Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date


Publication Information

4 Ave Maria L. Rev. 567 (2006)


During the twentieth century, the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on the nature of marriage remained fully faithful to ancient tradition and witnessed new developments. In his article, The Nature of Marriage and Its Various Aspects, Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo has afforded a splendid overview of both the timeless and adaptive features of the Church's teaching. In commenting on the article, I have been asked to identify obstacles to the article's reception as well as to suggest possible resolutions. My brief response to His Eminence, Cardinal Trujillo, consists of two parts. First, I suggest that an epistemological issue is raised by the Church's insistence that marriage continues to constitute an objective social reality in the face of modem trends in favor of the subjectivity of marriage. Second, I will discuss the "personalist" perspective on marriage as a twentieth century development in the Church's teaching, which represents an adaptation to subjectivity even as it maintains the objective tradition. My commentary focuses on Cardinal Trujillo's appeal to the natural law. Natural law holds that traditional marriage consists of one man and one woman who are united in an exclusive fidelity and a permanent bond.


Reprinted with permission of Ave Maria Law Review.

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