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The Theology of Marriage

The Theology of Marriage

Cormac Burke
Foreword by Janet Smith
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    The Theology of Marriage
    Book Description:

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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2686-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xviii)

    I suspect most Catholics tend to think of canon law as the bylaws of the church or just some necessary in-house rules. Among those who know where to find canon law, some occasionally dip into it to solve some dispute, as if they could go to a canon and brandish it about. For some years now I have been carpooling with a canon lawyer and have come to realize that amateurs should tread cautiously in attempting to interpret canon law. I have also learned that canon law has a range and importance that can hardly be overestimated. Even those who...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xxi-xxvi)

    Matrimonial themes, primarily approached from the perspective of morality, make up a large part of my writings. My reflections on marriage were partly curtailed in the early 1980s when I began to teach canon law at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Nairobi, Kenya. Appointment in 1986 as judge of the Roman Rota, the High Court of the church, brought me back into the matrimonial field, although from the viewpoint of canonical theory and practice. In other times this might have led to a narrowing of horizons. My own impression is that it did not, perhaps for the accidental (or maybe...

  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxx)
  7. 1 Marriage: Sacramentality and Faith
    (pp. 1-29)

    St. Paul speaks of matrimony in terms of a great sacrament (cf. Eph 5:32), and in the next chapter we will try to draw out the splendidly positive consequences that flow from the sacramental nature of Christian marriage. However—and this of course is true of all the sacraments—it is only in the context and in the light of faith that this greatness can be understood. Hence we will begin, in this chapter, with a consideration of the intimate connection between faith and matrimony.

    This seems all the more necessary since recent decades have seen considerable theological debate regarding...

  8. 2 Marriage: Sacrament and Sanctity
    (pp. 30-49)

    A strong case can be made for holding that the fifth chapter ofLumen Gentiumpresents the most important, innovative, and even the most revolutionary doctrine of the Second Vatican Council. Under the title of “The Universal Call to Holiness,” an utterly personalized message is presented to every member of the church, each of whom, whatever his or her position in life, is called to sanctity, to the fullness of friendship and intimacy with God. To help each one become truly aware of what this implies and to help each person to see and use the ways and means of...

  9. 3 The Ends of Marriage: A Personalist or an Institutional Understanding?
    (pp. 50-70)

    We concluded the previous chapter with a tentative suggestion regarding the logical ends of marriage when considered as a genuine calling from God, a true vocation to holiness. However, our suggestion, as we noted, does not align with the traditional formulation of the ends of marriage. For many centuries these ends were expressed in very different terms, ranged in a hierarchical order of primary and secondary ends. After the Second Vatican Council, dating concretely from the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the hierarchical ordering seemed to disappear, while a new term, the “good of the spouses” (bonum coniugum), made its...

  10. 4 A Further Look at the “Good of the Spouses” as an End of Marriage
    (pp. 71-102)

    In the previous chapter, we noted the church’s contemporary presentation of the “good of the spouses” as one of the ends of marriage. The term is as important as it is new, and it invites, indeed calls for, interpretation as to its precise meaning. We have given a summary exposition of one possible interpretation, backing up this view with Scriptural and magisterial references, and have also noted the misleading tendency to present procreation as the institutional end of marriage and, as if in contrast, tobonum coniugumas the personalist end. Both ends, we have sought to show, are institutional,...

  11. 5 Church Law and the Rights of Persons
    (pp. 103-124)

    The theological studies and reflections that make up this book have been prompted in part by my research and experience as a canon lawyer and rotal judge. This experience deepened my awareness of the extent to which a lot of post-conciliar theological (and indeed canonical) writing has worked from the premise that the main obstacle to true pastoral renewal is found in the institutionaljuridical structures and related mentality still prevalent in church life. This, as a principle, I cannot share. Institutions, even divine institutions, have their limitations when their governance is (as it must be) in the hands of men....

  12. 6 The “Good” and the “Bad” in Marriage according to St. Augustine
    (pp. 125-163)

    In the previous chapter we sought to place the doctrinal issue of indissolubility within a positive pastoral perspective. Now we return to a more dominantly theological note, examining some aspects of the thought of St. Augustine, who might well be considered the first theologian of marriage. How would St. Augustine react if he returned to the world at the start of the third millennium and had to evaluate the modern attitude toward marriage and toward human sexuality? I believe that (with surprise, or perhaps without it) he would identify two phenomena that he experienced in his own time (even if...

  13. 7 The Inseparability of the Unitive and Procreative Aspects of the Conjugal Act
    (pp. 164-180)

    We have entered an age in which it has become commonplace to reject the concept and conviction of a natural, necessary, and sacred connection between sexual intercourse and marriage. The generalized collapse of this conviction, which had characterized civilization after civilization throughout human history, could be considered a central consequence of the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s. But the progressive disassociation of sex and marriage from the 1960s onward is in itself a consequence of the movement in the earlier part of the twentieth century to dissociate sexual intercourse within marriage from any necessary relationship to procreation. Right up to...

  14. 8 An R.I.P. for the Remedium Concupiscentiae
    (pp. 181-242)

    The length of this final chapter is, I hope, justified by the novelty and importance of the theses it proposes. An initial resumé of the overall argument may facilitate its reading. The termremedium concupiscentiae, presented up to 1983 as a “secondary” end of marriage, has been seriously misapplied over the centuries. In practice it has been taken to imply that marriage gives a lawful outlet to sexual concupiscence (or lust) and hence married couples can yield to it, since it is now “legitimized.” The consequences go further: if concupiscence was “remedied” by the fact of being married, then it...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 243-250)
  16. Index
    (pp. 251-254)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 255-255)