Practice Vigilant Purchasing

I was surprised that the article “Helping Beat the High Cost of Education” (Jan. 23-29) included [encouragement to do business with] such companies as Target Corp. and General Mills. General Mills has been giving to Planned Parenthood for years and just recently limited their funding to “educational” funds for Planned Parenthood. So instead of actually using the money to perform abortions, they use it to educate our youth about how to obtain “services” without parental consent. Target's parent company, Dayton Hudson, has been a generous supporter of Planned Parenthood for years. While Target may promote community efforts, their sales also support abortions.

We as Catholics must exercise prudence in our spending. Parents and educators must form our youth first by example. We will not support those that deny the dignity of every human being from conception to natural death. “Evil can only exist when good people do nothing.”

Please make an extended effort to not allow articles that may mislead your subscribers and unintentionally promote the “culture of death.”

Kris Kanalen Sugar Hill, Georgia

Marriage's True Goal

In his generally excellent essay “The Defense of Marriage Begins at Home” (Jan. 30-Feb. 5), columnist Benjamin D. Wiker makes the unqualified assertion that the “capacity for procreation” is the “true goal” of marriage, adding that “[i]f you remove it, then marriage itself will soon crumble.”

Even granting that Mr. Wiker was not condemning marriages rendered infertile through some natural defect or old age, but referring to marriage intentionally made infecund through contraception or sterilization, some confusion arises with regard to the order of the ends of marriage, and the fundamental reasons for the impossibility of same-sex marriage.

It would be just as easy to identify the “true goal” of marriage within Familiaris Consortio's definition of conjugal love as a “deeply personal unity” that aims at “total mutual self-giving.” This unique, exclusive, complete state of avowed self-gift between a man and a woman aims at an imitation of the perfect love, knowledge and unity of the Father and the Son. It is a good and an end in itself.

As the love between the Father and the Son does not remain static and self-contained but generates a third person, so too does conjugal love achieve a more perfect and complete imitation by producing offspring, who become both immortal product and temporal enrichment of that love. Frustrating conjugal love's ordering to procreation ruptures the union of persons and violates its connection to the divine model, doing violence not just to the procreative end of marriage but to the unitive as well.

A marriage in which conjugal love cannot bear the fruit of a new person does not lose all significance. Husband and wife still enjoy the good of unity and self-giving. In fact, their love can still image the fecundity of Trinitarian love, radiating “a fruitfulness of charity of hospitality, and of sacrifice” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1654). In either case, the personal union is at the core of marriage; fruitfulness confirms, strengthens and completes it. A conjugal relationship where procreation is naturally impossible retains marriage's meaning; a fertile coupling without total self-giving does not.

Thus the homosexual couple finds an obstacle to marriage deeper than the inability to procreate (indeed, this argument becomes less and less persuasive to the public ear with every advance in reproductive technology). In fact, they suffer a fundamental personal incompatibility. The natural personal complementarity of man and woman (expressed corporeally by the complementary sexual organs, natural drives, etc.) that admits of conjugal love is utterly lacking in a same-sex couple, and can only be approximated by substitutes: close friendship, sexual attraction, mutual support or dependence, or some combination thereof.

Todd M. Aglialoro Office of Family Life Diocese of Peoria, Illinois