Friday, May 31, 2013
(Comp 502 repetition) These are: adultery, divorce, polygamy, incest, free unions (cohabitation, concubinage), and sexual acts before or outside of marriage.
(CCC 2400) Adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offenses against the dignity of marriage. (CCC 1661) The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).
To deepen and explain
(CCC 2383) The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law (Cf. CIC, cann. 1151-1155). If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense. (CCC 2384) Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery: If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself (St. Basil, Moralia 73, 1: PG 31, 849-852).
(CCC 2385) Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society. (CCC 2386) It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage (Cf. FC 84). [IT CONTINUES]
Thursday, May 30, 2013
502. What are the offenses against the dignity of marriage? (part 1)
(Comp 502) These are: adultery, divorce, polygamy, incest, free unions (cohabitation, concubinage), and sexual acts before or outside of marriage.
(CCC 2400) Adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offenses against the dignity of marriage.
To deepen and explain
(CCC 2380) Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations - even transient ones - they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire (Cf. Mt 5:27-28). The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely (Cf. Mt 5:32; 19:6; Mk 10:11; 1 Cor 6:9-10). The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry (Cf. Hos 2:7; Jer 5:7; 13:27). (CCC 2381) Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents' stable union.
(CCC 2382) The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble (Cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mk 10 9; Lk 16:18; 1 Cor 7:10-11). He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law (Cf. Mt 19:7-9). Between the baptized, "a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death" (CIC, can. 1141). [IT CONTINUES]
(The question: What are the offenses against the dignity of marriage? continues)
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
501. What can spouses do when they do not have children?
(Comp 501) Should the gift of a child not be given to them, after exhausting all legitimate medical options, spouses can show their generosity by way of foster care or adoption or by performing meaningful services for others. In this way they realize a precious spiritual fruitfulness.
(CCC 2398) Fecundity is a good, a gift and an end of marriage. By giving life, spouses participate in God's fatherhood. 2398
To deepen and explain
(CCC 1654) Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.
(CCC 2379) The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.
(Next question: What are the offenses against the dignity of marriage?)
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
500. How should children be considered?
(Comp 500) A child is a gift of God, the supreme gift of marriage. There is no such thing as a right to have children (e.g. “a child at any cost”). But a child does have the right to be the fruit of the conjugal act of its parents as well as the right to be respected as a person from the moment of conception.
(CCC 2373) Sacred Scripture and the Church's traditional practice see in large families a sign of God's blessing and the parents' generosity (Cf. GS 50 § 2).
To deepen and explain
(CCC 2378) 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. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception" (CDF, Donum vitae II, 8).
(CCC 1664) Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its "supreme gift," the child (GS 50 § 1).
(Next question: What can spouses do when they do not have children?)
Monday, May 27, 2013
499. Why are artificial insemination and artificial fertilization immoral?
(Comp 499) They are immoral because they dissociate procreation from the act with which the spouses give themselves to each other and so introduce the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Furthermore, heterologous insemination and fertilization with the use of techniques that involve a person other than the married couple infringe upon the right of a child to be born of a father and mother known to him, bound to each other by marriage and having the exclusive right to become parents only through each another.
(CCC 2374) Couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly. "What will you give me," asks Abraham of God, "for I continue childless?" (Gen 15:2) and Rachel cries to her husband Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!" (Gen 30:1).
To deepen and explain
(CCC 2375) Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged, on condition that it is placed "at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God" (CDF, Donum vitae, intro., 2). (CCC 2376) Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other" (CDF, Donum vitae II, 1).
(CCC 2377) Techniques involving only 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. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children" (CDF, Donum vitae II, 5). "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union .... Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person" (CDF, Donum vitae II, 4).