusive? Why permanent? Why sex? Why bother?

Aligning the definition of marriage in accordance with the way humans procreate—and the best way to continue the human race—isn’t just some weird coincidence. People are very bold when making assertions about marriage, but not so skilled at asking and answering “why”.

Now it’s time for one of my favorite quotes…

“It is not a pleasant task to call attention to the obvious. To make others appear to be shortsighted, let alone blind, may easily evoke resentment.” 1

– Fr. Stanley Jaki

 

  1. Stanley L. Jaki, A Mind’s Matter (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002), p .52.
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Ben Butera

Ben Butera is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology and currently a Solutions Development Manager for a global 500 company. In 2010 he was certified as an instructor and Program Leader for his company’s initiative in analytical problem solving and decision making. In 2016 his first book was published entitled "Faith with Good Reason: Finding Truth Through an Analytical Lens". Ben is also co-author of “Two Catholic Men and a Blog”; a blog about Catholic faith and reason. He is a religious education catechist, a husband, a father and lives with his loving wife and three children in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

18 Comments

  1. Consent, much like compromise, and unity, (those nice-sounding, touchy-feely, but diabolical word traps) are never virtuous ends in themselves, but subject to the larger question–consent to what, and why.

  2. Pedophilia, according to Pedophile’s, is too harsh a label..so MAP’s is what they want to be labeled from hence forth.
    Minor attracted people.
    They “are not child molesters,” but people who are attracted sexually to minors.
    They wish to achieve the same acceptance as today’s homosexuals receive.
    This, I’m learning from the net, is a path that leads to respect for these folks.

    So. Normalize the behavior.

    What is the goal?
    Lower consent laws. (?)
    Widen the field of prey. (?)

    They will say that I am just another bigot who’s old fashioned way doesn’t allow their rights to be expressed. An oppressor.

    As these movements to normalize the behavior as not to offend the mentality ill,I will wager that mom and dad will apply for concealed carry permits as to protect their children. The rights of SAtA groups will appear from under the rocks as to normalize their behavior as well. We can’t have them thinking that beastiality is unusual or their feelings will be hurt. Sexually Attracted to Animals… futuristic group.

    The normalization of mental illness is empowering the individual they might say.
    Allowing them to be okay with their choices and forcing bigots like me to accept their behavior. Man married his goat in beautiful ceremony in St. Paul’s Cathedral will be the new normal.

    Hyperbole?
    God I hope so.

    If not, then the end of the world can not come soon enough.

  3. 1st Corinthians 5:

    It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife.[a] 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

    3 For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

  4. The sovereign person is conceived and at the beginning of existence has legal and moral innocence. The sovereign person freely wills to survive in an act of free will at conception. Sovereign personhood remains with the individual during his life and his pursuit of Happiness. His pursuit of Happiness, his truth, his destiny is called his personality. Personality may be altered by his free will choices, either good or bad. Bad choices result in damaged character and personality as well as damaged and darkened sovereignty, damaged discipline over oneself. Criminals and felons are prohibited from instituting the sovereign state by voting since their sovereignty is damaged by their crimes.
    Consent of the sovereign person is informed consent. There is no consent without informed consent and there is no informed consent without sovereignty. Criminals and felons cannot give informed consent since they have consented to commit crime. Criminals have diminished or forfeited their sovereignty to give informed consent. Criminals have accepted darkening of their intellect and free will and therefore cannot give informed consent, legally and morally. Therefore same sex marriage, pedophilia and the like cannot be legislated because sin, corruption and crime cannot give informed consent.
    Innocent persons of diminished capacity cannot give fully informed consent and may never be emancipated. Minor children do not have informed consent until emancipation.

  5. As far as I can see, the sex revolution will end up making sex a fill in the blanks activity with anything animal, vegetable, or mineral, its only current limitation being public taste.

  6. Marriage is primordial and, in the happy phrase of Lord Stowell in Dalrymple v Dalrymple, it is the parent, not the child of civil society.

    The state has a legitimate interest in marriage and it is important to note what precisely that is. Mandatory civil marriage originated in France on 9th November 1791 and was a product of the same Revolution that had just turned 10 million tenant farmers into heritable proprietors. This was no coincidence.

    The Code of 1804 contained no formal definition of marriage, but jurists have always found a functional definition in the provision that “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father,” which mirrors the doctrine of the Roman jurist, Paulus, “.pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1].

    This was the opinion of the four most authoritative commentators on the Civil Code, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925). Gaudemet (1908-2001) and Carbonnier (1908–2003), covering the period from the introduction of mandatory civil marriage down to our own day and long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated. In 1998, a colloquium of 154 Professors of Civil Law, including Philippe Malaurie, Alain Sériaux, and Catherine Labrusse-Riou unanimously endorsed this interpretation of the Civil Code. This led to the introduction of civil unions (PACS) for same-sex and opposite-sex couples in the following year.

    No one will deny that the state has a clear interest in the filiation of children being clear, certain and incontestable. It is central to its concern for the upbringing and welfare of the child, for protecting rights and enforcing obligations between family members and to the orderly succession to property. To date, no better, simpler, less intrusive means than marriage have been found for ensuring, as far as possible, that the legal, biological and social realities of paternity coincide. And that is no small thing.

  7. It would seem not. Of the relationships specified in Leviticus 18, adopted in many European codes, six are relationships by marriage, not blood

    1. One’s mother (Leviticus 18:7).
    2. A step-mother (Leviticus 18:8).
    3. A sister, a half-sister, or a step-sister (Leviticus 18:9).
    4. A granddaughter, whether by a son or a daughter (Leviticus 18:10).
    5. A half-sister (Leviticus 18:11).
    6. A paternal aunt (Leviticus 18:12).
    7. A maternal aunt (Leviticus 18:13).
    8. A paternal aunt by marriage (Leviticus 18:14).
    9. A daughter-in-law (Leviticus 18:15).
    10. A sister-in-law (Leviticus 18:16).
    11. A granddaughter by marriage, whether by a son or a daughter (Leviticus 18:17).
    12. A marriage to the sister of one’s wife during the wife’s life-time (Leviticus 18:18).

    The concern would appear to be with family stability and solidarity

  8. Consent is the soft and mirey ground one is left standing on when one rejects the finality of external authority (“Here I stand. I can do no other.” and all that) over and against one’s own will.

    Even if the tart is all dolled up in conscience.

  9. I don’t think consent as the sole criteria is our problem now. That went out with Roy Moore. Until Moore, that was the criteria: consent between two or more adults of legal age. Period. Since the Beatles sang about her being just seventeen (if you know what I mean), it was no big deal. Even if Jerry Seinfeld dating a 17 year old when he was much older, the most you got was a few raised eyebrows, going back to ‘oh well, to each his or her own.’ But that went out the window, overnight, last year. Now it’s some form of ‘everything is OK (except when we decide on a dime it isn’t)’. It’s almost like we’re setting up an era where ‘consent is all that matters’ will seem like a fine ethic by comparison.

  10. It ties into the autonomous self seeking external validation via Rousseau’ idea of the General Will, somehow. The problem is that if I am the only authority I can rely on (“I am a gay American and that’s my truth” is how one wayside rest bathroom cruising Democrat governor explained his extramarital activities), I have to get other people to agree with me if I’m to know that I’m right.

    So consent is okay. Until it isn’t.

  11. “Why Can’t Parents Marry Their Adult Children?”

    To borrow from George Gilder, there are no “parents” and no “children”, only mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. A man cannot marry his daughter because they are of the same family. A man cannot marry his son because they are of the same sex.

    When Patricia Spann married her son, the marriage was annulled. But when she married her daughter, both went to prison. That’s insane.There is no difference between a same-sex relationship between the unrelated and a consanguine one, no difference that concerns the rest of us. Either both are illegitimate, or both are valid.

  12. All created human beings are the children of God. Jesus Christ as the Son of God Who became the Son of Man is our brother. We, the people, are Christ’s brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ did not marry nor did Christ procreate because that would have been incestuous and unnecessary. It is interesting to note that in The Code of 1804 “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father,” which mirrors the doctrine of the Roman jurist, Paulus, “.pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1].”
    It goes further than that in that the a newly begotten (soul) creates a mother of a woman and wife and a father of a man and husband. Something for the current laws concerning adoption and sodomite, so called “marriage”, to consider. These laws go back to the Old Testament so I do not expect that our current atheism being imposed will accomodate them.
    It is also important to sublimate our will to the will of God for God in the Holy Spirit will enlighten our mind as to whom we must marry to procreate children.

  13. I agree with Patty. US estate and gift tax laws impose no tax on unlimited amounts of gifts/inheritances between spouses.

    Anyhow, this “consent” trope is simply one of the (seemingly unlimited) clods of excreta tauri thrown by mendacious maniacs on the “wall” which “stick” for the immoral, imbecilic supporters.

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