Thursday, June 19, 2014


Okay, I did NOT see this one coming.


Though I should have.


I remember having the discussion that if the definition of marriage was changed from its ancient understanding that was attached to procreation and family (or even sex for that matter) and base it solely on strong emotional bonds that it would lead to other forms of marriage other than just between two people and being told, “Oh no, that would NEVER happen.”  Well since then we have had the mother who wanted to marry her daughter in order to assist her in raising her daughter.  More recently we have had the case of the three women who married out west and one of them being inseminated in order for triumvirate to raise a family.

Yesterday (Wednesday) on NPR there was a story about the development of robots.  As they become more complicated and self-sufficient the question was asked at what point will they become “persons.”  The prediction was that their rights would develop over time.  Robots will slowing gain “rights” and eventually be able to sue.  Law suits could be filed not because the owner of a robot was seeking damages to his property but that the robot would be able to sue for violation of (his?) person.  The prediction was that 20 years following the first successful suing by a robot (against a human or another robot was not specified) there will be the first wedding.  (Again, they did not specify if it was between a robot and a person or two robots – but now we see almost anything can go.)
Here is another article on the topic.
Which all leads back to the sticking point: Once marriage can mean anything, it ceases to mean anything.


Anonymous said...

Actually, Issac Asimov wrote about this 60 years ago. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Cathy said...

YIKES! God help us!

I WOULD be concerned....the way things are going.

MaryofSharon said...

"Anonymous" should read the article you linked above. The doctoral student on artificial intelligence discussed in that article delivered his thesis about robot marriage in 2007. I don't think he's kidding!

Stephen said...

I have heard that Catholics do not get "married". Catholics receive the
Sacrament of Matrimony, not the sacrament of marriage". The word "marriage" is a secular term that Catholics use incorrectly.

Please comment Father.
Thank You Kindly,
Stephen Stone

MaryofSharon said...

Thought-provoking, Stephen.

Particularly notable is the difference in the word origins. "Matrimony" literally means the state of being a mother, which I would interpret to mean that participation in the sacrament puts a couple in the situation in which the wife is now able to become a mother. This so very clearly reinforces the Church's (and, historically, everyone else's) understanding that at least the openness to procreation is a primary and inseparable good of marriage. This very use of the word "matrimony" adds additional support to the Church's defense of the conjugal meaning of marriage as "the lifelong partnership of mutual and exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman ordered by its very nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children" ( USCCB. Marriage, Unique for a Reason).

Marriage from Marry
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French marier, from Latin maritare, from maritus, literally ‘married,’ (as a noun) ‘husband’ and marita 'wife'

ORIGIN Latin matrimonium, 'marriage' based on mater, matr- ‘mother’ + monium, suffix signifying "action, state, condition."

MaryofSharon said...

Stephen, the Church describes the "Sacrament of Matrimony" as that to which Jesus elevated "marriage", which had already been established by the Creator in the Garden as the lifelong union of a husband and wife as a "marriage". (CCC 1601...)

One cannot use the distinction between sacramental marriage (which comes about in the Sacrament of Matrimony) and the broader meaning of marriage to argue that the Church should stay out of defending the meaning of marriage.

Fr. V said...

Kind of like - all priests are ministers but not all ministers are priests.

And not all Catholics are in sacramental marriages either.

Fr. V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr. V said...

Kind of like - all priests are ministers but not all ministers are priests.

And not all Catholics are in sacramental marriages either.

Cathy said...

As our culture slides down the slope of moral depravity, I've often wondered if there will be some "final straw" event--such as construction of robots so lifelike that they appear to have human "souls"--that will trigger the Second Coming of Christ.

The movie "I, Robot", based on Isaac Asimov's novel, gives "food for thought". Look beyond the "rock'em, sock'em" special effects to the robot Sonny who has intellect and free will and appears capable of having a "soul".

...And even more chilling is the fact that it may be the secular atheistic moral relativists who will program the "Sonny's" of the future.

Interesting review of the movie:

[To post: "Please prove you're not a robot." I'm not! But in the future, there may be robots doing the postings! Ha!]