It occurs to me that living with someone of the opposite sex does not always imply that you are having sex with them.
I would argue that that is true only as an academic exercise - at least in American culture. I know when I see a couple with a family, wearing wedding rings, getting out of a van to go to mass with a bunch of kids calling them mommy and daddy, and the couple going up to communion together and holding hands and putting his arm around her as she leans towards him the pew while listening to the homily or singing a hymn, I don’t think - they’re probably brother and sister; or they probably are living in complete continence. No, I think they are a faithfully, loving married Catholic couple who takes their faith seriously and lives as a witness to the world of Christ’s loving relationship with His people. Actually these days, I ‘wonder’ if they are or not.
No I think people think (or should be able to think) they are legit if they look legit. To support this claim, we see that if people didn’t presume they were legit, there would not be the “concern of creating scandal” that is often sited. What scandal except that people DO presume they are oriented towards sexual relations - otherwise, why would they be married instead of just roommates?
One example from our tradition is the occasional practice of continent marriages, where couples marry and live together, but agree not to have sex.
I didn’t catch what ‘your tradition’ was or meant.
I suspect that it isn’t mentioned because by Canon law (Roman Catholic - Latin Rite) it wouldn’t be a marriage. Marriage has 3 essential elements (exclusivity, permanence and procreation) and is oriented to 2 goals procreation and the ‘good of the spouses’. Generally speaking, a marriage is nullified if it can be shown that the spouses entered into their marriage not intending any one of these things. So if it can be clearly shown that one of the spouse was not open to the possibility of procreation, then they were never married - ie. the marriage is invalid. BTW, technically, its the act of procreation, not procreation itself, since its kind of up to God to actually have the result - conception; our obligation is to be willing to perform the unobstructed act. Also, marriages that are not consummated can be nullified.
(see St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas)." Can you be more specific with your citations? That’s a big chunk of text to search.
It is and I can see if I can dig some up. I have read a lot over the years. Here’s one I dug up from an old post. It is Burke talking about St. Thomas:
But marriage, he says, cannot come into being without “fides in suis principiis”. What does St. Thomas mean by this more basic “fides” which must be intended, and which binds with such a radical obligation that its non-acceptance invalidates consent? Does this more fundamental “fides” consist simply in the intention of sexual fidelity, coinciding with the moral obligation of no adultery? Although, prima facie, that might seem to be St. Thomas’ meaning, both moral theology and jurisprudence right down to our days have resisted such a conclusion. Sanchez teaches clearly: “It is possible to contract a valid marriage, with the intention of not keeping faith” (De S. Matrimonii Sacramento, L. II, disp. 29, n. 11).
To analyse St. Thomas’ thought properly, we must remember that here he is seeking out the very principles of conjugality: the basic properties of the conjugal union. Marital consent must involve an intention to respect them. Just as one cannot reject the procreative or the indissoluble nature of the conjugal relationship, neither can one reject its exclusive character. It is then that faith which “pertains to unity” - to the unity not just of the marital copula but of the marriage bond - which one must intend to observe: intending, that is, to accept one’s partner as unique spouse, and not to break this faith one has pledged by taking another husband or wife.
The “bonum fidei in suo principio” (faith in their principles) is therefore to be essentially referred not to mere physical fidelity, but to the oneness of conjugality. In the “Supplementum” (q. 67, art. 3 ad 5), St. Thomas explicitly refers the “singularitas uxoris” to the “bonum fidei”, just as elsewhere he speaks of that “singularitas quam in uxore quaerunt” (I-II, q. 28, art. 4). Physical fidelity pertains to fides “in se”. The obligation to observe it is unquestioned; but since it does not touch the heart - the very principle - of the marital bond, the intention not to observe it does not, of itself, invalidate consent.
So he’s saying that the oneness of conjugality, not just the physical fidelity, ie. the bond is what is at the center and that if just the physical part is not intended, that that failure is not enough to prove invalidity. Ie. not intending to be physically faithful in itself is not enough because that’s not all that the bonum fidei refers to. It refers to the bond which has a physical dimension to it. Or more specifically the conjugality.