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The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order
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The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order


Emmaus Road 2018

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Gathering Interest


Everyone seems to agree that Western Civilization is in trouble. The problem is that no one agrees on what has gone wrong or what to do about it. Some think we have too much government, some not enough; some think we have too much capitalism, some not enough; some think we have too much sexual freedom, some not enough. But what if the problem is much more fundamental? What if the problem goes to the very foundations of who we are as human beings in relationship with God?

In The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order, Scott Hahn makes the startling claim that our society’s ills and its cures are rooted in whether we reject or accept the divine graces made available through the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

Man, he argues, is social in his very nature. We were created for community. As it was in the beginning, so it remains today. The family, formed through the Sacrament of Matrimony, is the most basic building block of every society—whether we like it or not. We’ve corrupted marriage, and so we have a corrupt society. If we get marriage right, our society, through God’s grace, will flourish.

This is so because Matrimony, like all the sacraments, heals and elevates human nature. Without marriage, our ambitions toward a just social order will remain forever foolhardy. With it, the seemingly impossible, a truly peaceful and humane civilization, becomes possible.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by a world-class set of research and study tools. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Argues that Matrimony, like all the sacraments, heals and elevates human nature
  • Presents a theological framework for solving societal challenges grounded in the family
  • Lays out a blueprint for vibrant social community grounded in the most basic and important of social relationships


  • No Nostalgia
  • The First Society
  • A Marriage-Haunted Society
  • Marriage Is Impossible
  • The Perfect Marriage
  • A Tumultuous History
  • The Catholic Social Vision
  • Sex and the Common Good
  • Apocalypse and Society
  • The Personal Battle
  • Redeeming Marriage through Sacrament
  • Grace Perfects Nature
  • The Church's Unique Position
  • A Sacramental Society
  • Conclusion: Beyond Reach?

Praise for the Print Edition

Western society is deeply affected, indeed wounded, by sin, by rebellion against God and His plan for our eternal happiness. The most deadly wound has been inflicted by the ferocious attack on the fundamental truth of marriage, which seeks to obscure and sully the sublime beauty of the married state as God intended it from the Creation. Today we must be ready to suffer, as Christians have suffered down the ages, to honor and foster Holy Matrimony. Indeed, as Scott Hahn shows in his inspiring and challenging work, only a society radically obedient, through cooperation with sacramental grace, to the reign of Our Lord, Christ the King, can truly flourish. A society, formed and animated by sacramental grace, is established and flourishes in the very first society, the family. Such a society, in fact, becomes a reality in Christian families who, by their heroic example, witness to the splendor of the truth about marriage.

—Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Hahn puts forward an exciting—Catholic and catholic—vision of society centered in marriage and family, showing reasonably and forthrightly how we might ‘apply the sacramental logic of the faith to the peculiar circumstances of the twenty-first century while learning from the pitfalls of the past.’

—David L. Schindler, Gagnon Professor of Fundamental Theology, The Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America; Editor, Communio

In The First Society, Scott Hahn delivers the theological insight we’ve come to expect from him. But he also delivers a practical program for defending the family in our hostile secular world. No more confining ourselves to ‘secular’ or ‘scientific’ or ‘natural law’ reasons for our beliefs. While there is nothing wrong with those reasons, they are not enough. We have been leaving our best player, Jesus, on the bench for far too long. Dr Hahn says, ‘Now is the time to speak Catholic truth with clarity and boldness.’ I completely agree. Marriage defenders: read this book and follow its counsels!

—Jennifer Roback Morse, PhD, founder and president of The Ruth Institute

Product Details

About Scott Hahn

Scott Hahn is the bestselling author of over forty titles, including The Lamb’s Supper and The Fourth Cup. He holds the Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and New Evangelization at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990. As founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, he is editor-in-chief of Emmaus Road Publishing. He also serves as the McEssy Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biblical Theology at Mundelein Seminary. Dr. Hahn has six children and fifteen grandchildren.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition