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  #1  
Old Jun 1, '05, 4:38 am
MamaGeek MamaGeek is offline
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Default Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

How can Mary and Joseph's marriage be valid if it was never consummated?

(NOTE: I asked this in the "Ask the Apologist" forum, but I didn't get an answer)
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  #2  
Old Jun 1, '05, 5:18 am
Catholic2003 Catholic2003 is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Consummation isn't required for any marriage to be valid.
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  #3  
Old Jun 1, '05, 5:29 am
RyanL RyanL is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

If I were to go to the chapel with a lady and get hitched, then on the way to the honeymoon suite we are hit by a drunk driver and my spine is broken and I'm paralyzed for life...were we never married? If I died, would life insurance not pay my widow?
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  #4  
Old Jun 1, '05, 5:50 am
Elzee Elzee is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catholic2003
Consummation isn't required for any marriage to be valid.
This has always confused me. I've always heard that a marriage can easily be annulled if it has not been consummated. Is this true? Also, on a cd I have on Marriage and the Eucharist (I can't remember if it's the one by Christopoher West or John Martignoni) I seem to remmber one of them saying the 'marital embrace' is what completes the sacrament of marriage - 'and the 2 shall become one flesh'.
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  #5  
Old Jun 1, '05, 5:55 am
MamaGeek MamaGeek is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

The code of canon law states that if a couple cannot consummate their marriage they cannot be married in the Catholic church. If you were injured after getting married, you are still considered married. You just can't enter into a marriage knowing that it cannot be consummated. With modern medicine, surgery, and other advances, there is at least a chance for almost anyone to achieve potency. If there exists any doubt that it may be possible, the Church will marry you.

I just don't understand how this reconciles with Mary and Joseph's marriage, which was determined from the start to not be consummated.

I also have a question about people with AIDS. How can they be married in the church, if consummation would be an almost automatic death sentence for their spouse? If two HIV positive people got married, they could pass the disease to their children, and even NFP would not be worth the risk, in my opinion, rendering celibacy the best option. Would they be denied marriage?
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  #6  
Old Jun 1, '05, 5:57 am
MamaGeek MamaGeek is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanL
If I were to go to the chapel with a lady and get hitched, then on the way to the honeymoon suite we are hit by a drunk driver and my spine is broken and I'm paralyzed for life...were we never married? If I died, would life insurance not pay my widow?
Insurance has nothing to do with the Church. You are confusing a secular institution with a spiritual sacrament.
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  #7  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:01 am
mike182d mike182d is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaGeek
I just don't understand how this reconciles with Mary and Joseph's marriage, which was determined from the start to not be consummated.
Mary and Joseph were not bound by the Code of Canon Law any more than Malchezadeck was obligated to pray the Divine Office. I would suggest researching Jewish law regarding marriage instead of applying post-resurrection "law" to a pre-Messianic situation.

Therein lies the answer.
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  #8  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:07 am
mike182d mike182d is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaGeek
I also have a question about people with AIDS. How can they be married in the church, if consummation would be an almost automatic death sentence for their spouse? If two HIV positive people got married, they could pass the disease to their children, and even NFP would not be worth the risk, in my opinion, rendering celibacy the best option. Would they be denied marriage?
Well, I would question why, exactly, they feel they are being called to the vocation of marriage. Marriage isn't a degree of love or a product of high emotions, it is a type of love; it has a function. If it is impossible to perform this function, I fail to see how this type of love can be truly fulfilled.
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  #9  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:16 am
MamaGeek MamaGeek is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike182d
Mary and Joseph were not bound by the Code of Canon Law any more than Malchezadeck was obligated to pray the Divine Office. I would suggest researching Jewish law regarding marriage instead of applying post-resurrection "law" to a pre-Messianic situation.

Therein lies the answer.
I understand this, but why would the Church define canon law in such a way, if we believe that Mary and Joseph's marriage was valid?
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  #10  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:20 am
MamaGeek MamaGeek is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike182d
Well, I would question why, exactly, they feel they are being called to the vocation of marriage. Marriage isn't a degree of love or a product of high emotions, it is a type of love; it has a function. If it is impossible to perform this function, I fail to see how this type of love can be truly fulfilled.
If you are referring to children, the Church teaches that sterile couples can get married in the Church. It is only impotent couples who cannot.

Who are we to judge the vocation of an individual? Two HIV sufferers may be called to marriage for the express purpose of adopting HIV babies, to love and nurture them for their short lives. Why would we deny them such a calling?

I'm not trying to bash the church here. I'm a Catholic, faithful to church teachings. Accepting and understanding are two different things, however. I thought the purpose of apologetics was to understand the why of Catholic theology.
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  #11  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:21 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elzee
This has always confused me. I've always heard that a marriage can easily be annulled if it has not been consummated. Is this true? Also, on a cd I have on Marriage and the Eucharist (I can't remember if it's the one by Christopoher West or John Martignoni) I seem to remmber one of them saying the 'marital embrace' is what completes the sacrament of marriage - 'and the 2 shall become one flesh'.
The Sacrament of Marriage takes place with the exchange of vows/consent. A Marriage that is not consummated cannot "easily" be annulled it can be set aside for specific purposes stated in Canon Law by the Pope. By the way I understand that celibate marriage was not unknown in Jewish culture. Canon Law requires that the person entering Marriage be capable of consummating the Marriage at the time the Marriage takes place.
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  #12  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:24 am
mike182d mike182d is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaGeek
I understand this, but why would the Church define canon law in such a way, if we believe that Mary and Joseph's marriage was valid?
Hmm...a bit tougher. I'm not sure exactly why it would have changed, but it may have to do with a revelation of Jesus Christ and the Eucharist and the understanding of the bridegroom physically becoming one with His bride, the Church.
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  #13  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:26 am
Catholic2003 Catholic2003 is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elzee
This has always confused me. I've always heard that a marriage can easily be annulled if it has not been consummated. Is this true? Also, on a cd I have on Marriage and the Eucharist (I can't remember if it's the one by Christopoher West or John Martignoni) I seem to remmber one of them saying the 'marital embrace' is what completes the sacrament of marriage - 'and the 2 shall become one flesh'.
A valid, sacramental, but unconsumated marriage can be dissolved by the Holy Father. I won't say the process is "easy". This is different than a decree of nullity (i.e., annulment), where a marriage that is already invalid is officially declared to be so.

Consumation makes a valid and sacramental marriage indissoluble. So in that sense it "completes" or "seals" the sacrament. But the unconsumated marriage was already valid and sacramental.
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  #14  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:33 am
Catholic2003 Catholic2003 is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaGeek
The code of canon law states that if a couple cannot consummate their marriage they cannot be married in the Catholic church.

...

I just don't understand how this reconciles with Mary and Joseph's marriage, which was determined from the start to not be consummated.
In order for Mary and Joseph's marriage to be valid, the following must have been true:
  • Mary was (physically and mentally) able to consumate the marriage.
  • Joseph was (physically and mentally) able to consumate the marriage.
  • Had Joseph asked to consumate the marriage, Mary would have obliged because of her marriage vows.
  • Had Mary asked to consumate the marriage, Joseph would have obliged because of his marriage vows.
Thus, since Mary and Joseph's marriage was valid, I believe that all the above statements are true.
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  #15  
Old Jun 1, '05, 6:34 am
mike182d mike182d is offline
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Default Re: Mary and Joseph's Marriage never Consummated

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaGeek
If you are referring to children, the Church teaches that sterile couples can get married in the Church. It is only impotent couples who cannot.

Who are we to judge the vocation of an individual? Two HIV sufferers may be called to marriage for the express purpose of adopting HIV babies, to love and nurture them for their short lives. Why would we deny them such a calling?

I'm not trying to bash the church here. I'm a Catholic, faithful to church teachings. Accepting and understanding are two different things, however. I thought the purpose of apologetics was to understand the why of Catholic theology.
I know you're not trying to bash the Church; these are tough issues. But I think the root of it all has to do with our lack of understanding of marriage as a Sacrament and vocation. It really wasn't until Theology of the Body that the Sacrament began to be truly understood in terms of the Eucharist and its proper role in our salvation history.

Personally, I think marriage should be treated exactly like the priesthood. People apply to seminary, go through rigorous study for six years (minimum) to understand the role of the priest, theology, and how their role fits into God's plan. However, when two people decide to get married, often the priest just makes them sign a paper and their off on their own. If marriage is as crucial to the life of the Church as the Catholic Church says it is, it needs to be treated as such. I think there should be marriage "seminaries" where two people who wish to get married study the role of the married person in the Church, the theology of marriage, NFP, and even practical matters like how to raise kids. Seriously, I'm often struck by how unprepared engaged couples are for marriage and it makes the disillusionment phase of their marriage even more difficult because of it, increasing the odds of divorce.

The fact of the matter is that marriage is not just something people who can't become religious do. It is not a "vocation for the rest of us," so to speak. It is just as crucial to the life of the Church as the priesthood itself, as John Paul II so wonderfully explained, and it needs to be treated with the same regard.

In those regards, if the Church has a right to judge a seminarian's vocation to the priesthood, they have every right to judge a person's vocation to marriage.
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