By: Christopher West
Back in January of 2006, the internet began to buzz with news that a British woman married (more aptly, attempted to marry) a dolphin in Israel. First question: Has the world gone absolutely berserk? Answer: Yea, pretty much. Sharon Tendler, from East London, wore a white silk dress and a pink tiara as she stood by Cindy-the-dolphin’s tank for this unique ceremony. Sharon apparently kissed Cindy and whispered “I love you” into the dolphin’s blow hole. How romantic.
Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that after a gift of some mackerels, Sharon’s friends tossed her into the water so she could swim with her new husband. “I’m the happiest girl on earth,” the bride reportedly said, as she chocked back tears. “I made a dream come true, and I am not a pervert,” she stressed. Of course, anyone familiar with Canon Law knows that this couldn’t be a valid marriage since Cindy is a female dolphin. Mercy. Where to begin? How about “in the beginning.”
In the Beginning…
In Genesis we read, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man [adam] should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Gn 2:18). First, God creates the animals, which the human being names (‘adam’ here means man in the generic sense, not first the “male”). But among the animals “there was not found a helper fit for him” (Gn 2:20). This is a key line that Sharon Tendler might do well to reflect upon. I’d say the same for Cindy-the-dolphin, except dolphins can’t reflect on such things. Herein lies the problem.
We may be amazed at what scientists have demonstrated dolphins and monkeys are capable of. But we do not delude ourselves when we recognize that there is something more to the human being, a particular richness, an inner life, an inner self, something spiritual that even the most advanced animals do not possess. After all, it is human scientists who reveal the ability of monkeys, not monkey scientists who reveal the ability of humans.
It’s impossible to speak, even analogously, of the inner life of animals. It’s because of our inner life that we experience wonder, recognize beauty, yearn for love, search for meaning, desire knowledge, and seek understanding. It’s because of our inner life that we long for truth and goodness and are pained by evil and injustice. It’s because of our inner life that we have the capacity to marry. Dolphins, however cute, simply do not have this capacity.
Be Not Afraid…I Am With You Always
Now I can understand why in today’s world Sharon Tendler might resort to such a thing. Our pornified world has turned a large number of men into beasts — wolves with a one-track mind, and women are the prey. If I were a woman and I had a choice between a wolf and a dolphin, I’d chose the dolphin too.
This “woman marries dolphin” story is just the latest fall-out of the so called sexual “revolution.” In reality, it has proven to be a “devolution.” And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. As someone put it to me recently, evil has no guard rails. But we needn’t fear. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (see Romans 5:20). Christ is preparing a great springtime for the Church and the world. The darker it gets, the more we are drawn to the light.
The Church’s teaching on the human person and on human sexuality is the stone the modern world has rejected, but it will become the corner stone of a whole new world. If you are in doubt, take up a study of John Paul II’s theology of the body and I think you will see what I mean.