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Everyone seems to agree that Western Civilization is in trouble. The problem is that no one agrees on what has gone wrong or what to do about it. Some think we have too much government, some not enough; some think we have too much capitalism, some not enough; some think we have too much sexual freedom, some not enough.
But what if the problem is much more fundamental? What if the problem goes to the very foundations of who we are as human beings in relationship with God?
In The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order, Scott Hahn makes the startling claim that our society’s ills and its cures are rooted in whether we reject or accept the divine graces made available through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Man, he argues, is social in his very nature. We were created for community. As it was in the beginning, so it remains today. The family, formed through the Sacrament of Matrimony, is the most basic building block of every society—whether we like it or not. We’ve corrupted marriage, and so we have a corrupt society. If we get marriage right, our society, through God’s grace, will flourish.
This is so because Matrimony, like all the sacraments, heals and elevates human nature. Without marriage, our ambitions toward a just social order will remain forever foolhardy. With it, the seemingly impossible, a truly peaceful and humane civilization, becomes possible.