Thursday, April 8, 2010

Millenials and Marriage

The April issue of Columbia magazine features a report on a poll recently conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The poll focused on the moral and religious attitudes of the Millenial Generation, defined as those who came of age around the year 2000 and are currently between the ages of 18 and 29.

The poll results reveal that millenials place a high value on spirituality, marriage and family. Their top two long-term priorities are growing closer to God and getting married. However, they seem awfully confused about how to get there. It's as if, finding themselves in Columbus and wanting to go to Cincinnati, they happily bought a ticket to Cleveland.

I say this because, while millenials value marriage, they don't value sex. Sex and marriage, in the millenial view, don't have anything to do with one another. No only that, they also fail to see that sex and any moral dimension at all.

Millenials are less likely than previous generations to judge issues related to sexual morality, such as premarital sex, same-sex marriage and same-sec relationships, as morally wrong. And Catholic millenials - along with other Catholics - even more commonly consider these as either morally acceptable or not moral issues at all.

Denying that sex and marriage go together does nothing to change the truth consistently proclaimed by the Church, whether in the language of Paul VI (procreative and unitive aspects) or John Paul II (total self-donation). The millenials seem blissfully unaware that their attitudes toward sexual relations undermines their chances of ever achieving what they claim are their top priorities. Every mile that they travel toward Cleveland takes them farther away from Cincinnati.

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