By Maria Rodriguez
On Thursday, Catholic University Professor of Moral Theology John Grabowski and his wife, Clare, stood up in front of a crowd of students at CUA on Tap to speak on the search for truth and holiness in relationships. Relationships, marriage, and the family are subjects the Grabowski’s are intimately related with, and not just because they are married. In 2009 the couple was invited to participate in the Pontifical Council for the family by the Emeritus Pope, Benedict XVI.
Students were drawn in by their credentials, Grabowski’s fame on campus, and the future usefulness of the topic. Also interested were a small group of seminarians.
“I heard this was on relationships,” said William Bolin, a sophomore Philosophy major and seminarian at the Saint John Paul II Seminary, when asked what drew him in.
“As someone who’s training to be a priest and will eventually be a spiritual director and spiritual father, this information will definitely —hopefully—aid me and guide me in my ministry,” Bolin said.
The talk itself focused on what makes for a Christian marriage, with tips for cultivating a good pre-marriage, and how to ensure a marriage stays holy. The Grabowski’s spoke of the differing characteristics of marriage, such as the institution being one that is “kingly” and “prophetic.”
One of the more standout moments was their devotion to the topic of vocations. The Grabowski’s reminded the crowd that everyone has a vocation, and that the word vocation is not synonymous with the choice to live as a monk or a nun. Speaking of marriage and the single life as a vocation, the Grabowski’s claimed it was a way to reinvigorate the religious purpose of marriage within the greater context of the call to holiness.
“When I visit my son and see how much he loves his wife, it really brings me joy to see that the seeds we planted are flourishing,” said Clare Grabowski. “Whatever vocation my other four children choose, I know that they will be able to fulfill it and serve.”
John Grabowski also spoke on the troubles faced by the institution of Christian marriage. Grabowski named such topics as pornography, gender identity confusion, and the “hook-up culture” as social trends which endanger marriage.
“[It’s] the individualism, the idea that’s out there in our culture that we don’t need each other, we don’t need the community,” said Grabowski on the root cause for all of these theologically social ills.
The Grabowski’s theology imbued talk and their more formalized style of presentation made the night feel more like a theology class than a casual evening of ministry. However, for those who wished for a night full of theological takeaways, the Grabowski’s earnest speech met their needs.