PERSPECTIVErnThe Sacraments of Anti-Christrnby Thomas FlemingrnCC said a French actress of the ARepubhean marriage,”rn18th century, “is the sacrament of adultery.” This bonrnmot is recorded by Sir Walter Scott in the description of thernFrench Revolution with which he begins his Life of Napoleon.rnIn passing the first no-fault divorce law in Christendom, hernconcludes, the Jacobinsrnhad reduced the union of marriage, the most sacred engagementrnwhich human beings can form, and the permanencernof which leads most strongly to the consolidationrnof society, to the state of a mere civil contract of arntransitory character, which any two persons might engagernin, and cast loose at pleasure, when their taste wasrnchanged, or their appetite gratified. If fiends had set outrnto discover the most efficient way of destroying whateverrnis venerable, graceful, or permanent in domestic life, andrnof obtaining at the same time an assurance that the mischiefrnwhich it was their object to create should be perpetuatedrnfrom one generation to another, they could notrnhave invented a more effectual plan than the degradationrnof marriage into a state of mere occasional cohabitation,rnor licensed concubinage.rnThe desecration was accomplished in September 1792,rnwhen the solemn Christian sacrament of marriage was replacedrnwith a civil service consisting of a few formalities concludingrnwith, “You are married.” In principle, at least, the Catholicrnmarriage had been an indissoluble union, although it had takenrnthe French Church nearly a millennium to civilize thernFranks on this point. Under the new law, divorce was as easy asrnmarriage, and for this new anti-sacrament, the procureur ofrnParis gave a little sermon to divorcing couples: “Young peoplernwhom a tender engagement had already united, the torches ofrnHymen are lit again for you on the altars of liberty; marriage isrnno longer a yoke, a heavy chain; it is no more than what it oughtrnto be—the fulfilling of Nature’s grand designs, the payment ofrna pleasant debt which every citizen owes the Patrie.”rnChildren were also a debt to the Patrie, according to thernFrench Republic’s pro-natalist propaganda, and in the juvenilernliterature and republican catechisms of the day, children werernto describe themselves as children of the Patrie. According tornSt. Just, children belong to their mothers until the age of five,rnafter that to the Republic until they die; actual progress on thernnationalization of childrearing reforms was modest. The crisesrnof wars, foreign and civil, and the disruptions of revolution preventedrnthe Jacobins from doing anything beyond establishing arnrudimentary state system of public schools, although some ofrnthem, at least, must have sympathized with the suggestion,rnmade by the Societe Populaire des Cultivateurs of Ecully, thatrnpolitical suspects (in practice anyone who might have a reasonrnfor opposing the regime) be deprived of the right to rear theirrnown children.rnMarriage and the rearing of children are natural activitiesrnand subject to natural duties. Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Chinesern—all civilized people—have acknowledged the responsibilitiesrnentailed by the biological ties. Christians have gone fur-rn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn