September 22, 2012
Marriage Is Not A Game
Catechism Readings: Paragraphs 2331 - 2400
The Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.
This chapter explores the broad topics of nature of male and female and their innate value, chastity, fidelity, fecundity (fruitfulness) and children, and the offenses against the dignity of marriage: adultery and divorce. “The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.” 2336 The chapter defines love, a strange thing for most people, I suspect, who think they already know the definition. They are likely mistaken.
“Love is the free self-giving of the heart. The most beautiful form of love on earth is the love between man and woman, in which two people give themselves to each other forever. All human love is an image of divine love, in which all love is at home. Love is the inmost being of the Triune God. The more a person loves, the more he resembles God. Love should influence the whole life of a person, but it is realized with particular depth and symbolism when man and woman love one another in marriage and become ‘one flesh’” YOUCAT Q402
“Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person, an inner unity of body and spirit. 2337 The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. 2339 The virtue of chastity comes under the cardinal virtue of temperance, which seeks to permeate the passions and appetites of the senses with reason. Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposed renewed effort at all stages of life. 2341-2 Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes. The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purposes. 2351-2
Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young. 2353 Rape is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of children entrusted to them. 2356 Based on Sacred Scripture which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ Under no circumstances can they be approved. The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. (They) are called to chastity.” 2357-9
“The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude. The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated. 2362-3 Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one’s given word. St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you. “ 2365
“Fecundity: The Church, which is on the side of life, teaches that each and every marriage act must remain open to the transmission of life. Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God. Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children, thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator. 2366-7 Methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. In contrast, every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil. 2370 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus, are gravely immoral. 2376 Techniques only involving the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act.” 2377
“A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The ‘supreme gift of marriage’ is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged ‘right to a child’ would lead.” 2378
“Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents stable union. 2381 Divorce is a consented, to live with each other till death. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law.” 2386
“The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion. 2390 Carnal union is morally legitimate only when a definitive community of life between a man and woman has been established. Hum love does not tolerate ‘trial marriages.’ It demand a total and definitive gift of persons to one another.” 2391
“A person who lives chastely is not the plaything of his lusts but, rather, lives his sexuality deliberately, motivated by love, and as an expression of that love. … Now if a man has one woman for sexual pleasure, a second to whom he writes love poetry, and a third with whom to have children, then he is exploiting all three and really loves none of them. Q404 Everyone is called to love. We are destined to give our lives away; many do so in the form of marriage, others in the form of voluntary celibacy for the sake of the kingdom, others by living alone and yet being there for others. All human life finds its meaning in love. Q406 Masturbation is an offense against love because it makes the excitement of sexual pleasure an end in itself. The Church does not demonize masturbation, but she warns against trivializing it. In fact many young people and adults are in danger of becoming isolated in their consumption of lewd pictures, films, and internet services instead of finding love in a personal relationship.” Q409
Q416: What are the essential elements of Christian marriage? A: (1) Unity: Marriage is a covenant that by its very nature brings about bodily, intellectual, and spiritual union between a man and a woman; (2) Indissolubility: Marriage lasts ‘until death do us part;’ (3) Openness to offspring: Every marriage must be open to children; (4) Commitment to the spouse’s welfare. If one of the two spouses deliberately excludes one of the four points listed above at the time of their wedding, the sacrament of Matrimony does not take place. For Catholics there is no marriage without a church wedding. In that ceremony Christ enters into a covenant with the husband and the wife and generously endows the couple with graces and gifts. A Christian marriage is not a game, however, but rather the greatest gift God has devised for a man and a woman who love each other.” Q425