Catholics and marriage
Rick.Garnett.4 at ND.EDU
Tue Oct 19 15:31:33 PDT 1999
Not to wander too far afield, but Professor Dwyer questions whether the
Catholic Church celebrates marriage per se, or only as a means to an end.
I think the answer is closer to the former:
"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between
themselves a *partnership of the whole of life,* is by its nature ordered
*toward the good of the good of the spouses* and the procreation and
education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been
raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament." Catechism of the
Catholic Church, Sec. 1601.
"The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church.
It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which
Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the
human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and
sanctifies them on the way to eternal life." Sec. 1661.
Marriage being a sacrament -- a visible sign of (Catholics believe) God's
saving grace -- it seems fair to say that marriage is celebrated per se.
One of the essential characteristics of Christian marriage (for Catholics)
is "openness to fruitfulness" (along with unity and indissolubility), but
it does not follow from this, it seems to me, that marriage is celebrated
only as a means toward attaining this one of its features.
For what it's worth.
At 12:41 PM 10/19/99 -0600, you wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rick Duncan [SMTP:keaggy at EXCITE.COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 11:03 AM
> To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
> Subject: Sesame Street
> * * * When I think about Ricky and Lucy I don't think about them
> anal sex (although I suppose they might). I think about their
> complementarity, about their love expressing itself as part of the
> that brought them the miracle of Little Ricky. In this regard, Ricky
> Fred are nothing like Ricky and Lucy, because anal sex is in no way
> to sex of the procreative kind.
>I ask my family law students each year why there should be any legal or
>economic benefits conferred on married people who do not have children, and
>I've never received a good answer. Rick, do you think there is any reason
>why the state should celebrate marriage per se? Correct me if I'm wrong,
>but I don't think the Catholic Church traditionally has done so; rather, it
>celebrates marriage as a means to the desired end of procreation, and in
>fact traditionally has frowned on married people having sex without the
>intention of procreating. Married people who chose not to have children
>were scorned, and inability to procreate was grounds for anullment by the
>Church. Should we, then, eliminate state-conferred benefits for childless
>unions altogether, and confer benefits only when couples become parents?
>There are clear reasons for the state supporting parents, but a childless
>couple has a weaker claim, in terms of financial need, than single persons.
>If there is some reason to celebrate and reward marriage per se, independent
>of the expectation of procreation, does it serve to distinguish heterosexual
>from homosexual unions? And I would ask Andy a similar question; is there
>some reason to give health and other benefits to gay partners who are not
>raising children? Or is the case for ensuring health care in that context
>indistinguishable from the case for simply ensuring health care for every
>member of society?
>Professor Jim Dwyer
>University of Wyoming College of Law
>P.O. Box 3035
>Laramie, Wyoming 82071-3035
>jdwyer at uwyo.edu
Richard W. Garnett
Notre Dame Law School
Notre Dame, IN 46556
garnett.4 at nd.edu
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