Call for a secular synod

Giuliano Ferrara

Marriage has never been so inherently corroded, emptied and almost nullified as it is today in the West. It is a disfigured portrait. It is not a matter of catechism; it is a matter of life. Let’s talk about it.


The clan, polygamy, kinship, the monogamous nuclear family... Actually, we could really use a secular synod to discuss all of today’s most pressing issues. The Catholic Church is doing as much as it can, and it is a lot. Two sessions, one year apart, and many places to analyze, discuss, process, to share opinions and disagree, and establish solid truths, though temporary in a fluid and elusive situation where everything is entangled together (sexuality, abortion, homosexuality, celibacy, eugenics, upbringing, culture and freedom). But the centuries-old secular world, external to the life of the church and outside its walls, what is it doing? It looks, it judges, it pontificates on how much and in what way the Jesuit Pope is able to usher the Church into modernity, as they say.


Now, conformism is fine, there is always a need for that, but are we sure that the serial post-divorce marriage, the prenuptial agreement which is in fact the anticipation of divorce on your wedding day (as Roger Scruton says), the systemic abandonment of the children, of loved ones, the unrelenting chase for a new life, the disruption of the authority of a cohesive social institution, which even in its civil forms is a theological secularized concept; are we sure that all this is something passably modern, something acceptable, that we should not dwell on it because that’s how it is now? Marriage has been widely criticized, it has been considered a stuffy bourgeois ideal, it has been degraded, satirized, it was deemed the peak of social hypocrisy and as such rejected. However, it has never been so inherently corroded, emptied and almost nullified as it is today in the West. Roberto Volpi’s research has shown that the sun has set on marriage, it is disappearing. Achille Ardigò’s sociological research has brought to light the infinite and dangerous misery of a society coming undone due the dissolution of the family. These scholars did not set out to conduct an exercise in moralism, they simply pieced together the puzzle, to say it lightly, and the result is the disfigured portrait of an unfamiliar face.


Bishops and religious experts will discuss and the Pope will draw conclusions. This is the church. However, it is interesting that the historians, anthropologists, sociologists and so-called general intellectuals of the ‘untonsured’ world, because that is what secular means, do not step forward, instead scribbling between the instrumenta laboris of the Roman Synod. Why don’t they pose some questions, some hypothesis to work on and study? Why don’t they express their opinion on the matter of all matters? When I was young, children of separated parents (there was no divorce in Italy at the time) were an exception. Today, the exception is children of parents joined by an eternal bond, or at least a bond felt as such. Statistical variability shows that human society is overwhelmingly changing at the critical intersection of reproduction and love, of upbringing and solidarity, of friendship and domestic co-existence.


[**Video_box_2**]The problem does not lie within catechism. It is not LGBT speculation. It is not a topic for those obsessed with the Manif pour Tous (Demo for all) or for traditionalist Catholics. The problem is the fragmentation of a life compass. Maybe it is expanding and becoming more complex in its search for love and developing a free personality. Maybe it is doing so in the name of family rights and contractual agreements that solve, by destroying it, the caging spirit of this old institution, linked to a female role that no longer exists, and a statute of paternal authority that is only a fading memory. It's OK, let’s talk about the enlarged family, of the moral and intellectual reform of marriage, let's discuss whatever you want, but let’s talk about it. As a good friend of mine used to say, there is only one mom (luckily).

  • Giuliano Ferrara Fondatore
  • "Ferrara, Giuliano. Nato a Roma il 7 gennaio del ’52 da genitori iscritti al partito comunista dal ’42, partigiani combattenti senza orgogli luciferini né retoriche combattentistiche. Famiglia di tradizioni liberali per parte di padre, il nonno Mario era un noto avvocato e pubblicista (editorialista del Mondo di Mario Pannunzio e del Corriere della Sera) che difese gli antifascisti davanti al Tribunale Speciale per la sicurezza dello Stato.