But the Bible also also says that marriage is for the perfection of our character. The Bible says that the husband sanctifies his wife and the wife sanctifies her husband. Really, what this means is that the greatest tool for spiritual growth in your life is typically your spouse, because they won’t let you get away with stuff, and they keep you honest, and the things you don’t want to admit about yourself, your spouse sees.
Marriage is not just to make us happy, but to make us holy, and that’s an important thing.
Another purpose of marriage is the protection of children. What I mean by that is that human beings are born completely helpless. You can’t do anything. You can’t feed yourself; you can’t dress yourself. Shoot, you can’t even turn over when you’re first born. And God knew that human babies were going to need support. And that’s why he created families. That’s why he created moms and dads — for protection. The Bible tells us, “Fathers, bring your children up in the nurture and instruction of the Lord”. That’s in Ephesians, and it means protection and education.
The last point, which was mentioned [at the colloquium] is that marriage is a metaphor. It is for the reflection of Christ’s union with the Church. It’s a reflection of God’s love for us. Marriage is to be a model, a metaphor, a visual lesson of how God loves us. When you look at a genuine love, an unconditional love, that’s what God wants for us.
Marriage has those six purposes. So I said, “That’s a Purpose Driven Marriage.”
Is this your first time at the Vatican?
Yes, it is.
What would you say is the significance of this colloquium being held inside the Vatican, so close to the tomb and to the very bones of St. Peter?
Yes. In the first place, it is so historic as the center of one billion Catholics. Even for non-Catholics, our roots are all the same. For 1000 years, there wasn’t any other kind of Christian.
The point is that we all have these same great saints in our lives. I think the beauty is that we have far more in common than we have that separates us. When you think about it, what is a Christian? They believe in the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They believe in the Resurrection. They believe in the Bible. They believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins. If you believe those things, we’re on the same team. We may have different disagreements on other issues, but if you love Jesus Christ, you’re my brother, my sister.
That unity was shown here. The sanctity of sex, the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage—every true Christian will agree on those. They may disagree on other things, but they will agree on that. And they’ll say that we have to work together because we’re more effective and better together than we are apart.
There were representatives from so many different religions and cultures present at this week’s colloquium. How do you think they felt in coming to the Vatican?
I think they felt welcome and wanted by the Vatican. I thought that was a very good move.
And they were treated with respect. As Christians we are called to love everybody. I’m not allowed to hate anybody. My Savior demands that I love everybody, even people who have a totally different worldview than I do. I can’t not love them.
Because this colloquium was led by cardinals, because they were here and showed up in force, it said to them, “We love you.”
Diane Montagna is the Rome correspondent for Aleteia.