Skip to comments.Vatican: For Catholic marriage to be valid, couples must be open to children
Posted on 10/24/2013 7:26:48 AM PDT by Morgana
VATICAN CITY, October 22, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) In a lengthy essay strongly reaffirming the Catholic Churchs teaching on the impermissibility of divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also linked the validity of Catholic marriages to the couples openness to children a requirement that, he said, is often sadly lacking in marriages today.
Todays mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children, said Archbishop Gerhard Müller, writing in the Vatican newspaper, LOsservatore Romano. Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialization within an environment of faith.
This statement was welcomed by pro-life activist Anthony Ozimic, communications manager of UK-based pro-life and pro-family lobbyists, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
We are particularly grateful to read the archbishop's clear statement linking openness to children to the validity of marriage, Ozimic told LifeSiteNews.com. As Pope Francis made clear in his first encyclical Lumen Fidei, the life-bearing potential of heterosexuality is a prerequisite of marriage. Abortion, contraception, sterilization and same-sex relationships are all therefore incompatible with marriage.
This message must be made clear to legislators and policy-makers who claim to support marriage but at the same time support practices which are closed to the gift of life," said Ozimic.
The statement from Archbishop Müller also reflects the thoughts of Pope Francis as explained in his interview returning from World Youth Day in Rio, where he said:
Cardinal Quarracino, my predecessor, used to say that as far as he was concerned, half of all marriages are null. But why did he say this? Because people get married lacking maturity, they get married without realizing that it is a life-long commitment, they get married because society tells them they have to get married.
And this is where the pastoral care of marriage also comes in. And then there is the legal problem of matrimonial nullity, this has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this. It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage.
During the same in-flight interview Pope Francis had revealed that the upcoming synod of bishops on the family set for next October will address the issue.
The Code of Canon law of the Catholic Church clearly recognizes openness to children as a pre-requisite for a valid sacramental marriage.
The Code states in Canon 1069: For matrimonial consent to exist, the contracting parties must be at least not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.
Certain dioceses in the United States have spelled out that not being open to children from the beginning of a marriage, invalidates the marriage. The process for considering a marriage annulled - meaning it never validly existed and thus the partners are free to marry others - asks, whether or not the two people entering into that union were both knowledgeable and capable, and whether they intended to live out the essential obligations of the vocation.
Sr. Kathleen Bierne, PBVM, the Director of the Tribunal for the Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota explains in a paper on the diocesan website: If this study finds that something was missing in their consent, or the union did not, from the beginning, possess the essential qualities of permanence, fidelity, openness to children and openness to the spouse, then the Church, through the office of the diocesan tribunal, may grant a declaration that from the beginning this was not a valid/sacramental bond.
See the full article from the Vatican newspaper here. http://www.osservatoreromano.va/portal/dt
No wonder why the Catholic Church is losing parishioners.
I prefer to do my own family planning.
Where is there for Catholics, who choose to marry, but want to devote their life to other causes which may preclude children?
So, don’t marry a women over 40, even if you are too??
Adoption? Foster children?
It’s always been this way...an openness to human life is seen as fundamental to a truly Christlike love.
Annulment: Another name for Catholic divorce.
God's first commandment to humanity: "And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth". -Genesis 1:28
Our society's self-delusion/denial that there's a reproductive component to sexual intercourse is the root cause of many of our ills.
This has been grounds for many an annulment. I think the Church wants to maintain the connection between sex and creating children. The loss of that connection has resulted in many of modern society’s problems.
What about those couples who cannot have children, or were older when they got married?
Well their marriage can still be fruitful, via helping others come to faith in the Lord.
You beat me by 15 seconds :-)
Love is not selfish.
Good thing my parents did not preclude children.
Love cannot be unloved.
Love is always an outward action and virtue.
Love does not go inward to the self.
Childen are an outward expression
of the love of 2 people for each other.
Love is both spiritual and physical, for we are not angels but human beings with bodies and souls.
The Duality of Love.
Most Catholics don’t seek annulments. A murder trial would be less stressful. Often it would require asking children to testify against one of their parents...a bridge too far for many people.
If one or both parties say "yes" to this, with the full intention of contracepting for part or the entirety of their marriage, then they are lying before their friends and family -- but more importantly, before God.
I remember that old joke about what one Italian said about the Pope: “Him no playa the game, him no maka the rules!”
The problem really comes when a couple is past childbearing. Then it has to be omitted out.
My boyfriend [now husband] brought this topic up at our Marriage Encounter. And those running the Encounter cringed a bit, and those in attendance were surprised! Because a priest is not supposed to marry ANY couple who say they have no intention of procreating, yet, how many priests bring this up during the talk/testing/etc. they have with the couple prior to marriage?
The problem really comes when a couple is past childbearing. Then it has to be omitted out.Yet, look at Elizabeth! :)
It looks more like an adroit setting aside the word of God as the Scriptures say only death and adultery end the marriage contract.
Nope. Divorce is a legal document that breaks a contract. A Catholic view of marriage is that it is a sacrament ... not a mere contract. So while a civil divorce renders the contract as void, it does not do away with the sacrament ... the two are still bound by that. The annulment process is a very complex investigation to determine whether or not both parties entered into the sacramental bond of marriage. If not, then the annumlment is granted.
But I think it is when the couple is beyond child bearing years. Have a personal prayer book, a Catholic one which says that the question can be omitted if the couple getting married is “advanced in years”. I know Elizabeth, but that was a miracle of God.
Our Pre-Cana classes were conducted by a nun. At one point we were separated and asked these questions. One of which was “are you freely willing to have intercourse with this woman?”
I rolled my eyes a bit, stroked my chin and said, “Sister, may I have a few minutes to think about that?”
The poor nun nearly passed out. Spent a lot of time in confession after that one.
Our priest told us in no uncertain terms that bringing the children up (meaning - you ARE going to have children) Catholic is a non-negotiable.
Your comment doesn’t make sense.
By contraception or abortion? Which is your poison? Or both?
Very good points. Others ill, physically or emotionally, can not responsibly have children (or sex).
How is the Catholic religion supposed to grow unless people are physically born into it?
Ruh-roh; very funny! And Pre-Cana was the term I was searching for. Thanks on that!
Good to hear! :)
So do you support abortion and contraception?
Those are no, nos.
Yes, we all know that babies are killed through abortion, but we refuse to believe that babies are killed (prevented from being formed — coupleis playing God) through contraception.
That’s wrong. An annulment says the couple was not validly married. (Married in the church with the intention of procreating and remaining faithful to their one husband or wife.)
Anullments are not stressful. Just fill out the paper work and send it in to the tribunal. Talk to your priest for guidance.
Why do you keep repeating these untruths?
How about people of such limited intellect that they can't understand simple rules without jabbering about possible exceptions?
They're obviously hopelessly IQ deficient to the point that they there's a high probability their offspring will be morons so are they an exception?
“I prefer to do my own family planning.”
Yeah, just leave the Creator out of it, right?
“Annulment: Another name for Catholic divorce.”
If that was the case then some couples would never get turned down when they go through an annulment process - but they do.
Open to children does not mean fertile. It means you are willing to have children (as opposed to able to have them). You may not be able, but are you intentionally contracepting to minimize the possibility?
From the CIC:
Can. 1084 §1. Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature.
§2. If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether by a doubt about the law or a doubt about a fact, a marriage must not be impeded nor, while the doubt remains, declared null.
§3. Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1098.
Can. 1098 A person contracts invalidly who enters into a marriage deceived by malice, perpetrated to obtain consent, concerning some quality of the other partner which by its very nature can gravely disturb the partnership of conjugal life.
So, while impotence (the inability to have sex) is an impediment, infertility is not, unless one of the partners intentionally deceives the other.
So even if one cannot have children, both the man and the woman getting married, if they are advanced in years, the same question must be asked of them in the ceremony of marriage regardless the two persons are past childbearing?
” So even if one cannot have children, both the man and the woman getting married, if they are advanced in years, the same question must be asked of them in the ceremony of marriage regardless the two persons are past childbearing?”
Are the old couple going to contracept?
If the answer its “yes”, then I would say they are not open to children.
Although an extraordinarily slim chance, if, hypothetically, the old woman was to get pregnant, would they welcome the child? Or would they think that she’d get an abortion? If the answer is “yes”, then they are not open to children.
Otherwise, it sounds like they’d be open to the possibility (if God gave them an Abraham/Sarah type surprise)
Okay, that is fine. I take it that SSM is right out, then?
So if I may...A man that married a woman with no intention of procreating, assuming it was possible, would not be entering into a valid marriage and, in fact, it would be invalid from the beginning?
The reason why I ask is because I have a Catholic prayer book which has a section on the sacraments and it includes a section for a marriage ceremony and it does carry the question although it says it can be omitted if the couple is advance in years.
I was very fortunate to have two awesome priests walk me through the marriage prep. One of them is a former fighter pilot and as a vet myself we click on a few levels. He was married for many years and only became a priest after his wife passed on. He told me, “As you get older, you have to stay in shape for your wife because physical attraction is an important component of a healthy marriage. If you can’t see your d-—, there’s a problem.”
I’m also fortunate to be friends with some very devout catholic families and one thing that strikes me is how happy they are. Prayer and participation in the sacraments as husband and wife is like a waterfall of grace that helps in dealing with life’s problems.
Yes, of course. The fact that this is “controversial” puts the decline of Western civilization firmly in perspective.
By contraception or abortion? Which is your poison? Or both?
Natural family planning never enter your lexicon?
As markomalley said, any couple can be willing to receive the children God gives them. I and all my “old mother” friends share some hysterical laughter over people’s idea that women in their 40s or 50s can’t have children, btw. The oldest verified natural conception and delivery was to a 56-year-old mother. (It came up on FR once.)
But even a couple in their 80s can be morally open to children.
Did you miss the article also on natural family planning today or yesterday on this very forum?
Not everything is binary. There is, in this instance, a third way.
I have nothing but admiration for your family values. The only toddlers I want running in around my house at my age (55) are grandkids (of which I now have 2).
And I’m quite happy they go home with their parents (my kids) most all the time. The occasional weekend, fine, full time, not so much. Been there, done that. Loved every (nearly every) minute of it. But the baton has been passed to the next generation.