I am reading one of the best books I have ever read: The Fulfillment of All Desire by Dr. Ralph Martin.
Dr. Martin also wrote the much-needed Will Many Be Saved?, which reintroduced Hell to the post-Vatican II Church. (You may remember that Fr. Robert Barron -- the Carl Sagan of Catholicism -- didn't care much for the idea of scaring folks with a populated Hell, and made unfavorable remarks about Dr. Martin's book. That, in turn, caused Michael Voris to defend the dogma of Hell, causing Mark Shea to flip out on Michael Voris for attacking such a wonderful guy as Fr. Barron, which, of course, Voris never did. This recap is not gratuitous; I think it's useful to remember who stands for what.)
And my autocorrect insists on turning "Voris" into "Virus" so if I miss one, it does not mean I've canceled my premium membership to Church Militant TV. (By the way, I got in trouble for using the phrase "Christian soldier" in connection with Confirmation at RCIA because it was "too militaristic." Poor old Bear, just put a muzzle on him and have him ride a unicycle.)
While Dr. Martin still takes Hell seriously, this book finds the common thread in seven doctors of the Church's writings on attaining union with God. It is a tour de force and I cannot recommend it enough.
One of the saints is Francis de Sales. I read Introduction to the Devout Life a long time ago, and I was evidently not ready for it to leave much of an impression on me. I am looking forward to revisiting him.
His father married a 14 year-old girl. He did his son Francis the favor of arranging a match with a 14 year-old girl, too! Francis declined and went on to better things.
Of course, now, that would be illegal even in Arkansas. And I think that's a good thing. But there's no reason that should stand forever. People shouldn't be discriminated against no matter who they love, right? Does anyone else find it ironic that today we would condemn a good marriage with a 14 year old girl, but we bombard our own kids with sex 24 hours a day, put devices capable of making child pornography into their little hands, and instruct them only in immorality?
If you want to argue against the February-September marriage...
You can't argue the yuck factor.
You can't appeal to past norms.
You can't cite religious beliefs.
You must respect the self-determination of the young adult.
We're one hit sitcom about a winsome child bride and her 50 year-old doting husband away from Lolitapocolypse. But you don't want to be accused ephebiphobia, do you? (Ephebiphobia is the fear of youth, as if the actual definition matters.)