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Faith in Action


Julianna Morano, Editor-in-Chief

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When I was a girl, my gardening master of a Nana would petition for my assistance with the weeds. I would happily help, innocently picking off the leaves; I thought nothing of it. I thought the point was to hide them.

“Julianna, you have to pull them out at the root,” she corrected.
That made for infinitely more effort on my part. But there was a greater task at hand than
So when I hear Isabel Sawhill’s contention to increase contraception use among the young – in
order to achieve a more efficient, planned parenthood – I return to this lesson I learned so long
She writes (at least in part) with the intention of improving the lives of the young. She claims
children of more prepared parents will have better lives, the parents themselves more educational
and career-related opportunities.
And then she says, “Imagine being able to eat all the chocolate ice cream you want without
gaining weight” – and that’s where I hit a breaking point.
The problem with this is not just that it is impossible. It is inherently selfish, especially with the
awareness that she is comparing chocolate ice cream to the conjugal act. Oh, how we have
forgotten what that means. It’s not a toy for us to use for our own pleasure; it’s sickening to see
how people have become unaware of such exploitation of a God-given gift, from our
Pope Francis and Alexander Schmemann instead nip it at the bud, as my Nana taught me. The
lives of our youth will not improve with mere attempts at the issues of unplanned parenthood.
We instead must take the frightening dive of personal exertion toward the root of it all, and we
dive toward a greater love.
Marriage is supposed to be among the greatest of love and its expressions. A reflection “of God’s
inner life,” if the love is full and exceeds selfishness. It’s not supposed to shatter with the
slightest irritation or fade into another exploit. In Pope Francis’ words, it is not passable once it
“proves inconvenient or tiresome.”
We cannot take a rain check on marriage or make ourselves arbiters on the matter because we
can never pass on God, the only arbiter.
Nor can we ever propose solutions to society’s problems like Sawhill that live outside of God’s
plans for marriage.
Nor can we ever begin to save our world and the life of the world to come if we do not tirelessly
seek out this root – this misconception of marriage – and seek to remedy it with this greater love
that is only achieved through and with and by God.
Nor can we ever convince ourselves that marriage is isolated to two people and their children.
Marriage is far beyond the Jesus, Mary, and Joseph style trio. It’s the Church and the world. We
don’t live in vacuums.
I know this because I’ve seen and heard friends collapse under the weight of the pain of divorce.
And when I see and hear this, I’m not a stoic observer, staring at the events taking place as
though they were behind a screen. I’m there with them. My stomach drops as well, my heart
plummets as well, my thoughts wander as well to this breach of Church teaching, my tears well
as well, hints of their tremendous ache I feel as well.
The choices we make in this world set off chains of events with impacts that reach all of us. We
are all interconnected. And God is ubiquitous. Marriage cannot be separated from this reality, no
matter how selfish and exploitative we wish to be.
So I never again want to hear a friend tell me she has been prescribed antidepressants because
her father is divorcing again and her family is breaking again. And so I’m looking for a greater
love I know I’ll never see in a box of higher-tech contraceptives. Instead, I’ll be looking up, and
looking for a very particular face indeed.
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