Receiving Eucharist while cohabiting/sleeping together in civil marriage
#41
(01-01-2016, 01:41 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: Perhaps canon law should be modified to allow for the validity of irregular forms of marriage involving Catholics, in order to address these pastoral needs (like the increasing cost of getting married, due to social expectations that the ceremony and reception require huge expenditures). Prior to Trent, as I understand it, a clandestine marriage might be contracted through parties agree that they will marry, then performing the marital act at some subsequent time. This is a situation that would apply to most couples who engage to be married but have difficulty remaining continent for the duration prior to marriage, which might stretch on even longer than a year or so in modern times. The actual ceremony or solemnization might then be performed conditionally, but I am unsure if the sacrament of matrimony has ever been administered conditionally or even if that is even a possibility.

Whether Canon Law should change is an entirely separate discussion, really, since there are many more factors to be considered. This has to considered the reasons for nullity of marriage. The great majority of cases today do not involved defective consent (from the traditional reasons) or lack of canonical form, but "lack of due discretion". There may be some basis for this novel impediment -- it is quite clear that most Catholics today do not understand fully what they do in a marriage, even when it's explained to them. They will sings forms, profess agreement with the doctrines, but never actually act as if they accept these doctrines. The typical modern mind in which the principle of non-contradiction is only ambiguously asserted.

As regards the promises to marry and sexual relations, there is and always has been a difference between a marital contract and betrothal (or engagement). A promise to marry at some future time could create a kind of contract. In fact that was the practice for a long time -- if one promised to contract marriage in the future, one could not break it off without consequences. We have remnants of this practice still around, like the engagement ring, and the various practices if an engagement were broken.

Yet to get technical, the object of a marital contract and a bethrothal are different, so they are different things. One is the mutual exchange of rights over each others bodies for the purpose of acts that lead to procreation with other attached rights. The other is the exchange of promises to give that consent in the future. The first creates a marriage, the latter only a promise to marry. Clearly the latter lacks the necessary object which makes a marriage a marriage. Betrothal cannot confer rights over sexual acts, because they are not part of that contract or promise.

Yes, in places there was ambiguity and practices by which the bethrothed engaged in sexual acts ... that's not much different today, except often they're not even engaged. It does not make those practices moral.

In fact your suggestion of "pastoral needs" highlights why the Church has become more restrictive about the marriage contracts of Catholics. Because marriage is a permanent union if we were to allow such practices, it would create horrifically complicated situations when considerations for investigating the nullity of the marriage came up. Marriage being permanent we have to have a moral certainty that one is not married before they can be allowed to marry again, or even to go through the whole courtship/dating process. Since most people who are unwilling to follow the Catholic moral teachings on sex and marriage are not going to abide by the Church's disciplinary law if it be relaxes (which simply suggests that it's overbearing now), I can't see how making provisions for these "pastoral situations" is at all good.

If we simply demand of Catholics that they date only though eligible to be married; and only when they are prepared to be married reasonably soon and then that the engagement never last more than one year, normally, I can't see how most of the "pastoral problems" would not be solved.

(01-01-2016, 01:41 AM)Cyriacus Wrote: I am reminded of an acquaintance, a Jewish woman of the Bobover sect, who told me stories about accidental or prank marriages contracted between teenagers at her high school, using things like borrowed pencils and erasers as dowries or gifts to be exchanged. In each such incident, the kids would have to go before a Beth Din to have the marriage dissolved, even if it were never physically consummated.

But for the Jews, marriages are not permanent. So for those of a Pharisaical penchant, this makes total sense.

The Catholic moral law is much more amenable to reason, because it considers intention. Such a sham marriage would never pass the smell test, so is not even to be considered, except, perhaps, in the confessional.
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Re: Receiving Eucharist while cohabiting/sleeping together in civil marriage - by MagisterMusicae - 01-01-2016, 10:25 AM



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