Defending Marriage

I listen to the podcast of CAL so I am usually a little behind. I just recently listened to the episodes where CAL was only addressing people that wanted to redefine marriage.

As I listened I had a couple thoughts that I am now struggling with and would like some input on.

  1. It was mentioned that if someone was not able to participate in the sexual act (a eunuch or someone that was physically unable to) would be excluded from marriage since the sexual act as open to procreation is an essential quality of true marriage. This made me think of Mary and Joseph and the fact that they never consummated their marriage. How do we reconcile these two ideas? Were Joseph and Mary in a true marriage?

  2. Also, with the sexual act having an end goal of procreation and marriage being the institution in which this end goal is encompassed, wouldn’t this justify premarital sex as a way to ensure that procreation was in fact a possibility between the couple seeking marriage? Couples sometimes get married and then come to the realization that they are unable to have children (this being one of the major arguments against the true definition of marriage). With procreation as an end goal of sex, and this being an intrinsic quality to marriage, shouldn’t the couple first be sure that this goal can be accomplished? And I’ve heard of this in other cultures, where the intended couple first have sex and if, and only if, the woman gets pregnant do they get married.

And I am asking this in hopes of finding a way to approach someone who is NOT for the true definition of marriage, which would exclude the most obvious responses such as “It is not what God intended.”

Thank you in advance for your thoughts on the subject.

Mary and Joseph were not **unable **to engage in the marital embrace. There is nothing to reconcile.



Marriage is *ordered to *procreation. Not every marriage results in procreation. Sterility is not an impedimenet to valid marriage.

Again, marriage is ordered to procreation. There is a distinct difference between this and your assertion that it is an “end goal” and that it is an “intrinsic quality” of marriage.

Thank you. Looks like my rhetoric needs to be adjusted.

In my bible it’s written that Jesus had brothers and sisters… I know the catholic church teaches that Joseph and Mary never had any sexual relation, but it’s not biblical. And personally, I believe what the bible says.

More precisely to the OP:

You either misunderstood or the guest/host expressed himself poorly. A true marriage is a true marriage even in the absence of any actual sexual act.


In your Bible, is everyone identified as a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ someone who shares both mother and father with someone? Or, in some cases, aren’t stepbrothers and half-brothers included in this description? Moreover, aren’t some who have no physical sibling relationship nevertheless described as a ‘brother’? (p.s., does your Bible have Genesis 14:14? In it, Lot (Abram’s nephew) is described as Abram’s ἀδελφὸς (‘brother’)… :wink: )

And personally, I believe what the bible says.

That’s good to hear. Your Bible shows that Jesus ‘gives’ his mother Mary to the apostle John, right? And, of course, this could never happen in Jewish culture if there were another child of Mary’s who could take Mary in and care for her, right? So… that means Mary had no other children, right? It’s good to believe in what the Bible says, isn’t it? :wink:

Do you all know of a good source for the proper understanding of a Catholic marriage? There is so much confusion I have.

After reading this thread, I still do not understand whether or not an eunuch can marry? If not, what about couples who “can” procreate but choose not to?
What about old couples who get married in their 60’s and 70’s; are those valid marriages?
What about a couple I know who chooses not to have children but rather just live a monogamous sexual relationship; is that a valid marriage?

Any assistance would be much appreciated!

If you haven’t done so, please read the section on Marriage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

There are only four brethren of Jesus named in the Gospels: **Matthew 13:55 ** “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”

**Mark 6:2-3 ** - “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”

Let’s begin with James. There are two men named James among the disciples. One, of course, is the brother of John and the son of Zebedee. This cannot be him then. So, this is the other James, called in Scripture James the less: Mark 15:40: “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom were Mary Magdalene, and ** Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joseph,** and Salome.” (emphasis added)
So James is indeed the son of a woman named Mary. Not only that, but Joseph is his brother. That’s two of the four, right? Then, in Matthew, reciting the names of the twelve: Matt 10:3: “…'James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus.” (emphasis added)
This too is talking of James the less, as the other James, son of Zebedee, is spoken of in the previous verse. It is NOT a trick or really that hard! * Alphaeus* is this James’ father, not Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of the Lord.

Now go to John also speaking of those witnessing the Crucifixion: John 19:25: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother (Mary) and His mothers sister, *** Mary the wife of Cleophas***, and * Mary Magdalene*.” (emphasis added)
Look up John 19:25 at and click the ‘C’ icon (for the Strong’s Concordance), then click the Strong’s number for the name Cleophas. It comes up “father of James the less, the husband of Mary the sister of the mother of Jesus.”

Did you get that? That Mary, who was the mother of James the less, and of Joseph, from Mark 15:40, is the wife of Cleophas, the father of James the less, and she is called the ‘sister’ of Our Lord’s mother - Mary!

So, two of the four ‘brothers’ have been identified as the children of parents other than Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Of the brothers named, that still leaves Jude and Simon. Next, Jude: Acts 1:13 ** "…James, the son of Alphaeus , and Simon Zelo’tes, and ** Jude the brother of James…" (emphasis added)
There goes Jude out of the mix! *** Matter of fact, Jude says the same in his own epistle: Jude 1:1 "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ *** and brother of James…" (emphasis added)
Lastly, Simon. Simon, called the Zealot, is identified as coming from Cana, not Nazareth as were Joseph, Mary and the Christ! Luke 6:15 "and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and ** Simon who was called the Zealot
," (emphasis added)

Mark 3:18 “Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and ** Simon the Cananaean**…” (emphasis added)

Matt 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. (emphasis added)
Simon is a Cananean, while Jesus is a Nazarene!

We see that Simon the Zealot being from Cana, and a ‘brethren’ or ‘brother’ of the Christ. Let’s go to John’s Gospel, chapter 2. Mary and Our Lord are invited to a wedding there. So, close business associates, maybe, of Joseph from the carpentry trade, or more likely - family, or brethren, relatives, are having this wedding. Like, maybe the Holy Family had actual kinfolk in Cana, be they cousins, in-laws, nephews, aunts, uncles, all of which are routinely called ‘brethren’.

Remember what Mary said to the servants? She told them to ‘Do as He says.’

Think about that a second? What would give this humble woman from Nazareth any position to so speak to the servants of someone else in an entirely different town, at their wedding? The simplest and most easily understood answer would be – she is a family relation to those giving the wedding feast…

So Simon is from Cana, and a ‘brother’ of the Lord! He’s not a sibling though, but very likely related. And James, Joseph and Jude all have the same father and mother, and it is not Joseph and the Virgin Mary, but their mother is named Mary and called the sister of Jesus’ mother Mary. Even here ‘sister’ may not mean blood sibling, or we have two sisters with the same name in the same family.

We now return to our regularly-scheduled thread…

In Acts 1:15 we read, “In those days Peter rising up in the midst of the brethren, said: (now the number of persons together was about an hundred and twenty) …”

		 		 	 	 That's a lot of brothers of Jesus!
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