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August 2, 2006

Dear Concerned Citizen,

by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
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The founder of Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth, revolutionized the family when he proposed lifelong monogamy as the moral ideal for marriage. Prohibiting divorce was a radical step in the ancient world, as the astonished reactions of Jesus’ disciples clearly shows. Yet this norm was the first step in equalizing the relationship between men and women, and indeed, among men. For each man, no matter how wealthy, could have one and only one wife. No man, no matter how powerful, could discard his wife. It is no exaggeration to say that the marriage norm of lifelong monogamy instituted by Jesus, laid the foundation for the many of the most distinctive features of Western society.

Yet the very features that make Christian civilization both distinctive and great are now under attack as never before. Easy divorce, abortion on demand and even same sex marriage all disrupt the organic life of the family. The modern world demands all of these as basic human rights, without seeing that these policies promote the alienation of man and woman from each other and children from their parents.

The participants in the Fifth World Meeting of Families discussed all these issues and more in Valencia Spain. The Meeting began with a Theological and Pastoral Congress, which featured papers from academics and clerics from all over the world. Cardinal Carol Caffarra of Bologna, Italy, kicked off the conference with a discussion of the impact of secularism on the family, showing that secular society has lost a sense of the meaning of marriage. He suggested that the modern trends toward easy divorce and same sex marriage were creating a “society of strangers” which views marriage as nothing but a contract. A panel of economists and demographers documented the collapsing birthrates of the modern countries. Professor Rosa Linda Valenzona, former Undersecretary of Social Welfare and Development in the Philippines, argued that the most commonly cited causes of demographic decline are not adequate explanations. The increasing opportunities for women and the rising costs of children are not sufficient reasons for cultural suicide, which is what the current situation amounts to.

The Meetings also included presentations from marriage support ministries from all over the world.  David and Bronwyn Lea of New Zealand represented the World Wide Marriage Encounter movement, which is well-known in North America. Many other marriage support ministries attended, including Couples for Christ, founded in the Philippines, Equipes Notre-Dame (Teams of Our Lady), founded in France and the “Crescendo” organization of the elderly. Some of these ministries also had booths at The Family Fare, which featured displays from ministries all over the world. The Meeting also sponsored a Congress for the Young and a Congress for the Elderly. Approximately eight thousand people attended these meetings.

The atmosphere shifted from academic conference and trade show to a festive combination of religious ceremony, camp-out and Fourth of July. At the Prayer Vigil on Saturday evening with Pope Benedict, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims crowded the outdoor venue to hear brief presentations, to view artistic performances, and of course, to pray. Fireworks capped the program after Benedict’s homily. Many of the young families and youth groups simply unrolled the sleeping bags and stayed overnight in anticipation of the outdoor Mass the next day. Over a million people attended the Mass, at which Benedict described marriage this way: “The family, founded on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, is the expression of the … filial and communal aspect of life. It is the setting where men and women are enabled to be born with dignity, and to grow and develop in an integral manner.”

It was a fitting conclusion to the great work of supporting the great Christian institution of marriage.

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Responses to Genesis Project - 6th Day

Dear Dr. Schroeder: I really enjoy your articles on Creation. I understood that the term, "be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth..." would more correctly be translated as 'be fruitful and replenish the earth...' I would like your thoughts on this. - Silvia Genders

By choosing to present the nonsense that Adam was simply a hominid given a spirit, you are denying a good part of the Bible and presenting heresy. Either take or reject Genesis on its own terms and not on terms unbelieving humans are trying to thrust upon it. If you look at the most ancient of available translations, the Alexandrian LXX, by the way, you will find that in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 the cipher for ‘100’ has been dropped in the modern texts which are taken from the Masoretic translations. When the cipher is restored, the earth is shown to be closer to 8000 years old. Research into the speed of light and atomic constants confirms that date via hard data. Trying to combine some sort of evolutionary impossibilities with Genesis is misleading millions of people and those who are doing so and publishing it will end up having to answer for the damage they are doing to the faith of so many. Please consider more carefully what you are willing to publish. God either knows how to communicate with people or He does not. There is very good evidence that Genesis itself may be a series of eyewitness accounts written by Adam, Noah, his sons, and others who signed off on the accounts. Curt Sewell (died last November) did a very good job of presenting some of the evidence here: http://www.ldolphin.org/tablethy.html Thank you, In Christ, - Barry and Helen Setterfield

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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism
Sex-Files for Women
Vatican website for the Pope’s visit
At Mass in Valencia, Pope Benedict uses what tradition says is Holy Grail
The National Marriage Project
About The National Marriage Project
Pilgrims Return from Valencia Filled with Hope for the Future of the Family
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We live complex lives. We strive to sort out priorities that sometimes conflict or seem incompatible. A moral framework is needed to help us understand the reality around us. Our Judeo-Christian heritage provides a framework to help us comprehend the choices we make and the conflicts that arise over them. It is not only the main source of our spiritual values, but also many of the secular values we depend on.

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  Jennifer Roback Morse
Jennifer Roback Morse is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. She has appeared on numerous talk radio shows nationwide and is a regular columnist for the National Catholic Register. Her public policy articles have appeared in Policy Review, the American Enterprise, Fortune, Reason, the Wall Street Journal, and Religion and Liberty. From 1980 to 1996, she taught at Yale and George Mason universities. In 1996, she moved with her family to California, where she now pursues her primary vocation as a wife and mother.
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