From David Goldman at First Things:
It Takes a Congregation
Jun 26, 2009
David P. Goldman
Contrary to what we hear incessantly, marriage is not a right; it is an estate, a condition. There are conditions of life that have nothing to do with rights. One doesn’t have a right to go through puberty. One either does or doesn’t. What is the condition of being married, and what makes it possible to attain it? Franz Rosenzweig’s anthropology—in which religion is a response to man’s sentience of death, and the sentience of death is not only an individual but also an communal characteristic—may help answer that question. Humankind fights mortality in two ways. The first is to raise children who will remember us, and the second is to seek eternal life through divine grace. The estate of marriage involves both.
“Why do men chase women?” asks Rose Castorini in Moonstruck. “Because they want to live forever.” The data suggest that we marry and have children for just that reason. When we cease to hope in eternal life, we no longer marry and no longer have children. That is the terrible lesson that the triumph of secularism has taught us. In industrial countries where atheism triumphed in the form of communism, fertility rates have fallen to levels barely half of replacement. . . .
For the rest of the article, see http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2009/06/it-takes-a-congregation