Morality Matters – The Nuptial Meaning of the Body


By: Paul Murano – April 2013

At the moment of this writing the Supreme Court is deliberating two cases related to so-called “same-sex marriage”. If the justices have any sense they will state in a clear voice that marriage has nothing to do with equality or rights, but is an outgrowth of human nature that must be recognized. Because we live in an era that human nature is being challenged and manipulated for perceived self gratification, it is a good time to appeal again to common sense and revisit the basic notion of the nuptial meaning of the body.

If you look at the human body it is apparent that most of its parts exist primarily for the sake of the self. The heart keeps the person alive, the other vital organs sustain that life; the eyes, teeth, stomach, legs, all exist primarily for the good and survival of the self — we feed ourselves, wash and clothe ourselves, oxygenate ourselves by breathing; we exercise, sleep, learn, etc. all for the good of the self. Virtually all of our involuntary and routine volitional movements promote and preserve the self, and are subconsciously acts of self love. The proposition “Love your neighbor as yourself” would be meaningless if there was no proper love of self that the body is made to foster.

The only parts of the human body that exist primarily for another are the reproductive parts. The nuptial meaning of our bodies, imprinted in the function and purpose of our maleness and femaleness, speak of the nature of what we are as a sexual species and who we are as male and female persons. The body expresses the soul, even if the emotions or psyche may be disordered.

While the body points to the fact that we belong to ourselves in many ways, we are also designed to give the self to another in order to create a union that is by its nature permanent and life-giving. Just as proper self-love means to sustain the life and health of the individual, sexual love means to sustain the life and health of the family and society. Like other animals, male and female bodies are complimentary opposites to propagate the species. As persons we are made to share the self with another as a gift of love. We are both animals and persons (not just one or the other as is erroneously emphasized today), which means we give life through love as body-persons. Two become one to become three. Any attempt to separate love and life, union from procreation, is a denial of our sexual and personal being.

Marriage between a man and woman, therefore, is not only something found in the scriptures of the world’s great religions; and it is not only something found exclusively throughout all of human history in every tribe, nation, and culture. These truths are evident, but man-woman marriage is also something that springs from the very nature of what it means to be male and female human beings. It is a natural institution, an extension of human nature ordered to the union and creation of individuals. Disrespecting natural law means disrespecting self.

Union and procreation are (and always have been) the essential components of marriage according to natural law. The nuptial unitive and procreative meanings of the body share love and life, bonding and babies, neither of which can be accomplished by people of the same sex. Just as eating sand would be a futile attempt at loving self by nurturing one’s own life, so too persons of the same sex cannot unite into one flesh nor give life as its result. Regardless of intent both acts contradict love and are objectively abusive. This is no more opinion than saying junk food is bad for you or that our bodies are not made to sit at a desk all day without any exercise. There is a natural order to love and life that is stubbornly and foolishly being denied today.

Those who find themselves with disordered attractions to those of the same sex or anything else deserve both compassion and truth. Compassion because of the cross they carry perhaps through no fault of their own; and truth because the temptation to act upon disordered desires can be very strong. Contemporary society chooses to ignore the truth for the sake of compassion, a dangerous of displaced compassion. This is because on the one hand we see ourselves no higher than beasts that cannot control our impulses so we put condoms in schools and condone homosexual behavior. On the other hand we see ourselves as no lower than angels acting as if we are pure spirit, persons without bodies, choosing to contradict our bodily selves at will.

For the government to condone behavior that produces not only disease of the body but more importantly disease of the soul by calling it “marriage” is irresponsible and harmful, objectively hate rather than love, for it promotes obsession and addiction rather than liberty. The denial of the nuptial meaning of the body which naturally leads to self-loathing and God-hatred cannot possibly serve the good of any individual regardless of the strength of desire, and is a slow cancer to the health and well being of the family and society.