Chapter 8: The Sixth and Ninth Commandments. OUR MORAL LIFE IN CHRIST. 1. Marriage and Creation (pp. 204–207). ANTICIPATORY SET Opening Prayer on an excerpt from Liturgikon (Rite of Marriage).
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OUR MORAL LIFE IN CHRIST
Opening Prayer on an excerpt from Liturgikon (Rite of Marriage).
According to our text, “Many in the time of Christ felt it was impossible for a man and woman to be truly united in a permanent bond of marriage.”
Reflect on this statement in writing using the following questions:
❏ Would many agree that it is also impossible today for a man and woman to be truly united in a permanent bond of marriage?
❏ Whether or not it is possible, do you wish it to be possible for your family?
❏ Into what kind of marriage bond do you think your own children will want to be born?
❏ Why did God create each human person as either male or female?
❏ What did Christ do for marriage?
❏ What is chastity?
❏ God made man male and female and created lifelong, exclusive, and loving marriage as the way to bring new human persons into the world.
❏ Christ restored marriage to its original meaning, ruling out divorce, which Moses had permitted.
❏ Chastity is the virtue of living human sexuality according to God’s plan.
❏ How is human sexuality different from that of animals?
In animals, sexuality is a matter of instinct, whereas the human person can control his or her sexuality and direct it to higher ends.
❏ What should be the proper nature of the marital act?
A personal and loving “meeting” between husband and wife is proper, which reaffirms their total dedication to each other.
❏ What is the fundamental truth that governs every moral question involving marriage and sexuality?
Every sexual act or expression must fully respect both the unitive and procreative aspects of human sexuality.
❏ What is the conjugal act (or marital act)?
It is sexual intercourse. It is called conjugal or marital because marriage is the only proper setting for it.
Our text states that the Sixth and Ninth Commandments teach, “Human sexuality can only find its true meaning and full expression within the inner sanctum of marriage” (p. 205).
A think / pair / write / share on the following question:
❏ How would you reply to someone who said, “I don’t mind if my sexual activity isn’t as meaningful or fully expressed as the Church says it should be; I’ll settle for it the way it is”?
❏ What is the matrimonial covenant?
It is an agreement that a man and woman make to become lifelong partners.
❏ What does the expression “by its nature ordered to” mean in relation to the marriage covenant?
It means that God created the very structure of marriage. In this case, God made the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children essential purposes of marriage.
❏ What is the relationship between natural and sacramental marriage?
Christ took marriage, a natural human institution, and made it a source of supernatural life and grace.
❏ What are important reasons for voluntarily and freely renouncing marriage?
One may take care of one’s family or give oneself to God in religious life, the priesthood, or the apostolate of the faithful.
❏ Where does sex belong according to God’s plan?
It belongs only in marriage.
❏ How does sexual intercourse make man and woman co‑creators with God?
God has designed the marital act so that the man, the woman, and God are all necessary in order to bring a new human being into the world.
❏ Why is chastity a joyful affirmation?
Something very good comes from purity of heart: the ability to see both God and the dignity of every person.
A think / pair / share on the following question:
❏ What is the focus of this chapter, and what are the three headings under which this idea will be developed?
Write a paragraph that describes God’s plan for marriage based on the truths revealed about the human person in Genesis.
❏ Study Questions 1–3 (p. 230)
❏ Workbook Questions 1–5
❏ Read “Purposes of Marriage” through “Theology of the Body” (pp. 207–211)
Free write on the following question:
❏ Of the six truths about marriage found in Genesis, which one do you find the most attractive, and why?
Opening Prayer based on a letter from Tertullian (AD 160-225) to his wife on marriage.
❏ What is the unitive aspect of sexuality? What is the procreative aspect of sexuality?
❏ What are the two essential properties of marriage?
❏ What does the marital act communicate according to the theology of the body?
❏ The unitive aspect of sexuality is the expression of complementary love between a husband and wife that renews their marital covenant. The procreative aspect of sexuality is the begetting of new life in cooperation with God, who infuses a unique human soul.
❏ Matrimony is characterized by two essential properties: exclusivity and indissolubility.
❏ Since man and woman possess body and soul, the physical union must always mirror the spiritual union expressed in the faithful and total commitment of the marital covenant.
❏ What does the complementarity of man and woman mean?
It means that, by God’s design, man and woman, in both their differences and similarities, help to complete and perfect each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
❏ Why does complementarity, an inherent requirement of marriage, rule out marriage between persons of the same gender?
Complementarity cannot exist between two persons of the same gender.
MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
Complete the following graphic to organize your knowledge on the three “approaches” to marriage and sexuality.
❏ What is the ideal in the marital act?
It is when the physical, emotional, and psychological pleasure, which is experienced in the marital act, are united to the love, affection, and sacrifice that each spouse gives to the other.
❏ How is the marital act debased?
It is debased when it becomes an act of self‑gratification.
❏ Biologically, what is the purpose of the sex organs?
It is human reproduction.
❏ How does human reproduction go beyond that of the animal world?
Because man and woman have intellect, will, and self‑awareness, they can give expression to their love and willingly cooperate with God in creating new persons.
❏ What is the logical link between conjugal love, the begetting of children, and their education?
The conjugal act can beget a child. That child then needs to be cared for and educated over a long period of time.
❏ How does the Church view large families?
Large families are signs of God’s blessing and the generosity of the parents.
Write on the following question, and then share responses:
❏ How is the union between husband and wife reflective of the union between Christ and the Church?
Gaudium et Spessays children “contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents.”
Work with a partner to come up with a list of ways in which children benefit their parents.
A think / pair / share:
❏ What do the terms unitive and procreative mean in relation to the marriage act?
Sex seems to be all about pleasure and joy, yet the text states, “For marital relations to maintain their true meaning, a habitual spirit of loving sacrifice must be continually present” (p. 211).
Work with a partner to explain this apparent paradox of pleasure and sacrifice.
❏ What are the two properties of marriage?
They are exclusivity and indissolubility.
❏ Why is marriage exclusive?
Because marriage is a total self‑giving of one spouse to the other, there is no room for someone to give himself or herself to another person.
❏ How do adultery and polygamy violate the exclusivity of marriage?
Adultery is giving what belongs only to one’s spouse to another person who is not one’s spouse. Polygamy gives to a supposed second (or third or fourth) wife what belongs only to the first wife. It is the unjust giving of what is due to one person to another person.
Work with a partner to complete the following exercise:
❏ Explain in your own words how using the human body for self‑centered sensual gratification is a sacrilege.
Write a paragraph explaining as simply as you can the twofold aspect of human sexuality.
❏ Study Questions 4–13 (p. 230)
❏ Practical Exercises 1–2 (p. 232)
❏ Workbook Questions 6–18
❏ Read “Sins Against Marriage” through “Sins against the Integrity and Dignity of the Conjugal Act and Against the Dignity of the Child,” including the sidebar “Working with God: Natural Family Planning” (pp. 211–217)
Write a precise explanation of how polygamy violates one of the essential characteristics of marriage.
Then discuss other reasons women suffer when men practice polygamy.
Do a focused reading of the paragraph beginning, “Any act that directly violates the marriage covenant...” (p. 211) using the following question:
❏ How can an act violate the marriage covenant and become a grave sin?
❏ What are the primary sins against marriage?
❏ How is NFP different from contraception?
❏ What is responsible parenthood?
❏ The primary sins against marriage are divorce and adultery.
❏ NFP respects the order of nature God has established, whereas with contraception the couple says “no” to procreation.
❏ Responsible parenthood means, in part, determining family size for serious reasons using moral means.
❏ What is theology of the body?
It is the name given to Pope John Paul II’s teaching on chastity and human sexuality.
❏ What did Pope John Paul II show through his meditation on Genesis?
The beauty of conjugal relations is inherent in the original meaning that God gave to marriage.
❏ What did the Pope show to be a consequence of the dignity of man and woman?
A person must always be given love for his or her own sake and never become an object of use.
❏ What is communiopersonarum?
It means “community of persons” and refers to the union between a man and a woman in marriage.
❏ How is the union between husband and wife a reflection of the Blessed Trinity?
The communiopersonarumthat Adam and Eve formed, and that each husband and wife forms, reflects the community of Persons that constitutes the Blessed Trinity.
❏ What quality makes it possible for marital relations to maintain their true meaning?
Sacrificial love and a spirit of service make it possible.
Complete the following graphic to organize the material on sins against marriage.
❏ What does “language of the body” mean?
It means that the body “speaks” or conveys meaning through its nature and actions.
❏ What does the marital act “speak” in the language of the body?
The marital act “speaks” spousal unity and the commitment of service and love to each other.
❏ Why should there be both a physical and spiritual union of man and woman?
The human person is a union of body and soul.
❏ What must the physical union of husband and wife mirror?
It should mirror the spiritual union of total commitment between the spouses created by the marriage covenant.
❏ Therefore, according to theology of the body, what is the marital act supposed to express?
The bodies of the spouses should express what is present in their hearts and minds.
Work with a partner to break down Supplementary Reading 5 from Humanae Vitae (p. 227), on the meaning of responsible parenthood, into bullet points.
Share responses, and then discuss the following question:
❏ Is the Church saying that Catholic couples are required to have as many children as possible?
❏ Are marital relations during times of natural infertility immoral?
No. In fact, they are good. They are expressions of marital love and renewals of the marriage covenant.
❏ What is the difference between the marital act performed during a period of natural infertility and the marital act performed using contraception?
In the former, the couple is respecting the procreative powers that God has provided them. In the latter, the couple is making themselves infertile.
❏ What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
NFP utilizes knowledge of the fertility cycle inherent in a woman’s biological nature, which allows the couple to abstain from marital relations when a pregnancy likely could occur.
❏ What does NFP permit the couple?
NFP permits the married couple to plan the number and spacing of the children while remaining open to the gift of additional children if God deems otherwise.
❏ Is it wrong to deliberately refrain from the marital act during the time when the wife is likely to be fertile?
No. When used with the proper intentions, the practice of temporary abstinence in marriage can be a gift of self‑sacrifice and can increase the communication and love shared between a husband and a wife.
❏ What are the moral requirements for using NFP?
Each conjugal act must be open to the transmission of life. The decision to use NFP must be made with a conscience informed by the teachings of the Church. There must be a serious reason for determining the number and spacing of the children (e.g., physical and mental health, finances, the legitimate needs of the existing family, etc.).
GUIDED EXERCISE Amini‑lecture on the relationship between contraception and the sexual revolution.
❏ In 1930, the Church of England’s Lambeth Conference permitted the use of contraceptives for married Anglicans. This decision was contrary to 1900 years of Church teaching, whether Catholic or Anglican.
❏ Pope Pius XI wrote CastiConnubiithe same year, reaffirming the traditional Catholic position on contraception.
❏ In his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI addressed the Catholic understanding of the nature of the “marriage act,” that is, sexual intercourse between husband and wife. He reaffirmed the two “ends,” or purposes, of the marriage act. These are the unitive—the physical union of love between husband and wife—and the procreative—the possibility that the act could result in a new human being. Even though these two purposes can be separated, the Pope explained that they should not be separated.
Husband and wife should not say “yes” to the unitive dimension of the marital act while saying “no” to the procreative dimension by using contraception.
❏ Pope Paul VI predicted what would result if the Church’s teaching were not followed:
An increase in premarital sex; in marital infidelity; in the wife becoming a sex object for the husband; in divorce; in abortion; and in governments forcing contraception, sterilization, and abortion on its citizens. All these things, in fact, have come true.
❏ The logic that would allow a married couple to physically separate sex from procreation would also have to allow premarital sex, adultery, homosexual sex, masturbation, and even bestiality. These acts all separate sexual pleasure from procreation.
❏ Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are also immoral as they separate procreation from marital relations.
❏ What is the problem with spouses having very close friends of the opposite sex?
This could lead to temptation or to an “emotional infidelity” that would violate the close friendship owed to one’s spouse.
❏ What is the biggest mistake that a spouse can make in terms of temptation?
Considering oneself invulnerable to temptation.
❏ What are the main sins against the marriage act?
Divorce, adultery, contraception, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization.
❏ What is the level of seriousness of these sins against marriage?
All of them are intrinsically grave.
❏ When is a civil divorce legitimate?
In those cases when a civil divorce is necessary to protect an innocent spouse and children.
❏ In such a case, is the offended spouse free to remarry?
No. In a valid sacramental marriage the marriage bond remains, regardless of the civil divorce.
❏ What is an annulment?
It is a declaration by the Church, after thorough investigation, that a sacramental marriage never existed due to a particular impediment.
A think / pair / write / share on the following question:
❏ According to CCC 2378, why is there no “right” for a person to have a baby?
Write a paragraph summarizing the sins against marriage.
❏ Study Questions 14–27 (p. 230)
❏ Practical Exercises 3–4 (p. 232)
❏ Workbook Questions 19–32
❏ Read “Sins Against Chastity” through “Conclusion,” including the sidebars “How Far Can We Go Before It Is a Sin?” and “The Sex‑Crazed Media and the Christian Response” (pp. 218–225)
Work with a partner to complete Practical Exercise 7 on conditions for using NFP.
It has been said that, when a woman is dressed modestly, a man’s eyes are naturally drawn to her face, especially her eyes. On the other hand, when a woman is dressed immodestly, a man’s eyes are drawn to her body.
This lesson will present a number of practical ways in which a young person can grow in the joyful virtue of purity.
❏ Why is sex outside the marriage act wrong?
❏ What are the basic means of growing in chastity?
❏ How is chastity empowering?
❏ Sex outside marriage is morally wrong because, when it is separated from the Sacrament of Matrimony, it ceases to express its true meaning.
❏ A firm commitment to Christ, fostering a life of piety and Christian virtue, prudent use of the media, modesty in dress, sensible norms for dating, and certain religious practices are the basic means of growing in chastity.
❏ Chastity empowers a person to see the image of God in every human being.
❏ Why is sex outside marriage wrong?
It is not an expression of love but a deceptive misuse of one’s sexuality.
❏ How is extramarital sex wrong in terms of the unitive and procreative purposes of marriage?
It is wrong because one or both purposes are missing.
❏ How is sex outside marriage wrong according to the theology of the body?
In the language of the body, the marital act is a complete union of persons. However, in extramarital sex, lifelong commitment or the proper openness to procreation is absent. For these reasons, sex outside of marriage is a lie because it is the sign of a union that simply does not exist.
❏ Why is a “trial marriage” wrong?
Marriage is by nature designed to be permanent, and a “trial marriage” is temporary.
❏ Why is masturbation wrong?
It has neither a unitive nor procreative purpose.
❏ How serious is masturbation?
It is intrinsically and gravely disordered.
❏ What are some other serious problems to which the practice of masturbation can lead?
It easily becomes an addiction, leading to sexual obsession and a weak character.
❏ How is an addiction to masturbation overcome?
It is overcome through serious effort, frequent reception of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, prayer, penance, and God’s grace.
❏ Why are homosexual actions intrinsically disordered?
They are devoid of both the unitive and procreative dimensions of human sexuality.
❏ Even though fornication and homosexual acts are both gravely sinful, why is one intrinsically disordered and the other is not?
Fornication involves an act that does correspond to human nature because it could result in procreation, whereas homosexual acts have no purpose related to human nature.
❏ Does the cause of same‑sex attraction make the acts themselves excusable?
❏ What does Christian morality ask of homosexual persons?
It asks a life of chastity, just like it does of everyone else.
❏ What are the means of living chastely if one has homosexual inclinations?
Spiritual direction and the Sacraments are necessary.
❏ What should be the attitude toward persons with same‑sex attractions?
Accept such persons with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
A think / pair / share on the following question:
❏ Why are homosexual inclinations objectively disordered but not in themselves sinful?
Work with a partner to complete Practical Exercise 3 on scenarios related to sins against marriage and chastity.
❏ What might the question, “How far can we go?” reveal about the one who asks it?
It betrays a lack of love and generosity, akin to saying, “How badly can I treat my friend before it is wrong?”
❏ What erroneous belief do some teens have about petting, mutual masturbation, and oral sex?
“These actions are not ‘sex’ and, therefore, morally permissible.” This view is incorrect.
❏ What is the general effect of resisting temptation?
The person becomes stronger in the face of all types of temptation.
❏ Are there any circumstances under which premarital sex, or fornication, is permissible?
❏ How can a couple avoid premarital sex?
They can be prudent by avoiding situations, discussions, or actions that may lead to temptation.
❏ How has the emphasis in fashion shifted?
It has gone from an emphasis on elegance, which reinforces the dignity of the person, to a preoccupation with immodesty, which conveys the message that a person is valued by his or her sexual attractiveness.
Review the final three paragraphs of the section, “How Far Can We Go...” (p. 222).
❏ Is Christ or his Church demanding the impossible, following a false puritanical standard, or just plain wrong in forbidding any deliberate sexual thought, desire, or action outside marriage?
❏ What are the common sins against chastity?
They are impure thoughts and desires, masturbation, premarital sex, oral or anal intercourse, homosexual acts, and bestiality.
❏ How common are temptations to impure thoughts and desires?
They are very common, especially for young persons.
❏ When do temptations to impure thoughts and desires become sins?
When a person consents to them.
❏ What are some near occasions of sin in regard to impure thoughts and desires?
Sexually provocative actions, words, and images.
❏ What is meant by guarding your eyes or mind?
Guarding one’s eyes means not looking at something offensive once he or she becomes aware of it. Guarding one’s thoughts means not to dwell on thoughts, desires, or images that have entered the mind and, instead, to occupy one’s mind with something else.
❏ What effect will giving our hearts and minds to Christ and his teachings have on temptations?
We will more resolutely reject temptations and conform our actions to God’s will.
Write a bullet point summary of the various spiritual means of embracing chastity.
Have the students write a bullet point summary of the various reasons exclusive dating is not a good idea before one is ready for marriage.
❏ What does the human heart desire, and what do many young people experience?
Chastity is a joyful and liberating virtue.
❏ What will chastity give a young person?
It gives greater freedom to love others in sacrificial service, an inclination to a deep relationship with Christ, and the ability to contemplate God’s goodness and beauty in every person.
❏ What are the means for growing in chastity?
They are a firm commitment to Christ, fostering a life of piety and Christian virtue, prudent use of the media, modesty in dress, sensible norms for dating, and certain spiritual practices.
❏ What is the first step necessary for a Christian young person to live chastity?
He or she needs a firm commitment to follow Christ.
❏ What are the usual causes of difficulties in living chastely?
There are no inherently difficult challenges but rather bad habits, a weak commitment, and a lack of love.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation research study done in 2005,
seventy percent of all television shows have sexual content, up from 56% in the first study in 1998 and 64% in 2002.
Over two‑thirds (68%) of all shows include talk about sex, and 35% of all shows include sexual behaviors.
The proportion of shows with sexual content in prime‑time on the major broadcast networks has also increased.
Nearly eight in ten such shows (77%) include sexual content, compared to 67% in 1998 and 71% in 2002. (from www.kff.org/entmedia/7399.cfm.)
Why does television has so much sexual content and what effect is this likely to have on children and teenagers?
❏ What did Christ mean by “plucking out your eye” if it causes you temptation?
He meant we must aggressively rid ourselves of all that would lead us to sin.
❏ Can we overcome temptation if we want?
Yes. God will always give us the grace to overcome temptations, avoid occasions of sin, and grow in virtue.
❏ Why is it important to use the media prudently?
The media can bring immoral images into our imaginations through our senses. Therefore, we must be vigilant in protecting our eyes and minds from all temptations.
Work on your own to create a bullet‑point summary of the sidebar “The Sex‑Crazed Media and the Christian Response.”
❏ Study Questions 28–41 (p. 231)
❏ Practical Exercises 5–8 (pp. 232–233)
❏ Workbook Questions 33–43
A class discussion on Practical Exercise 5, Katie’s dating dilemma.
Discuss why this situation is a good illustration of why exclusive dating is not a good idea when there is no prospect of imminent marriage.