086 Beyond Your Wedding Day Podcast-What Are You Saying I Do To

by mike on June 27, 2012

086 Beyond Your Wedding Day Podcast-What Are You Saying I Do To

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In this episode of the Beyond Your Wedding Day Podcast, we discuss the third chapter of the book “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West, “What You Are Saying “I Do” To”.

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-What exactly is marriage in the eyes of the church?

*marriage involves two becoming one: sharing all of each other with their spouse and is the most intimate of all human friendships

*it also requires fidelity from both spouses: no one else can enter this union

*the Church doesn’t particularly say that divorce is wrong, but that it is impossible (despite what civil court says) b/c it truly believes marriage is indissoluble.

*marriage is given to us by God, therefore it is not up to humans to change the meaning and purpose of marriage

*it is for human’s own good (“It is not good that the man should be alone” Genesis 2:18) that he/she enter into a covenant of marriage

*the procreation and education of children is one of the most basic purposes of marriage

*marriage is both a contract (conditions both people agree to) and a covenant (sealed by God)

-What makes marriage a sacrament?

*The love of husband and wife is not merely a symbol of the love of Christ and the Church.  For the baptized, it’s a REAL participation in it!

*What makes marriage a sacrament is that it is the original revelation in the world of the eternal mystery of God

-The Church’s teaching against divorce leaves some women in abusive relationships with no escape, right?

*If there is abuse, the Church certainly recognizes the need for separation.  You may even need to get a civil divorce.  But, a valid marriage still does not END, only death can end marriage.

-If the Church believes marriage is “until death do you part”, why are there so many annulments?
*A civil divorce recognizes that you were once married and no you no longer are
*An annulment says that the marriage was never valid in the first place.
*Valid, sacramental, consummated marriage can never be dissolved
-What makes a marriage valid?
*1) spouses must not have any impediments to marriage (impediments are prohibitions to marriage originating from divine or natural law and Church law)
*Age (men under 16, women under 14)
*Impotence (definitive and perpetual inability to have intercourse)
*Previous Bond (having had a valid marriage to someone else previously)
*Disparity of cult (a baptized Catholic marries an unbaptized person)
*Sacred orders (a deacon, priest, or bishop that is bound by holy orders)
*Perpetual vows of chastity (public vows of celibacy-religious brothers or sisters)
*Abduction (being abducted for the purpose of marriage)
*Crime (when a previous spouse has been murdered in order to “free” them to marry)
*Consanguinity (basically incest-closer than 2nd cousins)
*Affinity (In-law relationships in the direct line ex. Stepfather could not marry his stepdaughter)
*Public propriety (When an unmarried person cohabiting with someone else wishes to enter marriage with a close relative in the direct line of the person with whom he or she has been living)
*Adoption (Same as above with relationships established by adoption)
*2) Spouses must follow the proper form of the sacrament.
*There must be a priest or deacon there as an official witness in the name of the Church.
*There also must be 2 other witnesses who are there for the exchange of vows
*Therefore, baptized Catholics who marry outside of the Church do so invalidly
*3) Spouses must have the capacity to exchange consent and do so freely and unconditionally.
*Serious maladies of a psychological nature can invalidate a person’s consent
*Also, a couple cannot be thinking “I’ll only stay married if…” while they consent to marriage.  They must consent to staying married no matter what
*4) Spouses must consent to what the Church intends by marriage, that is, fidelity, indissolubility, and openness to children.
*These are the three basic things couples say “I do” too.  If they do not consent to any one of these things, then they are not truly married
-What does it mean to withhold consent from these promises (fidelity, indissolubility, and openness to children?)
*Fidelity: A couple cannot say “I do” to an open marriage for example.  If a spouse is later unfaithful, it doesn’t automatically make the marriage invalid if both spouses intended to be faithful at the time of consent
*Indissolubility: There’s no such thing as a “trial marriage”: it’s all or nothing
*Openness to Children: A couple cannot intentionally exclude children from their relationship, having no intention to ever having children
-What if a couple just doesn’t think they’d make good parents?  Are you saying the Church won’t let them get married?
*It’s not about the Church “letting” them, they don’t really want to enter a marriage.
*Marriage by definition is open to having children, so they just want to have a sexual relationship that isn’t marriage (whatever you want to call it)
*The same self-sacrificing qualities that would make you a good parent also make you a good spouse
-What if a couple is unable to have children?
*Unintended infertility is NOT an impediment to marriage.  (don’t think this confused with impotency: the inability to have sex at all)
-I can’t believe how unfeeling it is for the Church to withhold the sacrament of marriage form people who are impotent.  Sex isn’t everything in marriage.
*Although it’s sad for those very rare cases that someone will forever be unable to have sex, it is a fact that without sex there cannot be marriage
*Just like it might be sad that a blind person will never be able to drive, it doesn’t mean the state should issue them a driver’s license out of sympathy
*Jesus himself speaks of the inability of “eunuchs” (people unable to have sex) to marry (Matthew 19:12)
*Although two people can share a deep and intimate love for each other, unless they are able to have sex, then they don’t have MARITAL love.  You just cannot have marriage without sex by definition
-Marriage is just as much a spiritual union as a physical one.  So what if you can’t have sex?
*Although true, you cannot have one without the other in order to have marriage
*Even God, who is pure Spirit, took on physical form to show human beings his love, just as a husband and wife who each other their love through a physical act
*You can’t take away sex from marriage just like you can’t take away bread and wine from the sacrament of the Eucharist, or water from the sacrament of Baptism.
-My parents were married for more than twenty-five years, with five kids, but even they were granted an annulment by the Church.  How can the Church all of a sudden say after so much time that my parent’s marriage never existed?  Doesn’t this make me an “illegitimate child”?
-First of all, “illegitimate” is a legal term.  Since God is the father to all of us, no one is considered “illegitimate” in God’s eyes.
-An annulment doesn’t wipe out the 25 years of a relationship.  It just says that something on the day of the wedding prevented them from entering a valid marriage.
-There’s no question that this can be difficult to come to grips with, especially for the children
-My Catholic sister wants to marry a Protestant who is divorced, but her priest said he would need to apply for an annulment, and if he didn’t get one, they couldn’t get married.  Why does the Church make even Protestants go through the annulment process?
-The Church recognizes the marriage of two baptized Protestants as a sacrament.  Civil divorce never changes a person’s actual marital status in the eyes of the Church, whether Catholic or not.
-A Protestant is certainly free to pursue an annulment so that they can then enter a valid marriage with a Catholic
-Why doesn’t the Church get with the times and admit that some marriages just don’t work out?
*The Church is so absolute in their belief b/c of the view of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church.  It is impossible for Him to leave the Church, therefore, it is impossible for a husband and wife to divorce.
*To admit the possibility of divorce is to say that Christ cannot save us from our sin.
-Didn’t even Jesus say divorce was acceptable in the case of adultery?
*There is some translation issues here.  The Greek word was porneia, which is sometimes translated differently and least accurately as “adultery”.  Many biblical scholars instead view it as he meant incestuous relationships.  The Church follows 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 which expresses the prohibition against divorce as an unconditional command from the Lord for his followers.
*if the Church taught that people could divorce if one or the other spouse committed adultery, then all somebody would need to do if they wanted to “get out” of a marriage was go commit adultery.
-My brother is a good Catholic who loves his new wife and loves God.  But because he wasn’t granted an annulment of his first marriage, he can’t receive Communion.  He feels left out and unappreciated by the Church.  Why is the Catholic Church so harsh and insensitive about these things?  Other churches welcome people no matter what.
*There’s definitely a tension between Christ’s unconditional love for sinners and the fact that He is uncompromising with our sin.  He tells the women caught in adultery to sin no more.
*If someone is willfully going against Christ’s teaching, it makes no sense for them to receive the Eucharist.  When we receive the Eucharist, we are pledging our entire selves to Him, which includes His teachings.

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  • Lisa

    Hi guys!  As a protestant, I found this episode very informative. I do still have a question about annulment.  Do you know when the concept of annulment came about?  I know a little bit of church history, but did not learn about that.
    Also, Mandy, when you were talking about how some churches change their teachings over time, I think it’s important to remember that Roman Catholics and Protestants view the authority of the church differently.  It seems to be kind of like how Democrats and Republicans (or Libertarians) view the role of government differently.  Protestants tend to view only the Bible as authoritative and church teachings as more like guidelines.
    Thanks,
    Lisa

  • mike

    Thanks for the comment Lisa! We love hearing from our listeners. I’m glad it is informative, it’s been extremely informative for us too! I did some research about the history of the annulment, and couldn’t find anything. I will ask some of our priest friends to see what I can come up with! Thanks again!

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