Christendom College

Sen. Rick Santorum, Scott Hahn & Others Speak on Marriage & Family at Christendom Conference

July 17, 2017

Christendom College welcomed prominent speakers and hundreds of attendees for a one-day conference titled “Restoring the Divine Plan for Marriage & The Family” on its Front Royal, Virginia, campus on July 8. The one-day conference was well-received by the attendees, who learned, laughed, and cried during talks from Senator Rick Santorum, Dr. Scott Hahn, Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Mary Beth Bonacci, and Mary Stanford.

Author, historian, and theologian Dr. Timothy O’Donnell began the conference with a talk titled “The Joy of Love: The Family as Domestic Church.” During his talk, he explained how the fight for our culture is rooted in our understanding of the family.

Christendom College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell.

“The key to the Church’s teaching on marriage and family and its role in society lies in the family’s identity as a Church in miniature: a place of prayer, a place of communion, a place where virtue is taught,” said O’Donnell. “If we as a Church–as laity, as married couples, as grandparents–don’t emphasize the centrality of the sacrament of marriage, who is going to do it?”

Dr. Scott Hahn, the bestselling author of numerous books, presented a talk titled “Holy Fathers: Divine and Human,” discussing the uniquely-Christian understanding of God as Father, “from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph. 3:15). He explained the connection between Divine and human fatherhood, emphasizing that true fatherhood is “more theological than biological.”

Dr. Scott Hahn.

“Why are we here?” Hahn questioned the audience. “To raise Godly families. But we can’t do it apart from the Trinity. Our fatherhood is a participation in God’s, but His Fatherhood alone is perfect and eternal. And this is God’s truest identity.”

Following Mass celebrated by the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, acclaimed speaker and Theology of the Body expert Mary Stanford presented a talk titled “Wiser than Human Wisdom: God’s Plan for Marriage.” She reflected on four points which Adam, the first man, discovered in the Garden of Eden about the nature of the human person and God’s plan for marriage.

Professor Mary Stanford.

“Without a generous giver and trusting receiver, there can be no gift,” said Stanford. “Without gift, there can be no love. And without an environment of love, human persons start to lose their humanity. Our capacity to experience intimacy in our marriages involves restoring a gift-giving dynamic, which yields a peace and a happiness utterly beyond the devil’s imagination.”

Senator Rick Santorum, a world-recognized politician and former presidential candidate, gave the touching account of his daughter, Bella, showing the impact that one child can have on a community and the blessings that come with being a parent.

Senator Rick Santorum.

“I hope, in communicating to you the story of my life, the journey of my marriage, and what I’ve done in raising these two children in particular, to show how they had a profound effect on me and my family, and subsequently on many more as a result of that,” said Santorum.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone gave the penultimate talk of the conference, speaking from his own experiences in the increasingly liberal city of San Francisco. In his talk, titled “A Vibrant Marriage Culture: The Not-So-Secret Weapon in the Fight for a Just and Prosperous Society,” he encouraged the laity to transform our culture by living out God’s plan for marriage.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

“It is no surprise that, yes, we do have a lot to fix in our society,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “A society of justice, peace, and prosperity for all–these are the fruits of a society with a strong culture of marriage and the family. So let us steel ourselves, with the help of God’s grace, to bear witness to the Truth, in love.”

Closing the conference, Mary Beth Bonacci, an internationally recognized speaker, gave a talk titled “Love Trumps Everything,” speaking on the importance of true love and the differences between how men and women express love.

Mary Beth Bonacci.

“The abuse of the word ‘love’ has grown so much worse,” said Bonacci. “We conflate attraction and desire with love, and now, we conflate agreement with love, and conversely, disagreement with hate. We urgently need to figure out what real love it, what it means, how we live it in our lives.”

Audio and video of these lectures, as well as a “Q & A” session held at the close of the conference, are available for download at media.christendom.edu.

Simple Share Buttons
Simple Share Buttons