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Module 3: Tools

of the Christian
Marital
Commitment
What is the
difference
between a
Christian and non-
Christian
marriage?
What guidance
does the Bible
offer on how to
build up a strong
marriage
covenant
relationship?
Does the Bible
clearly teach role
distinctions
between husband
and wife?
Does the Bible
view the function
of sex as
exclusively
procreational or
also as relational?
• Today marriage is a fragile institution
• Most of the literature treats marriage, divorce and
remarriage from purely sociological, psychological,
medical and economic perspectives.
• Societal changes have led to an increased rate of
divorce or annulment
• A growing number of couples decide to live together
prior to or without a civil or church wedding
• The number of families with a single parent as head of
the household continues to grow
• Violence within marriage, both the battering of wives
and children and the sexual abuse of children, lead
many to criticize the traditional patriarchal structure
of marriage
Some persons see the very institution of
marriage as challenged: Is marriage obsolete?
Was the provocative title of an article in The
Boston Globe.
• The article described our society as “postmarital”
• It is argued that the dominance of the single-parent family, the high-
rate of divorce, and the legal acknowledgment of survivorship and
rights between unmarried persons are signs of the demise of
marriage.
• Its author concluded: “By the third millennium marriage will be
regarded as declasse, a tacky arrangement practiced only by
benighted and idolatrous monogamy freaks, an obscure and despised
sect of something or other.
• If this were to come to pass, people in the third millennium would
obviously have no use for a theology of marriage as a sacrament and
no sense for the religious significance of marriage.
• Hollywood divorce: Brad Pitt and Angelina; Tom Cruise and Katie
Holmes; Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale; Ben Affleck and Jennifer
Garner, etc.
A covenant under attack!

Secularism: “Marriage
as just a temporary
social contract,
governed solely by civil
laws.”
• Secularism has caused the loss of the sense of
the sacred in various realms of life, including
marriage. For example, the Lords Day is no
longer viewed by many Christians as a “holy day”
but rather as “holiday,” a day to seek for
personal pleasure and profit, rather than for the
presence of God.
• Life is no longer sacred for many people, as over 1,500,000
induced abortions are performed every year in the United
States alone, besides the countless number of persons
killed everywhere by senseless crimes, drugs and violence.
Similarly, marriage is longer regarded by many as a lifelong,
sacred covenant witnessed and guaranteed by God Himself,
but rather as a temporary social contract, governed solely
by civil laws.
A covenant under attack!

Humanism: Marriage
is a human and not a
divine institution!
• Teaches that marriage is a human and not a divine
institution. Its function is to meet a person’s needs:
social, sexual, emotional, and financial. Accordingly,
when such needs are no longer met, the marriage
contract can be legitimately terminated.
A covenant under attack!

Selfism: We have the right


to reach self-fulfillment, self-
sufficiency, and self-
development…Marriage is a
stumbling block to self-
actualization, therefore it
must be dissolved!
• Selfism tells us that we have the right to reach self-
fulfillment, self-sufficiency, and self-development. If
marriage become a stumbling block to self-actualization, it
must be dissoved. Fritz Perls expresses it in this way: I do
my thing, and you do your thing. I am not in this world to
live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world
to live up to mine. And if by some chance we meet, it’s
beautiful.
How do we resist to these various social forces which are
conspiring to break apart the marriage covenant reducing
it to a temporary relationship of convenience? How are we
to recover and reaffirm the Biblical understanding of
marriage as a lifelong, sacred covenant, witnessed and
guaranteed by God Himself?
Group 1 and 2 on Secularism:
Nicole Koa et al and Jason Chan et al

Group 3 and 4 on Humanism:


Aquino Roscoe et al and Isabella San Mateo et al

Group 4 and 5 on Selfism:


Carandang Abraham et al and Benedicto Matthieu et al
Heart of Marriage: a
covenant
“For better or
worse” is not the
same as “till
disagreement or
other interests do
us part!”
Jewish
Tradition
A Covenant is
initiated by
God. It is good
for God and
good for us!
What is a
covenant?
A Covenant is the
establishment of an
agreement between two
parties defining the
relationship
(responsibilities and
obligations) between
them.
Jewish Tradition

A Covenant is
initiated by
God. It is good
for God and
good for us!
Jewish
Tradition
We are in constant
process of receiving
and re-establishing
the covenant
between God and
ourselves.
A covenant is a
two-way
street…
A partnership with
responsibilities and
obligations for both
people involved.
Marriage in the Old
Testament:
“The Lord God said:
“It is not good that
the man should be
alone….’ therefore a
man leaves his father
and his mother and
clings to his wife, and
they become one
flesh” Source: Catholicism by Richard P. McBrien

Gen. 2:18,24
“The Lord
blesses their
union and
orders them to
“be fruitful
and multiply”
Gen. 1:28
What is virginity?
Marriage in the New
Testament:
“Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has
given up house or wife
or brothers or parents or
children for the sake of
the kingdom of God who
will not receive an
overabundant return in
this present age and
eternal life in the age to
come.”
Luke 18:29
Paul wishes that the
faithful would
renounce marriage
in favour of virginity
because he thinks
that the Lord will
soon return and
because he worries
about the risk of
distraction in the
meantime.
see1Cor.7:32-35
The creation
narrative cautions
that it is not good
for man to be
alone, Paul insists
that “it is well for
man not to touch a
woman (1Cor. 7:1)
But he does not go
so far as to
condemn marriage.
What is sex?
Marriage in the 2nd to
5th centuries:
Marriage is viewed
more and more as the
justification of the use
of sex which has been
infected by sin.
This trend reached its
fullest development in
Augustine, who
influenced the church
on this subject more
profoundly than any
other single individual
did.
Marriage in the 2nd to
5th centuries:
Sexuality linked with
animality:
• The purpose of
marriage is none
other than the
begetting of children.
• Indeed, our sexual
desires are nothing
more than the
unfortunate effects of
Original Sin.
Saint Augustine
Middle ages to
Vatican II
The goods (values) of
marriage according
to Augustine:
1. Fidelity
2. Offspring
3. sacrament
What is fidelity,
Offspring and
sacrament?
1. Fidelity
is the faithfulness
inherent in the mutual love of
the spouses;
• It pertains to sexual love,
but is not limited to that.
• It involves a commitment of
love and trust.
2. Offspring are to be accepted
in love,, nurtured with
affection, and educated in the
Christian faith;
3. Marriage is a sacrament
signifying the future unity of
God’s people in heaven.
Middle ages to Vatican II
• Ambivalence of
marriage continues...
• Abelard acknowledged
its sacramentality but
insisted that it ‘did not
avail unto
salvation…for to bring
home a wife is not
meritorious for
salvation, but it is
allowed for salvation’s
sake because of
incontinence.”
Who are the real ministers in the
sacrament of marriage?
Middle ages to
Vatican II
• Council of Trent
(1563) required that
catholic marriages
take place in the
presence of a priest,
especially to curb
the widespread
practice of
clandestine
marriages.
Middle ages to Vatican II
• Protestant reformers
upheld the sacredness
of marriage in the order
of creation, but they
denied that marriage
belonged to the order
of grace as a
sacrament.
• Also rejected the
Church’s authority over
marriage, and
approved the practice
of divorce as a lesser of
two evils.
Middle ages to
Vatican II
• Trent takes an
opposite stance: “If
anyone says that the
married state
surpasses that of
virginity or celibacy,
and that it is not
better and happier to
remain in virginity or
celibacy than to be
united in matrimony,
anathema sit.”
Which one is higher in state?
To be a virgin or to marry?
Middle ages to
Vatican II
• Pope Leo XIII:
Marriage’s primary
purpose the
propagation of life,
calling the ‘mutual
faithfulness of
husband and wife’
the ‘second blessing
of marriage.’
• Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae (1880)
What is the primary and secondary
purpose of marriage according to Pope
Leo XIII?
Vatican II
Catholic Church’s
perspective on
Marriage:
1. No longer uses the
traditional term
contract to describe
the marriage bond,
instead, the council
speaks of the
‘marriage
covenant’ which is
sealed by an
irrevocable
personal consent.’
• Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, n.48
Vatican II
2. Neither does the council
continue to employ the old
distinction between primary
and secondary ends in which
the begetting of children is
always more important than
the mutual love of husband
and wife: “Hence, while not
making the other ends of
marriage of less value, the
true practice of conjugal love,
and the whole nature of
family life resulting from it,
tend to dispose the spouses to
cooperate courageously with
the love of the Creator and
Savior who through them day
by day expands and enriches
His own family.”
Vatican II
3. The sacrament of
marriage is not
something added to
the marriage union
established through
mutual human love.
“Authentic married
love is taken up into
divine love and is ruled
and enriched by the
redemptive power of
Christ and the salvific
action of the Church.”
“When Christian
marriage
flounders, the
witness of fidelity
in all Christian
vocation
flounders.”
-Fr. John T. Finnegan, former President of
the Canon Law Society of America.
Vatican II
4. The council emphasizes
the necessity of a faith
commitment for the
sacrament of marriage.
Marriage is not just a
ceremony by which two
people are legally bound
together.
As a sacrament, it is an
act of worship, an
expression of faith, a
sign of the Church’s
unity, a mode of Christ’s
presence.
Vatican II
5. The full
consummation of
marriage is more than a
biological act.
The expression of the mutual
love which is at the heart of the
sacrament consists of more
than biological union. It
involves the good of the whole
person.
Therefore, it can enrich the
expressions of body and mind
with a unique dignity,
ennobling these expressions as
special ingredients and signs of
friendship distinctive of
marriage…such love pervades
the whole of (the spouses) lives.
Consummation without love is
without meaning.
What is your perspective of sex
outside of marriage?