In this past Christmas Season, I had been reading some of the writings of Archbishop Chaput. In one of his works, he discussed meeting a young woman who was seeking a husband who wasn’t loyal, but was faithful.
There is an important distinction between the two. In fact, this young woman was on to something. In the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern wold of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, the Church addresses this topic in number 48. The Council Fathers write, in part, “This intimate union in the mutual self-giving of two persons, as well as the good of the children, demands full fidelity from both, and an indissoluble unity between them.”
Loyalty is a great thing. In fact, loyalty can make a great business or personal relationship. Yet, it is quite ordinary. It is so ordinary, in fact, that even a dog can do it.
Marriage requires something even greater than “acceptable.”
Fidelity is absolute. There is no “mostly faithful” or “kinda faithful.” You are either faithful or you aren’t. The pure love that marriage nurtures cannot exist with absolute fidelity. Who wants a fair weather friend? Worse, a fair weather spouse. The self giving love of marriage does not permit degrees of fidelity, it must be complete in order to survive.
Loyalties can change (or be bought), fidelity is permanent.