Essential Obligations of Marriage in Canon 1095.3 (split from the why are you single thread per Chevalier's request)


#1

[quote=Code of Canon Law]Can. 1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage:

1/ those who lack the sufficient use of reason;

2/ those who suVer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and duties mutually to be handed over and accepted;

3/ those who are not able to assume the essential obligations of marriage for causes of a psychic nature.
[/quote]

vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3Z.HTM

I read that EWTN article, and you’ll notice in a later post I linked to it myself. That said, when I linked it I also pointed out that it has absolutely no references aside from the quoted pieces of Canon Law.

That particular list of essential obligations of marriage is not in the Canon Law, but is the personal interpretation of the individual who wrote the article. He gives no sources!

While I have nothing against EWTN contributors or Jimmy Akin, I see no reason to value their personal opinion as Catholics any more than the personal opinion of any other Catholic.

I would like to see an official Church source listing the essential obligations of marriage, not someone’s individual interpretation of the phrase used in Canon Law.

[quote=chevalier]Think we’ve dealt with that part.
[/quote]

We really haven’t dealt with this. The only thing you have linked is an unsourced EWTN article. I guess you showed me what an individual Catholic thinks. This to me is entirely irrelevant, and I would like to see an official source from the Church listing the essential obligations of marriage that 1095.3 is talking about, not one man’s interpretation of it.

[quote=chevalier]Anyway, once again, I’ve never claimed that actually having and bringing up children is an essential duty. The duty is to accept and bring up the offspring as it comes. But removing that duty from marriage invalidates. Being unable to assume that duty for psychic reasons invalidates.
[/quote]

You are splitting hairs at this point. In an earlier post you told me that ability cannot be an essential obligation, but that having and bringing up children is.

[quote=chevalier]Ability is not an obligation because ability cannot be an obligation. Having and bringing up children may be an obligation, and is.
[/quote]

Now you’re saying that being unable to assume the duty to accept and bring up offspring invalidates (only for psychic reasons too, if someone is physically disabled and can’t “assume the essential duty” he’s good to go).

All this is completely irrelevant until we know what essential obligations 1095.3 is referring to. You seem to agree with the EWTN contributor’s interpretation, I don’t. I’m sure we both know that just as there are ultra-liberal Catholics there are also ultra-Conservative Catholics (like the kind who’ll argue that NFP can only be used if the woman is going to die) and that neither represents the Church’s position.


#2

Firstly, if you want to read on the essential obligations of matrimony from a hardcore canon law perspective, I recommend this article:

cormacburke.or.ke/node/618

Generally, essential obligations of marriage will start from the three goods defined by St. Augustine, which would be fides (faith, exclusivity), sacramentum (indissolubility), proles (progeny, procreativity, openness to life). This author has some trouble finding essential obligations outside the three goods, although the Pope himself,i.e. John Paul II who promulgated the current Code, considered the essential obligations up for definition by jurisprudence, whereas if it had come down to the three goods, he would have said that.

I never have said that actually having children is an essential obligation of matrimony, in the sense that failing to have children for any reason whatsoever would imply invalid marriage. Having and bringing up children is one of the ends of matrimony and it's not clear among canonists whether essential obligations can follow from the ends.

However, openness to life within the good of progeny ("bonum prolis") can be counted among the essential obligations. In the example that we have been talking about, a choice was involved always to be on NFP because of a perceived need for it, the reasons for said need being psychic in nature--you cited depression but it was just an example and neither of us is an expert in personality disorders (at least I have this impression).

My point is that while obviously people on deathbed can marry and people who are infertile can marry, this does not affect their will itself because they don't "will" to be infertile or to be on deathbed, or to have a death sentence, and so on and so forth. Those reasons don't find reflection in canon law per se. What finds reflection is reasons of a psychic nature, meaning that reasons of a physical or judicial (said death sentence) and other nature do not cause invalidity, whereas reasons of a psychic nature do.

I will agree that it can be argued that a person deciding always to be on NFP fulfils the obligation following from bonum prolis in some minimal way, that is, engaging in human acts suitable for procreation. However, while NFP itself does not make a sexual act "closed to life", I have issues with the choice of NFP forever and with the mind to avoiding pregnancy for the whole duration of marriage. Theoretically, room is left for conception and the spouses may be decided to accept and bring up the offspring that God grants them, but from day one an intention is present to avoid pregnancy.

This is not an intention to make vows of continence for the sake of continence, for the sake of continence and not of avoidance of pregnancy, and with keeping in mind that the spouses do mutually donate their procreative power to each other, to the point it may be possible for one spouse to change mind about the vow (or say, it would appear the vow wasn't successfully made) and claim the right to procreative intercourse.

This appears to be an exchange of the right to the procreative power, but one coming with a lot of reservations in the intent (I am not ready now, we agree I am not ready but I won't change my mind if you do and I won't have children as long as I'm depressed which may well be permanent), or absent exclusion (which I wouldn't want to call simulation here), we could be dealing with a psychic inability to effectuate the object of the consent preventing the ability to form one's will in such a way as successfully to transfer the right. The inability could consist in being psychically unable to be a parent (including coming to terms with conception) or in an inability--despite making the promise in a general way--ever to get around to fulfilling that promise in any singular situation. If there is always an, "I'm not ready yet," chances are there has always been a psychic inability to become ready.

Contrary to what may seem to you, I do not approach the problem from the point of view of actually having children, but from the point of view of openness. It seems NFP is open enough to prevent the lack of openness in such a way as to prevent the intercourse from being contraceptive, but do remember that this is not absolute with NFP and the use of NFP does not prevent a contraceptive mentality from forming an we do not normally deal with a case in which a person decides to use NFP from day one to day last, but only for some time for just causes (which in some cases could never end). Thus, from my point of view, entering into marriage with the intent that children never be conceived unless NFP fails (barring that one e.g. expects the NFP to fail at least once, in which case the child would be accepted), in my view that casts very serious doubts on whether one truly confers the right to his procreativity on the spouse, or accepts that right from the spouse. Unfortunately, I'm not qualified enough to answer this question in a proper way (and I'm sure it's no piece of cake for real canonists, either), that is clear and convincing, if not authoritative, but my perception is that there is no complete consent. In your example, there is no intent for the perceived cause for NFP to keep continuing forever, but there is intent to use that reason, instead of conceiving the children, indefinitely. In my view, this puts constraints on the transfer of the right over one's procreativity to the spouse (or the acceptance of it).


#3

As far as the inability goes, I don't believe that we should stop at non-contraceptive intercourse physically being there, but we should look if there is a compulsion absolutely preventing one from... from what? Procreativity? I suppose we again hit the question whether limiting oneself to constant NFP fulfils the criterion of being open--especially in some minimal way, as that minimal way would be enough to prevent the marriage from being invalid, even despite the idea behind the use of NFP would be to avoid pregnancy altogether, not to space children.

In my view, we could have two things here: the perceived inability to be a parent, resulting from evaluation of the effects of a psychic issue (which could qualify as incapacity due to a cause of a psychic nature if true, but not if merely perceived while in fact untrue, as long as we don't accept the use of NFP with a token failure rate as minimally fulfilling the essential duty regarding procreativity), or a form of mental block against having children, which one would supposedly be trying to outwait, resulting no matter from where, as long as it were absolute and insurmountable.

Now you can argue it's possible there's no mental block whatsoever, there is no psychic incapacity to fulfil the obligation to non-contraceptive intercourse, there is only the thing that one of the spouses is depressed and thus, "having children would be too much for her," in your view justifying entering into marriage with the intent that as long as said depression lasts, there will be no children (which already reminds me of predicating the consent on a future condition), even if the depression should be expected to be permanent (permanency being more characteristis of other psychic issues, but let's keep the example). So supposedly the spouses would gladly welcome children if their cause for the use of NFP should desist.

In my view, that still looks like partial consent or like a mental block. Now supposing, as you insist, that such is not the case and the spouses have no will against children but merely react to the wife's depression, I would have more sympathy towards the idea of the marriage being valid, although I would not like to decide a declarative (i.e. is it there or isn't it there?) legal issue on the basis of sympathy because sympathy has no bearing on the reality of the case and could be misleading.

Another potentially misleading motivation could be an attempt morally to evaluate certain conditions in which people find themselves. However, the validity of marriage does not depend on the morality of the parties and therefore moral superiority or inferiority is not an issue. Thus a condition being seen as deprived of a certain immorality normally expected in other conditions (simulation, for example--we expect this is a lie and therefore morally reprehensible) does not necessarily result more likely in a valid marriage than the other condition. Someone could be a holy person and a great intellectual but still be incapable of validly contracting marriage (as unlikely as this is). Most specifically, "they didn't do anything to put themselves in this condition," does not prevent invalidity the same way it would prevent moral responsibility. Validity is not a matter of moral responsibility, nor is it a punishment.

Yet another misleading point could be trying to see a psychic issue on the same level as infertility, which it is not. Infertility has its canon saying it doesn't invalidate unless fertility is specifically and principally intended (which makes a construct similar to how canon law deals with error as to a person's quality). Psychical incapacities have their canon saying they invalidate. One can use some analogy with fertility in trying to find out what exactly the obligation coming from the bonum prolis entails but not in whether incapacity to fulfil that obligation can be "justified" in some way as to prevent invalidity (and it's not a moral issue anyway). And, incapacity to fulfil does mean incapacity to assume. Permanent incapacity to fulfil practically means permanent incapacity to assume. Theoretically, a person being in a temporary disorder at the time of the wedding and then going through a stream of subsequent independent personality disorders after the point of the wedding until the end of the marriage, said subsequent disorders not having existed in an incapacitating degree at the moment of the wedding, that person would likely (in this unlikely case) have had the capacity to assume the duties, merely being prevented from fulfilment. Never gaining the psychic capacity would not invalidate here. However, the case is different with a single disorder present at the moment of the wedding and permanent. It is hard to argue that the person is able to assume the duties somehow despite never being able to fulfil them, the disorder at the point of the wedding being a mere difficulty and the subsequent ones starting only after the wedding and being thus irrelevant to validity (unless we should discover a condition making the person always have this or that disorder, which would be equivalent to a poor immune system, but I don't know much about psychiatry, so I don't know if something of this kind could exist).


#4

Perhaps it's worth noting that a temporary (non-permanent) disorder does not have to be invalidating. Basically, if it results in incapacity, it invalidates. If it results in mere difficulty, it does not invalidate. Question is whether non-permanent disorders can invalidate and especially if permanent ones perceived as non-permanent in good faith could not invalidate. I recognise that the author I linked, who is a Rotal judge, claims that overcoming an issue, even after years, means it was a difficulty but not incapacity, but here I ask, okay, suppose we don't declare it invalid even if the other person had withdrawn consent before the other overcame the issue, we say it was just a difficulty, no convalidation necessary etc., but what if the other spouse manages to challenge the validity of the marriage while the affected spouse has not yet overcome the issue but the affected spouse later recovers after the nullity declaration, say 40 years after it? Does that mean the nullity declaration was objectively wrong (and it doesn't matter whose fault, if anyone's it was, as an objectively wrong declaration always means the marriage is valid, simply because the declaration doesn't dissolve anything) and the other spouse has objectively fornicated for 40 years?


#5

The answer, in my view, is that the incapacity to assume need not necessarily be permanent, but trouble starts from it being different ("ontologically", let's say) from inability to fulfil. Permanent inability to fulfil would easily suggest (but not definitely establish) that there was a disorder in the person which prevented him from ever being able to fulfil the obligations, so he hardly was in a position--at the point of making the consent (and only this point matters per se)--to dispose of a right he was supposed to confer (his act of will was intrisically sufficient, that is not affected by insufficiency of reason or judgement (knowledge included), but extrinsically ineffective, cf. promising not to steal if you're a cleptomaniac). The question is difficult what if the disorder were something normally temporary but lasting a year after a year and thus the whole marriage? I would be inclined to say that it wouldn't invalidate because a person expecting the end of the disorder would be targetting an object not outside the scope of his will... except we are dealing with the objective reality, not with the perception of the person taking the vows. The lack of knowledge of any disorder whatsoever wouldn't prevent invalidity, so why should mistake as to the temporary nature of a more permanent (how permanent?) disorder? Thus, in my view, we need to come up with a formula which would address the matter at the moment of taking the vows. It can't be denied that incapacity to assume existing at that point invalidates (and no one denies that). The problem is only with finding out whether there was such an incapacity. Thus in my view a temporary incapacity is possible and it only matters whether the person is "capable" at the moment of consenting, the rest being a matter of convalidation of an initially invalid marriage. Obviously, we need something better than an examination of the whole life, as some people seeking declarations are not quite even halfway through it. Thus I have a problem with the idea of a non-permanent disorder or an eventually cured disorder being seen as conclusively not invalidating. After all, it is possible that incapacity to assume never ceases as long as incapacity to fulfil persists, except that it simply can't be said that a one-year (say) episode, even though present at the moment of marriage, does not invalidate. Or does it, after all? Maybe the person wasn't able to consent to marriage throughout that year, during which the putative (supposed) spouse withdrew consent and valid marriage never occurred? I have no problem with the idea of someone lacking capacity throughout a short period of time, but that capacity seems to look at the whole life rather than the "right now", in the sense that, e.g. a situation along the lines of, "I have an absolute compulsion to promiscuity at this point. It will last at least one year, but after that point it will cease and I will forever be tempted but never compelled. Will you marry me?" generally seems to produce a valid marriage, even though there's clearly incapacity for the current moment but not for the whole life. This, however, shouldn't mean that the year extending by another year and so on ad infinitum should benefit from this conclusion as if it were a series of short periods instead of one long period. It could also be said, however, that, theoretically, expecting to live for 30 years with a disorder and be free afterwards, should not invalidate, so what do we do with nullity declarations issued to people who recovered after their declarations? Obviously, the declaration itself does not make or unmake a valid marriage, let alone take away the sacrament. I suppose the very existence of vetitum in canon law, whereby people are prohibited from attempting again to marry without the bishop's consent issued after consulting an expert. If their recovery always meant there had been no incapacity, that would make vetitum unnecessary because upon recovery they should be deemed always to have remained validly married to the "first" spouse! This clearly isn't the case. This is hazy, but this is all I can get my mind to produce right now. In my view, it shows that permanence or non-permanence does not conclusively define capacity or incapacity, as the law obviously makes room for non-permanent causes under can. 1095, as the existence of the vetitum shows. This is somewhat in line with what Msgr. Burke (the author of the articles I linked) said about it being a pragmatic argument that overcoming the issue at a later time meant there was no incapacity but only difficulty. Unfortunately, I cannot imagine a good formula for establishing the incapacity or addressing the problem of short duration incapacities.

To apply the above to our example, I do not think that the disorder's prolonging year by year would merely on the grounds of the parties' consciousness rule out invalidity, even despite its duration's adding up to a continuous term that lasted until death (say). At the same time, the party's consciousness of the ineffectiveness of his will being only temporary does question whether the party really can't assume the duties for the future, and any rate, the consent is indeed of itself fixed in the present. Guess we can't get any better?


#6

This said, having or not having a just cause for NFP could be seen as evidential in whether someone truly always has a good cause or is merely always coming up with excuses, that is possibly having a mental block or insufficient maturity. This of itself has no direct impact, however, as the matter would be decided firstly by judging whether non-contraceptive intercourse always with NFP by design at a very low level of probability of conception (especially that safely cutting off the frontier days increases the probability of avoiding pregnancy, so limiting the working infertile period to one day a month gets very close to 100%) fulfils the minimum under the essential obligation coming from the good of progeny (Augustinian "proles"). If it does, then canon 1095 sec. 3 (as canonists call it, "no. 3") simply doesn't apply because there's no psychic inability to assume any obligations. On the other hand, if fulfilling, even minimally, the obligation coming from the bonum prolis, is not as simple as forever using NFP but never contracepting or denying intercourse, then we have a problem, depending on what the fulfilment of the obligation depends on, and it's worth noting that an obligation does not need to be fulfilled for marriage to be valid--it needs not to be absolutely prevented from fulfilment by any psychic cause. Merely failing to fulfil an obligation does not mean the marriage was invalid, such as e.g. never having intercourse, provided the consent to that part of marriage was at all possible for the subject and was not simulated, or divorcing after a wedding that was without simulation and without being absolutely compelled to divorce by a psychic cause existing already at the point of the wedding.

The point here, again, is not never having children, or even not positively intending never to have children. The problem can consist in either not assuming an obligation, which means exclusion because otherwise the duties are assumed by the wedding itself and need not a separate act of will (exclusion is a positive act of will that comes down to not conferring or accepting a right that must be conferred and accepted for marriage to occur), or not being able to assume it when trying to, in light of whether using NFP with intent to avoid any pregnancy qualifies for the obligation of openness to life.

On a final note, I'm rather sure this didn't convince you to my point of view, which is of doubts regarding the validity of marriages intended to practice NFP forever or in which at least one of the partners is psychically unable to get past NFP, but I hope it has shown you where I'm coming from and what reasons I have to hold my position.

Furthermore, as we have discussed also whether some categories of people "should" or "should not" marry, then I could add that if I were a priest or deacon or some other person authorised to witness marriages, I would not witness a marriage that were intended to expected to use NFP indefinitely, or expected to "have to" use NFP forever because of a psychic cause, but I would witness one where the psychic cause of someone's not being able to get past the use of NFP to avoid any single pregnancy's ever occurring (which is different from merely family planning because it is pregnancy avoiding) were justifiably regarded as a temporary thing not preventing the person from having the general ability to assume the obligation of openness to life. I would be extremely weary of any arguments using phrasing such as, "handling children would be too much for her", i.e. using language unsympathetic to the idea of having children, appearing to be possible symptoms of a mental block or an intent to limit the conferral of rights and so on. If I sat on a tribunal, then, on the contrary, I would stick with the presumption of validity, perhaps finding not enough proof of invalidity but having my doubts regardless (doubts not being enough to rule a marriage invalid).


#7

If I may add something yet at this point, the approach may be different in case of simulation and incapacity. This is to say the invalidating "object" of incapacity may be different from the invalidating "object" of simulation. Can. 1095 no. 3 deals with incapacity to assume essential obligations of marriage due to defective will (the person can't effectively will what he's promising and the cause is psychic), (here it being worth noting that no. 2 refers to, "essential matrimonial rights and duties mutually to be handed over and accepted," when it comes to discretion of judgement, so this too could have a slightly different invalidating "object",) and c. 1101 §2 reads: "If, however, either or both of the parties by a positive act of the will exclude marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly." Essential properties are defined in c. 1056 and they are unity and idissolubility, but "elements" yet remain and it seems possible that excluding an element by a positive act of will could invalidate even where being psychically incapable of fulfilling that element couldn't. After all, exclusion is a whole different problem from incapacity (an incapable person isn't excluding anything and is not making positive choices).

I would suggest reading this article: cormacburke.or.ke/node/622. Notably, one of the examples of simulation is exclusion of children rather than exclusion of non-contraceptive intercourse:

Simulation, one should note, implies conscious deception: deception of the other party, when it is unilateral (as where one, unknown to the other, excludes a permanent bond), or deception of society (at least of that particular society which is the Church within which the persons choose to marry), when it is bilateral (as when both by common agreement totally exclude children).


Exclusion of the "bonum prolis". The central issue is whether the natural openness of marriage and married love to procreation was excluded or not (There is no obligation to procreate; only to give a right to procreative acts, which right can be waived by mutual accord). Older jurisprudence centered on the conjugal act itself, on the "ius in corpus"; and reduced the question of possible nullity to whether or not the right to that act in its physical integrity was granted at consent. In that approach an intention such as constantly to use morning-after pills, to have recourse to abortion, etc. would not be considered simulation. Current rotal jurisprudence has abandoned this merely "physicalist" approach and, going back in fact to St. Thomas's analysis, says that it is the "intentio prolis" (Suppl., q. 49, art. 3), or better "openness to procreation", that cannot be excluded without invalidating consent.

Again older jurisprudence was prone to hold that any type of "temporary" exclusion, in the sense of postponement of having children, invalidated (cf. c. Wynen, May 6, 1941: vol. 33, p. 358; c. Staffa, August 5, 1949: vol. 41, p. 464, etc). In harmony with current magisterial teaching on responsible parenthood, this is no longer held: cf. c. De Jorio, July 22, 1964, vol. 56, p. 643; c. Brennan, Feb. 19, 1965, vol. 57, p. 170; c. Bejan, Nov. 10, 1971, vol. 63, p. 857; c. Ewers, May 8, 1971, vol. 63, p. 388; c. Giannecchini, Jan. 14, 1982, vol. 74, p. 6; c. Bruno, Oct. 28, 1983, vol. 75, p. 540; c. Agustoni, Nov. 7, 1986, n. 3; c. Stankiewicz, Feb. 28, 1989, vol. 81, p. 165; c. Funghini, Apr. 17, 1991, vol. 83, p. 249; c. Bruno, Feb. 1, 1991, vol. 83, p. 68; c. De Lanversin, Nov. 10, 1992, vol 84, p. 537; c. Burke, Dec. 15, 1994, etc.
There are of course not a few situations where judgment becomes quite difficult. For instance, where there has been an agreement between the couple to postpone starting a family "for X years", or "until we are earning so much money", etc. and, before the stipulation has been fulfilled, one of the two proposes trying to have a child, and the other refuses. I tend to doubt there would be juridic grounds for declaring the marriage invalid, unless c. 1098 on deceit could be invoked.
It would of course be different if one of the two unilaterally decided to postpone having children for a number of years, or to have just one or two children and no more, and later steadfastly refused the request of the other to start a family before he or she felt ready, or to have another child once the one or two had been born. While this indeed appears as a "refined" sort of simulation, I feel that in practice it too would perhaps be more simply handled under "dolus", and the result should be a declaration of nullity.

However, it must be pointed out that agreement to exclude having children under some circumstances doesn't necessarily mean invalidating exclusion of children, but this doesn't deal away with the problem what if the circumstance is expected to be permanent. It might be worth noting that one cannot validly marry while subjecting the marriage to a future condition (c. 1102). Thus one cannot intend to make the "grant of rights" effective only if certain conditions will (or will not) have been met (although a mutual agreement to grant in full but not to exercise rights won't invalidate, but again, it won't be absolutely binding, either).


#8

I have such a heart condition. I married young, outside of the church and at the time my heart had not degenerated enough to make pregnancy fatal. We had one child, it was a high risk pregnancy, it was probably damaging but it was not fatal. Our daughter’s birth lead us back to the church. I wanted more children but the second and third opinions of doctors including an top cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic said another pregnancy would mostly take my life. And by now as my heart condition has progressed it most certainly would barring a miracle.

We use NFP and have for 13 years. Our marriage was convalidated in 2004. We had changed parishes at the time. Our original parish never told us we needed to be convalidated even though my husband went through the RCIA program.

At our new parish, a very orthodox and tradtional one, Father knew we were using NFP indefinitely at this point. He had no issue convalidating our marriage.

And yes I use NFP (conservatively) knowing if I do become pregnant I could die. And yes my husband has sex with me knowing this as well. Intimacy is an important part of our marriage. My life will most likely be shorter than most. I will not spend the rest of my life, the rest of my marriage not sharing that intimacy with my husband. We follow God’s will and place our lives in His hands. I trust in God and His plan. If I become pregnant despite using what the Church says is acceptable for those in my position -then God’s will be done. So far for the last 13 years that has not been His will.

(I took these quotes from the other thread so as not to continue to derail the original thread.)


#9

My point is that while obviously people on deathbed can marry and people who are infertile can marry, this does not affect their will itself because they don't "will" to be infertile or to be on deathbed, or to have a death sentence, and so on and so forth. Those reasons don't find reflection in canon law per se. What finds reflection is reasons of a psychic nature, meaning that reasons of a physical or judicial (said death sentence) and other nature do not cause invalidity, whereas reasons of a psychic nature do.

I wonder if some of the disagreement is rooted in the way "reasons of a psychic nature" have been historically understood. People who cannot handle children because they are suffering from depression or bipolar disorder or whatever do not will the illnesses on themselves anymore than someone on a deathbed.

How old is this distinction of physical illnesses from mental illnesses? Since modern understanding of mental illnesses as chemical imbalances in the brain is fairly recent, do you think this could be the reason why illnesses fo the body are treated differently from illnesses of the brain?

we could be dealing with a psychic inability to effectuate the object of the consent preventing the ability to form one's will in such a way as successfully to transfer the right. The inability could consist in being psychically unable to be a parent (including coming to terms with conception) or in an inability--despite making the promise in a general way--ever to get around to fulfilling that promise in any singular situation. If there is always an, "I'm not ready yet," chances are there has always been a psychic inability to become ready.

Again, this just makes me wonder if a lack of understanding of mental illnesses is at the root of the distinction here. Maybe before the chemical imbalance understanding, mental illnesses were viewed as personality or spirituality defects.

There are definitely some mental illnesses that impact the ability consent (like say full blown psychosis), but a clinically depressed individual may be extremely tired and stay in bed all day but still have the full powers of reason and understanding. In this regard, I don't see any difference between them and an otherwise bedridden individual.

we do not normally deal with a case in which a person decides to use NFP from day one to day last, but only for some time for just causes (which in some cases could never end).

I think this is what happens here though. Returning to the example of the depressed individual, she might marry knowing that she is depressed and unable to raise children (a just reason to use NFP) but she only intends to use NFP as long as she has just reasons to do so (in this case remains depressed).

She marries with the intention of stopping NFP should the just reasons disappear.

I wonder if part of our disagreement is that we have misunderstood each other.

That EWTN article mentions that in the past failing to produce a male heir would invalidate a marriage, assuming this was actually the case (the author gives no source) it would seem to show that Canon Law is a human law, and thus a potentially fallible law. Might it have been written differently if its writers understood that countless mental illnesses are no different from physical illnesses in terms of their effect on the powers of reason/consent, but might simply make a person too weak to perform certain functions?

Do you think it makes sense to distinguish between physical illnesses and mental illnesses that do not affect the intellectual faculties, an individual's sense of reality and so on?

Would you say that if a woman can never produce or raise a child for a physical reason (not necessarily talking about infertility, but say someone with physical problems for whom the strain of pregnancy and/or the strain of raising the child would be too much), but marries nonetheless is in a valid marriage even if she never recovers?

On a final note, I'm rather sure this didn't convince you to my point of view, which is of doubts regarding the validity of marriages intended to practice NFP forever or in which at least one of the partners is psychically unable to get past NFP, but I hope it has shown you where I'm coming from and what reasons I have to hold my position.

I think I understand what you're saying, personally I am not sure. I am rather disappointed that the Church has not formally listed the "essential obligations of marriage", but seems to have left these to the interpretations of individuals.

My personal opinion is that it makes no sense to distinguish some mental illnesses from physical illnesses. There are definitely some mental illnesses that alter a person's ability to reason and understand the world, but there are also plenty that don't. Depression is such an example, and in many cases depression simply causes a person to become extremely tired and unable to do much just as a physical illness might. (In fact, I would view a chemical imbalance as a physical illness.)


#10

[quote="flyingfish, post:9, topic:181639"]
I wonder if some of the disagreement is rooted in the way "reasons of a psychic nature" have been historically understood. People who cannot handle children because they are suffering from depression or bipolar disorder or whatever do not will the illnesses on themselves anymore than someone on a deathbed.

How old is this distinction of physical illnesses from mental illnesses? Since modern understanding of mental illnesses as chemical imbalances in the brain is fairly recent, do you think this could be the reason why illnesses fo the body are treated differently from illnesses of the brain?

Again, this just makes me wonder if a lack of understanding of mental illnesses is at the root of the distinction here. Maybe before the chemical imbalance understanding, mental illnesses were viewed as personality or spirituality defects.

There are definitely some mental illnesses that impact the ability consent (like say full blown psychosis), but a clinically depressed individual may be extremely tired and stay in bed all day but still have the full powers of reason and understanding. In this regard, I don't see any difference between them and an otherwise bedridden individual.

I think this is what happens here though. Returning to the example of the depressed individual, she might marry knowing that she is depressed and unable to raise children (a just reason to use NFP) but she only intends to use NFP as long as she has just reasons to do so (in this case remains depressed).

She marries with the intention of stopping NFP should the just reasons disappear.

I wonder if part of our disagreement is that we have misunderstood each other.

That EWTN article mentions that in the past failing to produce a male heir would invalidate a marriage, assuming this was actually the case (the author gives no source) it would seem to show that Canon Law is a human law, and thus a potentially fallible law. Might it have been written differently if its writers understood that countless mental illnesses are no different from physical illnesses in terms of their effect on the powers of reason/consent, but might simply make a person too weak to perform certain functions?

Do you think it makes sense to distinguish between physical illnesses and mental illnesses that do not affect the intellectual faculties, an individual's sense of reality and so on?

Would you say that if a woman can never produce a child for a physical reason, but marries nonetheless is in a valid marriage even if she never recovers?

I think I understand what you're saying, personally I am not sure. I am rather disappointed that the Church has not formally listed the "essential obligations of marriage", but seems to have left these to the interpretations of individuals.

My personal opinion is that it makes no sense to distinguish some mental illnesses from physical illnesses. There are definitely some mental illnesses that alter a person's ability to reason and understand the world, but there are also plenty that don't. Depression is such an example, and in many cases depression simply causes a person to become extremely tired and unable to do much just as a physical illness might. (In fact, I would view a chemical imbalance as a physical illness.)

[/quote]

I'm pretty sure that this explanation by Pope John Paul II will explain the difference between the Contraceptive Mentality, discussed in Humanae Vitae (by Pope Paul VI) and a holy use of Natural Family Planning.

Responsible Parenthood
ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP840801.HTM

The Council text reads as follows: "When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, it is not enough to take only the good intention and the evaluation of motives into account; the objective criteria must be used, criteria drawn from the nature of the human person and human action, criteria which respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; all this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is seriously practiced" (GS 51).

The Council adds: "In questions of birth regulation the sons of the Church, faithful to these principles, are forbidden to use methods disapproved of by the teaching authority of the Church" .....
.....
(GS 51).

[quote="flyingfish, post:9, topic:181639"]

. I am rather disappointed that the Church has not formally listed the "essential obligations of marriage", but seems to have left these to the interpretations of individuals.

**

Catechism on THE GOODS AND REQUIREMENTS OF CONJUGAL LOVE **
vatican.va/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm

[/quote]


#11

vatican.va/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm

I looked through that section of the Catechism as well as the section about regulation of births.

It still does not make it clear what essential obligations of marriage are.

Do you think that someone with severe depression, or severe stress issues that make it difficult for them to function in life much less have children (say depression makes a person extremely tired and they can’t do much) but does not impact their intellect and ability to reason can validly marry with the intention of using NFP to delay children until their mental illness subsides (with the full understanding that it may be it will never subside)?

Having looked through the Catechism and the Code of Canon Law, I don’t think the answer is there.

Do you think someone with a physical illness that would make either having or raising children too much for the person can validly marry with the intention of using NFP throughout the marriage?

If your answer for the physical and mental illness was different, can you explain why?


#12

Flyingfish, as far as depression goes, I suppose it is important to note the fact that while the person so horribly afflicted (I've had it happen to my close friend and ex-girlfriend and witnessed a devastating case in my former highschool crush, and I don't know for sure if myself I don't qualify for a mild case) surely doesn't want to be afflicted the same way, he is prevented from wanting to get up in a sense, not directly from getting up (cannot develop the will to get up). This is different from a person bed-ridden with a somatic illness, despite the apparent similarity of results. The illness impedes the will, not directly the final result.

Because of our discussion, however, I've begun to appreciate the difference between something like aversion to children or some internal feeling of unreadiness, and, say, a sitaution in which someone can't give due care to children because of his psychic circumstance *and *the other spouse (or someone else) can't undertake the primary caretaker duty (this being a decision regarding the difficulties caused by an illness rather than an illness forcing an attitude against procreation). Still, though, I believe that a psychic cause is a psychic cause and incapacity to assume tends to follow from inability to fulfil (that would have to be absolute inability, not some kind of moral impossibility etc.), so a person incapacitated by a psychic cause would be prevented from marrying validly, no matter the nature of the psychic cause or its manner of action, just as long as it qualified from being incapacitated due to a cause of a psychic nature, there being no ground in other canons to put a dent in 1095 no. 3.

As far as someone with a physical condition which would justify or even seem to require NFP, it must be noted that it's not the same as infertility. Infertility prevents conception, while the conditions you mention "only" possibly make it morally possible to use NFP or morally impossible to require that NFP not be used. Hiding such a condition in order to obtain consent would be fraud, unwittingly omitting would not (except if the other spouse had directly and principally intended the lack of that illness (yes, I know how this sounds) or , intent seems problematic to me here as long as there is a reservation in the right being conferred (i.e. if a party only confers the right to intercourse using NFP, but reserves his own sole discretion regarding the rest) as opposed to a mere agreement to keep using NFP, affecting only the exercise of the rights and not affecting the conferral of the rights (i.e. the rights are given unconditionally). This kind of deliberations is highly academic and may appear to be splitting hairs such as when we wonder whether someone intended his divorce and civil remarriage in case of marital breakdown as a breach of union being contracted or intended the union as not prohibiting his plan B. :o

The aforementioned physical condition could perhaps result in an unsurmountable psychic condition, e.g. fear or revulsion or simply mental block (and using language characteristic of aversion to offspring could point there), which would be unable to be overcome. That, if true, would invalidate. Depending on the nature of reservations, simulation (putting such limits on the consent as to exclude an essential property or element of marriage--by one or both) or fraud (maliciously hiding something greatly disturbing the conjugal life in order to obtain consent--obviously a unilateral action) could exist and invalidate. They would be extremely hard on the judge.


#13

[quote="flyingfish, post:11, topic:181639"]
I looked through that section of the Catechism as well as the section about regulation of births.

It still does not make it clear what essential obligations of marriage are.
*You are right. *

** cormacburke.or.ke/node/618**

 "There is no handy rule of thumb", a Judge observed in a Sentence that came before me recently, "for determining which type of lack of discretion or of incapacity invalidates marital consent". He was of course referring to c. 1095, but I felt he seemed unduly at sea about its interpretation. Canon 1095 itself gives a plain rule: such disabilities can invalidate only if they relate to the essential rights/obligations of marriage. In fact, according to n. 2 of the canon, contractual or consensual incapacity is to be imputed to those "who suffer from grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and duties (officia)"; and, according to n. 3, to those "who are not capable of assuming the essential obligations (obligationes) of matrimony..."

      **  This is surely a clear rule for the interpretation and application of the canon [1]. What the Judge in question could more reasonably have complained about is the fact that while the canon speaks of the "essential" [rights and] duties or obligations of matrimony, it does not specify which matrimonial duties are actually to be considered essential. This lacuna is evidently meant to be filled in by doctrine and in particular by jurisprudence. **

Do you think

that someone with severe depression, or severe stress issues that make it difficult for them to function in life much less have children (say depression makes a person extremely tired and they can't do much) but does not impact their intellect and ability to reason can validly marry with the intention of using NFP to delay children until their mental illness subsides (with the full understanding that it may be it will never subside)?

Having looked through the Catechism and the Code of Canon Law, I don't think the answer is there.

**Do you think **someone with a physical illness that would make either having or raising children too much for the person can validly marry with the intention of using NFP throughout the marriage?

If your answer for the physical and mental illness was different, can you explain why?

I would think it would be on a case by case basis. And yes, this is subjective. That is why we have canon law court, lawyers, and judges. This is why we have a tribunal. The Holy Spirit will guide these men and women to make the right decision on a case by case basis. Nothing is automatic.

We may not know when we contract the sacrament if the other person is capable of conferring the sacrament of matrimony. That is why God is so merciful. Just like we don't fully understand the Old Testament until we read through the New Testament and through the eyes of the Catholic Church, we can understand things that happened around the time of a wedding when we look back and look through the eyes of understanding of the mental illness. No one knows how a mental illness is going to progress.

I think Pope John Paul really does discuss mental and physical incapacity in this talk on the Theology of the Body.

Example: My dad fully intended to confer the sacrament of matrimony on my mom at the age of 22. She ended up suffering with psychosis, so much so that she cut off all relatives from her, including her kids. While my dad thought for sure his marriage to her was valid (he entered into it fully intending to take on a Catholic marriage and be faithful and fruitful. While she might have been a cute and agreeable Catholic girl, she was on her road to severe mental illness. Most mental illness doesn't show up until we get older.

While he didn't ever get his marriage to her annulled, I think that it would have. Meaning at the onset of the sacrament, something was impeding her from making the same commitment..

[/quote]


#14

Grace, I'm not actually 100% sure the marriage you talk about would have been declared null and I'm even less sure it would have survived Rotal review.

For example, mild or moderate issues turning severe later on don't automatically mean there was incapacity at the moment of contracting the marriage (and we can marry people with brain tumors--those who are practically guaranteed to become insane after a couple of years). It would have needed to be addressed in a very specific way beyond just that point. However, should it occur that in a given case making the minimal (not ideal or even standard) commitment was impossible, then indeed the reality must take precedence before compassion, even thought we might be dealing with sweet and innocent people.

Flyingfish, I was also about to answer your point about future conditions. It's not true that marriages were as a rule conditioned on male offspring. It was *possible *to include a future condition, which is impossible now, making marriage invalid (which doesn't mean we can't convalidate, although it must be pointed out that contracting an invalid marriage and having relations is matter for sin). Apparently, those people lived in a marriage that would later show to be valid or not, rather than becoming invalid, while having been valid, as no force on earth can invalidate a valid marriage (dispensation from *ratum et non consummatum *does not deal with validity or remove it).

As for essential obligations, those (paying bills, cleaning carpets and such like things) are things that can be done by either spouse depending on arrangements. I'm not sure I agree with a view restricting essential obligations to indissolubility, faithfulness (not excluding e.g. periods of lax conduct) and having non-contraceptive intercourse, and I believe that preexistent psychic incapacity to terminate the total avoidance of pregnancy with the use of NFP would probably invalidate.


#15

Apparently "essential obligations of marriage have been deliberately left vague. cormacburke.or.ke/node/618

I guess if Pope John Paul II himself didn't know, how can we expect to.

The view of the author of above article:

So his view seems to be that actually having children cannot be concluded to be an essential obligation of marriage by looking at the ends of marriage.

Further, in presenting the argument in this way, we can infer that the author (or Raad, the guy he is quoting) thinks that it's not only inability to fulfill for psychic reasons that invalidates a marriage, but an inability to fulfill for any reason. If he thought it was psychic reason only, he would not give the example of infertility (non-psychic reason) to refute that essential obligations can be determined from looking at the ends of marriage. (i.e. if being unable to fulfill essential obligations for non-psychic reasons was a-okay, the example of the valid marriages of infertile couples would not serve as a counterexample in this case.)

It is also of note that according to him "some authors and judges" (pretty vague) think that anyone who is incapable of an end of marriage is incapable of marriage, psychic or physical reasons.

I think that being able to at some point have and raise children/having and raising children cannot be an essential obligation of marriage. I realize that canon 1095.3 applies to "psychic" reasons only, but I think it is simple logic and common sense that anyone who is unable to fulfill an essential obligation of marriage should not be able to get married. Since infertile people can get validly married, the ability to have children/having children cannot be an essential obligation.

If not, then it would mean that infertile people can validly marry despite being unable to fulfill an essential obligation of marriage. I think then the canons that apply to consent/simulation would take effect, for how can you consent to something you are unable to perform? It would seem to me that you cannot consent to do what you cannot do.


#16

I think that at this point we need to consider all of Catholic teaching, especially in light of human dignity. Also consider hope. We hope that an illness would not progress to an awful end. We hope that the person will be able to fulfill marital obligations. We hope for a cure to the illness. We hope that the spouse has enough heroic virtue of love and patience to help the incapacitated spouse. Don’t forget that the sacrament of matrimony comes with grace to fulfill those marital obligations.

If not, then it would mean that infertile people can validly marry despite being unable to fulfill an essential obligation of marriage. I think then the canons that apply to consent/simulation would take effect, for how can you consent to something you are unable to perform? It would seem to me that you cannot consent to do what you cannot do.

As Elizabeth and Zechariah were married and open to life, and Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament were open to life, a seemingly infertile couple can marry and still be open to life giving love and be open to God’s will. Nothing is impossible with God.


#17

I am blessed by your testimony of heroic virtue in your marriage. May God bless you and your husband with a long life. Thank you for sharing.


#18

[quote="flyingfish, post:15, topic:181639"]
Apparently "essential obligations of marriage have been deliberately left vague. cormacburke.or.ke/node/618

[/quote]

Sometimes it happens that way in law. Then it's the job of the judges to come up with a consistent practice.

I guess if Pope John Paul II himself didn't know, how can we expect to.

He told them the questions were to be defined in jurisprudence.

The view of the author of above article:

So his view seems to be that actually having children cannot be concluded to be an essential obligation of marriage by looking at the ends of marriage.

As I told you, neither is it my own view, but even if we say that "actually having children" is not an essential obligation, we must note that this is because actual conception is not for the party alone to decide anyway (and in this sense can't be a party's obligation) and this is different in case of infertility from what we deal with in case of psychic incapacity to consent. I have some doubts with regard to having the psychic capacity to assume the obligation of openness to life if that openness is supposed to be limited to psychic capacity to consent to using NFP forever but barring the psychic capacity to consent to actual conception. I also have doubts, however, much of the time we're discussing, whether we really should be talking about incapacity, as incapacity to assume deals with psychic inability to act in accordance with the essential obligations, which is obviously not the case if one's making a clear choice in the matter (unless that choice only appears to be a choice, but is in fact determined by the condition---again, that's not a choice and this lack of choice in acting contrary to the chosen obligation defines incapacity). I may appear to have been inconsistent or vague or shaky in here and I probably have been--this is a hard subject---and darn, you may actually be right that psychic incapacity could be absent from our example (again, provided we remain in the theoretical example from which aversions, mental blocks etc. are absent), although for reasons slightly different from the ones you gave, some arguments not being relevant at all. Perhaps indeed having the psychic capacity to consent to at least the possibility of conception remaining with the use of NFP could fulfil the criteria of capacity for assuming the obligation in a minimal sense, which is still assuming it (which is in line with what you say), but I'm having doubts whether, after all, we're dealing with incapacity, which has nothing do with a moral impossibility or impracticality or anything of the sort. After all, I'm inclined to say that incapacity here could only exist by virtue of some compulsion, aversion etc., which could be there but is not given in the example. I'm more inclined towards looking at defects associated with choice.

As far as those go (bearing in mind simulation has broader criteria than psychic incapacity), I don't want to repeat myself on limitations or future conditions or fraud (the last one without implying anything that isn't in the example, but for the sake of clarity regarding what if the whole circumstance is hidden from the spouse to obtain consent) --I've already talked about those. Msgr. Burke has a lot about it on his site, cormacburke.or.ke/node/622 being one example. There, he does seem to suggest that *granting the right to *the act in its full physical integrity was no longer seen as sufficient of itself (and he writes about increasing the size of the family rather than merely about the intercourse itself), in abstract from attempts to frustrate its effect. NFP makes no direct attempt to frustrate the effect of intercourse, but there's that intent not to give the spouse the right to intercourse other than when predictably not leading to conception. I would show you the following part:

There are of course not a few situations where judgment becomes quite difficult. For instance, where there has been an agreement between the couple to postpone starting a family "for X years", or "until we are earning so much money", etc. and, before the stipulation has been fulfilled, one of the two proposes trying to have a child, and the other refuses. I tend to doubt there would be juridic grounds for declaring the marriage invalid, unless c. 1098 on deceit could be invoked.
It would of course be different if one of the two unilaterally decided to postpone having children for a number of years, or to have just one or two children and no more, and later steadfastly refused the request of the other to start a family before he or she felt ready, or to have another child once the one or two had been born. While this indeed appears as a "refined" sort of simulation, I feel that in practice it too would perhaps be more simply handled under "dolus", and the result should be a declaration of nullity.


#19

Further, in presenting the argument in this way, we can infer that the author (or Raad, the guy he is quoting) thinks that it's not only inability to fulfill for psychic reasons that invalidates a marriage, but an inability to fulfill for any reason.

I don't think so, unless they'd be making difference for internal and external circumstances etc., or they believed that existing impediments already covered non-psychic incapacities (e.g. "perpetual antecedent" impotence). We don't hold deathbed marriages to be invalid. Caution here not to confuse inability with choices made because of the harshness of the alternative. That's no question of incapacity unless some absolute internal compulsion is associated with it. If it's a choice influenced by the alternative being unacceptable, that's not incapacity.

It is also of note that according to him "some authors and judges" (pretty vague) think that anyone who is incapable of an end of marriage is incapable of marriage, psychic or physical reasons.

Umm... there's no physical cause when it comes to fidelity or indissolubility, unless you count coercion by other people, but that's external anyway, so the whole thing does come down to procreativity and definitions of the obligation of openness to life are intertwined with it.

I think that being able to at some point have and raise children/having and raising children cannot be an essential obligation of marriage.

Okay, let me say clearly at this point: perhaps ability there could apply to education, but barring an absolutely compelling internal resistance to having children, the example you give leaves no room for inability. Absent said internal compulsion, it will always be a choice. Choices aren't a matter of incapacity. And you're using a vague definition of ability with regard to having children. In my view the person is able to have children at that point, but unwilling to, which is a matter of choice, unless we're dealing with an absolute internal compulsion. Perhaps a lot of my difficult-to-follow and potentially faulty argumentation developed from the fact I didn't take issue with that definition of ability.

I realize that canon 1095.3 applies to "psychic" reasons only, but I think it is simple logic and common sense that anyone who is unable to fulfill an essential obligation of marriage should not be able to get married. Since infertile people can get validly married, the ability to have children/having children cannot be an essential obligation.

It's not about ability in case of people who are not infertile but are simply making a choice that they won't have children. They are not unable, they are unwilling. At some point I remember I said that your example of "children too much for her" even in absence of any internal compulsion was still a case of psychic incapacity. I need to withdraw from calling it incapacity it in that case. If "children would be too much for her" is an internal compulsion she can't resist, then we can talk about incapacity. If it is a choice free of any internal compulsion, we don't have that incapacity for psychic reasons simply because there's no incapacity at all. We can be dealing with the dolus if she hid it from the husband to obtain consent, or we can be dealing with simulation or future condition, depending on the specifics of the case. Exclusion deals with essential "properties" and "elements", which is wider than "obligations", condition deals with marriage itself, but the way I see it conditional exclusion would be like conditional consent if exclusion invalidates consent. Msgr. Burke talks about "exclusion of children", but it's not clear if he means exclusion of children per se (and if so then if exclusion of children except if they are conceived despite avoidance, in which case they will be accepted) or exclusion only in so far as it's based on recourse to contraception or denial of intercourse, although I suppose he wouldn't be talking about conversations between spouses about increasing the family, requests to increase the family etc. if the matter were as simple as denial of intercourse (which is simpler than that because it fails outright) or the use of contraception (in which case I guess he would mention it and talk about acts being made unfruitful).

If not, then it would mean that infertile people can validly marry despite being unable to fulfill an essential obligation of marriage. I think then the canons that apply to consent/simulation would take effect, for how can you consent to something you are unable to perform? It would seem to me that you cannot consent to do what you cannot do.

Actually having children is not an essential obligation of marriage, at least not in the sense that failing to conceive or even being infertile would mean invalid marriage or failure in the obligations. Openness is an essential obligation in that sense and it requires lack of attempts to frustrate the effect.

You can consent to accept and bring up children in the Catholic faith even if you're scheduled for execution tomorrow, even though you couldn't make a contract to that effect in civil law (which would probably still allow marriage with what promises the civil vows included). If you survive, you're obliged to follow through with the promises and if you make an exclusion, it is invalid from the beginning. but simulation doesn't happen just because you know you won't be able to fulfil it--it takes exclusion by a positive act of will. Knowing you'll be executed tomorrow is not a positive act of will. However, if you hide the fact in order to obtain consent, that is very much invalidating fraud.


#20

I don't think so, unless they'd be making difference for internal and external circumstances etc.,

The point I wanted to make arose from this:

Then he gives valid marriages of infertile couples as a way to prove his point. i.e. He is saying that the ends of marriage (in this case procreation) are not essential elements of object of consent, because if they were, then infertile couples could not marry.

The implication here is that the author of that quote thinks that a couple who, for any reason whatsoever (not just psychic nature), is incapable of "essential elements of the object of consent [to marriage]" would be incapable of marriage. (i.e. his style of arguing implies that he agrees that missing essential elements of the object of consent for any reason would invalidate a marriage, but he shows that the ends of marriage are not equivalent to these essential elements)

This is relevant because as I understand it these essential elements are the same as the essential obligations of marriage.

[quote=chevalier, post:18, topic:181639"]
If "children would be too much for her" is an internal compulsion she can't resist, then we can talk about incapacity. If it is a choice free of any internal compulsion, we don't have that incapacity for psychic reasons simply because there's no incapacity at all.

[/quote]

I don't know what you mean by "an internal compulsion she can't resist." All I meant when I used that language was that someone who is too sick, while may be physically capable of pregnancy and delivery, would find that actually having a child in the household would be bad for their health (say it would make them feel extremely stressed, or it would be too taxing for a person who barely has the energy to get out of bed) and would make the prudent decision to use NFP until the illness is managed to the point where this person could reasonably have and raise children. (This could apply to the father as well.)

Actually having children is not an essential obligation of marriage, at least not in the sense that failing to conceive or even being infertile would mean invalid marriage or failure in the obligations. Openness is an essential obligation in that sense and it requires lack of attempts to frustrate the effect.

If actually having children is not an essential obligation of marriage talked about in 1095.3, then why would being unable to actually have children for reasons of a psychic nature invalidate a marriage?

I guess you are arguing that going into a marriage with an illness and knowing that you will be using NFP to postpone children until the illness subsides (and knowing that it never may) means that "openness" is not there?

NFP when used for just reasons is considered to be open to life, in normal situations it is used to space children, but in extraordinary situation of illness (or extreme poverty, or war) it may be used indefinitely until the just reasons for using it disappear.

(I am genuinely sorry if I am misunderstanding you.)


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.