Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. So if this teaching falls under “Theology of the Body”, I’ll look for apologetics concerning it.
Just as a priest is called to forgo an earthly marriage through his vocation, trusting that it is the means which God is going to bring the most grace in to his life, so that his sanctification might be brought about through that vocation; so is the call to be married the means which God will most directly bring about the sanctification of the couple involved.
So what is an impotent man called to if he feels called to marriage and not the priesthood, yet the church tells him he cannot marry?
If someone is not able to consummate a marriage, for whatever the reason (say, he was in an accident and paralysed…), then however unfortunate it is that he may not become married, we must trust that God did not desire for him to be married, and that the means for his salvation is through the single state of life.
But why? I understand that the church teachings consummation “seals the deal”, but I’ve yet to see why that’s the case (other than possibly an outdated understanding of reproduction and love).
Really, it’s a safeguard for the people involved that they might be able to receive all of the graces necessary in order to get to Heaven.
I’m a little confused by what you mean by this. Could you clarify please?
So if an impotent man is called to marriage and family life, and decides to marry civilly so that he and his wife may adopt children (or so he can raise, as father, the biological children the woman already had) he is sinning? That doesn’t seem right.
If they are intent upon being “together,” they Church would recommend that they live together as brother and sister, such as in the case of those who find out they have HIV or other circumstances that would cause the spouse, or would-be spouse, harm.
May they adopt children in this state? I still haven’t been shown how impotence renders a man an unfit father or spouse.
The reality is, if the female is the one who is fertile, and feels called to a vocation of marriage and family life, then the infertile male should do the most loving thing and let her go, so that she can pursue God’s will in her life for a husband.
Remember we’re talking about impotence not fertility. The Church DOES marry infertile couples, but not impotent couples, and this is the contradiction I’m trying to work out, yet your post still makes a good point. If an impotent man is unfit to be a father or spouse simply because he cannot have biological children, then likewise a sterile man should be denied marriage as well, otherwise the church is being either:
- Completely unfair and discriminatory with no sound reason.
- Completely obsessed with sex to such an extent that the inability to have sex ALONE is the reason for denying the marriage.
Again, I don’t see how inability to consummate a marriage means the couple is incapable of being fit parents, or of even loving each other. Does the church actually believe that sex alone is the glue that holds marriages together? What of the Holy Family and Mary’s perpetual virginity?
I’m not saying this should all be done lightly! There should be a discernment process. Perhaps the woman is not called to marriage after all, but a life of continence and a life-long friendship that can mutually help each other strive for holiness.
OK to be friends, but not OK to extend that life-long friendship to the domain of child rearing?
But in NO way is that considered a marriage, and it should never be put across as one.
Why? A marriage is only a “real” marriage if there’s sex involved? That’s a rather carnal way of looking at things.
Then indeed the church should immediately stop marrying sterile couples. We now know that it isn’t sex that directly leads to procreation, rather the fusion of gametes and if ANYTHING hinders that fusion (be it impotence, chemical sterility, age, etc) than the couple is not fit to be married. Now if this were the case in Canon Law, I’d see no contradition. I would find it to be cruel and possibly strange, but at least not contradictory.
That does not mean that every couple who marries procreates. One must be capable of completing the act that objectively leads to procreation.
Exactly. Every couple who marries must be capable of having their sperm and ova fuse to create zygotes. That is what objectively leads to procreation and proved by fertility clinics (NOTE: I’m not advocating the use of fertility clinics, merely using their existence and efficacy of treatments to demonstrate that it is cell fusion that directly leads to child birth and not sex).