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CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE. BACKGROUNDS AND PERSPECTIVES IN VARIED SETTINGS. . Material adapted in part from: John, R. Witte, Jr. From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997. THE MARRIAGE DECISION.

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CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE

BACKGROUNDS

AND

PERSPECTIVES

IN

VARIED SETTINGS


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.

Material adapted in part from:

John, R. Witte, Jr.

From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition.

Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997


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THE MARRIAGE DECISION

GOOD DECISIONS REQUIRE

BOTH INFORMATION AND FORMATION

WHAT AND HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW?

WHO IS YOUR GURU?


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THE MARRIAGE DECISION

WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA?

“A.M.D.G” ---Ignatius of Loyola

(“For the greater glory of God.”)

“Few people realize how much you have to know in order to realize how little you know.”

--Fr. Walter Ong, S.J.


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MODELS OF MARRIAGE

Catholic Sacramental

Lutheran Social Estate

Calvinist Covenantal

Anglican Commonwealth

Enlightenment Contract


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MODELS OF MARRIAGE

INTERACTIVE FACTORS

  • THEOLOGICAL

  • POLITICAL

  • LEGAL

  • HISTORICAL

  • SOCIAL/CULTURAL

  • PSYCHOLOGICAL

  • ECONOMIC

  • GENERATIONAL


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DIMENSIONS OF MARRIAGE IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY

  • RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVE: SACRAMENTAL /SPIRITUAL ROLE IN CHURCH COMMUNITY

  • SOCIAL PERSPECTIVE: ROLE IN WORLDLY COMMUNITY LIFE AND LIVELIHOOD

  • CONTRACTUAL PERSPECTIVE: VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATION SUBJECT TO THE COUPLE AND THEIR PREFERENCES FOR THEIR HOUSEHOLD

  • NATURAL PERSPECTIVE: SHAPED BY THE LAWS OF NATURE


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ANCIENT JEWISH TRADITION

  • TRIBAL SOCIETY: WHERE DOES ONE FIT? (not individualistic)

  • MEMBERSHIP IN THE COVENANT PEOPLE- RELATIONSHIPS AND DUTIES (Jewish mother as birth certificate)

  • LAND DISTRIBUTION AND OWNERSHIP

  • LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD-TEMPLE SACRIFICE


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STAKEHOLDERS IN MARRIAGE

  • STATE

  • LOCAL COMMUNITY

  • NEIGHBORS

  • COUPLE

  • FAMILY

  • CHILDREN


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TWO MILLENNIA OF CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE

“ It might be instructive to note that family crises on a comparable scale to those we face today have been faced before….Sexual pathos was prominent at the opening of the second millennium with widespread concubinage, prostitution, voyeurism, polygamy, adultery, fornication, sodomy, wife and child abuse, teenage pregnancy, abortion…[and it]…has returned with equal pungency at the close of this second millennium.” John Witte.


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CATHOLIC SACRAMENTAL MODEL

EASTERN (GREEK) APPROACH:

MYSTERION: a revelatory event of encounter and meaning that draws one deeper into communion with God and humans.

(Cf. Paul Eph 5; “Divine Mysteries”)

WESTERN (LATIN) APPROACH:

SACRAMENTUM: an “outward” (sensible) sign of an oath or pledge one has taken that signifies one’s duty or commitment.

(NB: military brand; Tertullian)


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CATHOLIC SACRAMENTAL MODELWESTERN (LATIN) CHRISTIANITY

  • 12TH AND 13TH CENTURIES: Synthesized varied teachings from the past in terms of three themes--

  • NATURAL: “Be fruitful and multiply” plus a remedy for lust/sin

  • CONTRACTUAL: Mutual Consent of Parties in lifelong relation of love, service, mutual duty

  • SACRAMENTAL: The earthly union of the couple symbolized the eternal union of Christ and his Church (Eph 5/21 ff.)


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FORMULATIONS OF CANON LAW

  • CHURCH COURTS GOVERNED MARRIAGE FROM 12TH CENTURY ON

  • SYSTEMIZED BY COUNCIL OF TRENT (1563)

  • PROSCRIBED CONTRACEPTION AND ABORTION

  • PROSCRIBED INCEST, POLYGAMY, BESTIALITY, SODOMY


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FORMULATIONS OF CANON LAW

  • ENSURED VOLUNTARY CONSENT

  • ANNULLMENT OF MARRIAGES MADE BY MISTAKE, DURESS, FRAUD, COERCION

  • GRANTED HUSBAND AND WIFE EQUAL CONJUGAL RIGHTS

  • PROTECTED INDISSOLUBILITY OF BONDS

  • DISSOLVED INVALID BONDS


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THE ‘RELIGIOUS’ ALTERNATIVE

  • A HIGHER CALLING TO ‘RELIGIOUS’ LIFE OF VOWED CELIBACY

  • CHURCH OFFICE OPEN ONLY TO VOWED CELIBATES

  • POVERTY: Renunciation of booty rights

  • CHASTITY: Renunciation of inheritance rights

  • OBEDIENCE: Transfer of fealty to church vs. family (father or oldest brother)


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WHERE DID THIS COME FROM?

THE GOSPELS

  • JESUS WAS CELIBATE

  • HIS MOTHER WAS A VIRGIN


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THE GOSPELS

THE AMBIGUITY:

  • The first of Jesus signs—The Wedding at Cana

  • The Kingdom of God is like a wedding feast (Mt 22)

  • The children of this world marry and are given in marriage, are born and have their own children; but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world …do not marry nor are they given in marriage (Luke 20)


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THE EPISTLES

  • “I arranged for you to marry Christ so that I might give you away as a chaste virgin to this one husband” (2 Cor 11:2)

  • “There is something I want to add for the sake of widows and those who are not married: It is a good thing for them to stay as they are, like me, but if they cannot control the sexual urges, they should get married, for it is better to than to be tortured.” (1 Cor 7:8)


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THE EPISTLES

  • “The man who sees (to it) that his daughter is married has done a good thing, but the man who keeps his daughter unmarried has done something even better.” (1 Cor 7:38)

  • “False teachers say that marriage is forbidden.” (1 Tim 4:3)

  • “Marriage is to honored by all, and marriages are to be kept undefiled.” (Heb 13:4)


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THE EPISTLES

  • “’For this reason a man shall leave father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This is a great mysterion, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. Each one of you should love his wife as himself and the wife should love her husband.” (Eph 5:31-32)

  • “Happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” (Rev 19:9)


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AUGUSTINE

THE CITY OF GOD

(AD 410, the same year Rome was sacked by the Visigoths)

  • The city of man is full of violence, death and destruction. (The natural world)

  • The city of God (The kingdom of God), is a place of peace, life and creation.

    (The spiritual world.)


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SECOND HALF OF FIRST MILLENNIUM

  • BARBARIAN INVASIONS AND FALL OF ROMAN CIVILIZATION

  • RISE OF FEUDALISM

  • SPREAD OF MONASTICISM---

  • RISE OF CITIES

  • ASSERTION OF CHURCH CONTROL OF MARRIAGE FOR COMPLEX OF REASONS

  • TROUBADORS AND COURTLY LOVE

  • INDIVIDUALISM AND COMMERCE


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FIRST HALF OF SECOND MILLENNIUM

  • Black Death

  • Printing Press

  • Clerical and monastic marriages

  • Adultery

  • Concubinage

  • Prostitution

  • Secret Marriages (Romeo and Juliet)

  • Political Machinations (Machiavelli)


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CATHOLIC SACRAMENTAL

  • Coalesces in mid-twelfth century

  • Three-fold Character:

    • NATURAL ASSOCIATION-

      • created by God to enable humans to “be fruitful and multiply”

      • To raise children in service and love of God

      • A remedy for lust

      • A channel to direct one’s service to community and church


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CATHOLIC SACRAMENTAL

2. CONTRACTUAL UNIT

  • Formed by mutual consent of the parties

  • Life-long relationship of love, service, devotion

  • Prescribed marital and parental duties


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CATHOLIC SACRAMENTAL

  • SACRAMENTAL REALITY-

    • Symbolized the eternal union of Christ and his Church

    • Sanctified the couple, the church and the community

    • Remedy for lust and sin

    • Considered less commendable than celibate life

    • Hence, not open to clergy and religious


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LUTHERAN SOCIAL ESTATE

  • Martin Luther: German Augustinian Monk

  • Concerned about power and its abuse

  • Doctrine of Two Kingdoms:

    • Earthly Kingdom based in creation and nature

    • Heavenly Kingdom based in revelation, grace and redemption

      (Took hold in Germany, Scandinavia)


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LUTHERAN SOCIAL ESTATE

MARRIAGE IS—

  • Divinely ordained in creation

  • Useful for earthly human purposes (nature)

  • Restrains sex

  • Enhances public virtue

  • Raises awareness of sin


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LUTHERAN SOCIAL ESTATE

MARRIAGE IS—

  • NOT SACRAMENTAL

  • CHURCH HAS NO JURISDICTION

  • SUBJECT TO THE STATE, CIVIL LAW &COURTS

  • CHURCH CAN COUNSEL MARRIED PERSONS TO BE GOOD CITIZENS


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LUTHERAN SOCIAL ESTATE

THIS MODEL—

  • REJECTED CLERICAL CELIBACY

  • REJECTED ANNULMENTS DUE TO VOWS

  • IS STRICTLY BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES

  • DIVORCE ALLOWED FOR CAUSE

  • MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE ARE PUBLIC

  • REQUIRED PARENTAL CONSENT, WITNESSES, CHURCH REGISTRATION, INSTRUCTION


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CALVINIST COVENANTAL

  • Swiss Reformer John Calvin

  • Took much from Luther but recast it

  • MARRIAGE IS--

    a covenantal association within the community

  • THREE PARTIES: 1.GOD (as witness & judge)

    2. HUSBAND

    3. WIFE


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CALVINIST COVENANTAL

  • Life-long because God is a covenant partner

  • Parents’ Consent as God’s reps for children

  • Two witnesses from the community

  • Minister- Power of the Word of God

  • Civil Magistrate- Temporal Power of Sword


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CALVINIST COVENANTAL

  • In creation God established the law of Marriage

  • Two Sets of Norms Govern:

    • CIVIL- duties for all persons; state enforces

    • SPIRITUAL- duties for Christians; church persuades

    • In Geneva, administered by joint committee

    • Hence, spiritual as well as earthly (natural)


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CALVINIST COVENANTAL

  • SINCE CHURCH, STATE AND COMMUNITY ALL HAD A STAKE—

  • THEY CO-OPERATE TO ENSURE

    • FITNESS OF THOSE SEEKING TO MARRY

    • RIGHT CONDUCT IN MARRIAGES, FAMILIES

      Huguenot, Pietist, Puritan, Presbyterian

      Great Britain and U.S.


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ANGLICAN COMMONWEALTH

  • VIA MEDIA ANGLICANA

  • Embraced elements of Sacramental (Catholic), Social Estate (Lutheran) and Covenantal(Calvinist)

  • MARRIAGE IS—

    • A symbol of divine life

    • A social unit of the earthly kingdom

    • A solemn covenant between the partners


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ANGLICAN COMMONWEALTH

  • MARRIAGE SERVES THE COMMON GOOD OF

    • THE COUPLE

    • THE CHILDREN

    • THE CHURCH

    • THE STATE (The Realm, the King & Commonwealth)


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ANGLICAN COMMONWEALTH

MARRIAGE IS ESTABLISHED BY GOD AS A

“LITTLE COMMONWEALTH” THAT MODELS

THE “GREAT COMMONWEALTH”—

  • Respects Traditional Hierarchies

    Husband Parent Church King(State)

    Wife Child Household Church


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ANGLICAN COMMONWEALTH

  • Restored much of Catholic Canon Law

  • Stressed Parallel Duties for Well-Ordered World (Britain and English Colonies)

  • No Dissolution of Commonwealth, therefore no divorce (Henry VIII not withstanding—the King was subject to the State)

  • Gradually accommodated democracy, shifting toward equality, voluntary consent, rights of individuals


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ENLIGHTENMENT CONTRACT

PROPOSED IN 18TH CENTURY

ELABORATED IN THE 19TH CENTURY

IMPLEMENTED IN 20TH CENTURY

(ESPECIALLY IN US, ENGLAND)


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ENLIGHTENMENT CONTRACT

MARRIAGE IS—

a voluntary, essentially private, bargain struck between two parties who want an intimate association


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ENLIGHTENMENT CONTRACT

MARRIAGE IS—

  • NOT SET BY GOD, NATURE, STATE, CHURCH, TRADITION OR COMMUNITY

  • THE PARTIES THEMSELVES SET THE TERMS

  • ACCORDING TO LEGAL NORMS that respect the life, liberty, property, interests of others

    (NB: John Locke-”Social Contract”)


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ENLIGHTENMENT CONTRACT

PROPONTENTS URGE—

  • ABOLITION OF PARENTAL CONSENT

  • ABOLITION OF CHURCH CONSECRATION

  • ABOLITION OF FORMAL WITNESSES

  • NO GENDER/SEX DISCRIMINATION


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ENLIGHTENMENT CONTRACT

PROPONENTS URGE—

  • ABSOLUTE EQUALITY IN PROPERTY RIGHTS

  • ABSOLUTE EQUALITY IN CONTRACTS AND COMMERCE

  • ABSOLUTE EQUALITY IN WORKPLACE


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ENLIGHTENMENT CONTRACT

PROPONENTS URGE—

  • STATE JURISDICTION OVER DIVORCE AND ANNULLMENT

  • STATE JURISDICATION OVER CARE AND WELFARE OF CHILDREN

  • CHILDREN INCIDENTAL TO MARRIAGE

  • RECOURSE TO STATE BY DISTRESSED PARTIES

  • STATE SANCTION FOR MARITAL PROBLEMS


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MODELSOFMARRIAGE

“WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET” (HEAD)

WHEN YOU THINK OR TALK ABOUT MARRIAGE?

WHEN YOU HEAR PEOPLE USE THE WORD “MARRIAGE”, WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?


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