Marriage and sex ordered toward creation of new life?


#1

How do I explain that those who have reached menopause and are no longer able to have children can get married even though any sex that have cannot result in new life, but despite this, gay people cannot (not may not, but cannot) get married to each other?

How is that sex still ordered toward new life?

I'm a little confused. :confused: And how do I explain this properly to my Grandmother, who is also Catholic, but doesn't understand this teaching. And how do I bring it up?


#2

I am not citing anything theological here. I’m just going to see where the logic for the current mindset takes me - so let’s see where this train goes!

A man and a woman who are incapable of conceiving a child are the exception to the rule with traditional marriages. Without violating privacy, there is no way to tell whether or not most couples are willing or able to conceive. With a same-sex couple, there is no exception. They are simply incapable of conception. Now, adoption is of course an option that all couples have. So the current argument is that the definition can simply be amended to say two people, instead of a man and a woman, in a committed sexual relationship. We can cut children out of the definition here, because it would be absurd to force a couple to adopt a child.

What if a couple does not desire to be sexually intimate, but are simply good friends? What precludes them from adopting a child together and being married? Simple logic says that they are not in love in the same sense, but they do love each other nonetheless. Don’t they have the right to the same financial benefits as any other couple trying to raise a family, though? To say no would be discrimination by the current logic. So now the definition must be amended again - we don’t want to discriminate, do we?

So now what about two friends who do not have sex and do not want to raise any children? Rationality says marriage between people in this circumstance would be absurd. However, if they care about each other and are in a committed relationship where they are simply great friends, then why should they be penalized? When one of them dies why should the government have the right to tax the estate before giving anything to the other? If marriage is no longer about sex, and no longer about raising children, then why is this category being left out? They care for each other, so in a sense they love each other. And the whole argument here is that love is transcendent, isn’t it?

So, by the logic being used here, marriage is now between any two people, romantic or platonic, children or no children. Clearly this is absurd, but where does the line get drawn? I do not know where a clear answer lies in the progression of my statements. At any point, someone is being discriminated against.

Jumping into theology here - this is why marriage is considered a sacrament by the Church. A couple considering being married are meant to have three kinds of love in their relationship. They are to love each other as friends, to love each other romantically, and to have a love of God that binds them together. And of course, as Christ said, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” This is why the Catholic Church has the position is does regarding divorce and remarriage.


#3

I know, I said no theology and then I finished with it. But the theology had nothing to do with the train of logic - it was an addendum to help explain one of the positions of the Church.


#4

Hebrews11:11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy

Genesis 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child when I am old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.”

1 Peter 3:5 For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, 6 like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so.

Peace


#5

[quote="hazcompat, post:4, topic:321547"]
Hebrews11:11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy

Genesis 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child when I am old?’ 14 Is anything impossible for the Lord? I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.”

1 Peter 3:5 For in the same way the holy women who hoped in God long ago adorned themselves by being subject to their husbands, 6 like Sarah who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You become her children when you do what is good and have no fear in doing so.

Peace

[/quote]

But I don't think there are many 65- or 70-year-old women who WANT to have a baby! These Scripture quotes seem to make the case that elderly marital relations can only be sanctioned if a child is still desired. I didn't think menopause invalidated the legitimacy of marital relations for the comfort and closeness of the couple who have no interest in having a child at that age.


#6

It says to me...be open to life no matter your age, and it is good, have no fear.

Peace


#7

[quote="LoveGod102, post:1, topic:321547"]
How do I explain that those who have reached menopause and are no longer able to have children can get married even though any sex that have cannot result in new life, but despite this, gay people cannot (not may not, but cannot) get married to each other?

[/quote]

In the case of the elder couple, because of their complimentarity...their sexes (male and female) make their conjugal union ordered,per se, toward procreation (provided they don't do anything to purposefully hinder the procreative nature of any act they engage in). Same-sex partners do not share a complimentarity and cannot, no matter how hard they try, have a conjugal union which is ordered, per se, toward procreation.

How is that sex still ordered toward new life?

Because it involves the totality of the spouses with complimentary sexual organs, using those organs for their intended two-fold purpose, regardless of whether conception actualyl occurs. Their act may not lead to procreation, but it is still open to it.

I'm a little confused. :confused: And how do I explain this properly to my Grandmother, who is also Catholic, but doesn't understand this teaching. And how do I bring it up?

You explain it frankly if she brings it up. I'm not sure that I would initiate such a conversation though.


#8

[quote="LoveGod102, post:1, topic:321547"]
those who have reached menopause and are no longer able to have children can get married even though any sex that have cannot result in new life, but
gay people cannot (not may not, but cannot) get married to each other?

How is that sex still ordered toward new life?

[/quote]

Radical capacity. Even if the circumstances and timing are not right, the conjugal act between a man and a woman has the radical capacity, under other circumstances and/or at another time, to result in conception. Sexual acts between two persons of the same sex lack even radical capacity for conception. Whatever their similarities, these are not the same.


#9

[quote="ahs, post:7, topic:321547"]
In the case of the elder couple, because of their complimentarity...their sexes (male and female) make their conjugal union ordered,per se, toward procreation (provided they don't do anything to purposefully hinder the procreative nature of any act they engage in). Same-sex partners do not share a complimentarity and cannot, no matter how hard they try, have a conjugal union which is ordered, per se, toward procreation.

Because it involves the totality of the spouses with complimentary sexual organs, using those organs for their intended two-fold purpose, regardless of whether conception actualyl occurs. Their act may not lead to procreation, but it is still open to it.

[/quote]

Using this logic - wouldn't a woman be barred from marriage after having a hysterectomy? She can't be open to the possibility of pregnancy because she has no womb to accommodate it.


#10

[quote="Offdoodykcrn, post:9, topic:321547"]
Using this logic - wouldn't a woman be barred from marriage after having a hysterectomy? She can't be open to the possibility of pregnancy because she has no womb to accommodate it.

[/quote]

The Church teaches that marriages should be open to new life - that a couple shouldn't just marry to justify sexual relations. So if a person has no ability to conceive a child then that person can never be open to new life. So to be clear, couples who marry and never intend to have children, and actively seek to avoid it are not in a valid marriage by Catholic standards, either. The problem is that the state/Church would not by default know whether or not people are capable or willing to conceive a child, outside of an invasion of privacy. Same sex couples can never have a child, so there is no guesswork or invasion involved.


#11

[quote="RedFox0456, post:10, topic:321547"]
The Church teaches that marriages should be open to new life - that a couple shouldn't just marry to justify sexual relations. So if a person has no ability to conceive a child then that person can never be open to new life..

[/quote]

I'm pretty sure that, assuming sexual complementarity (male/female), the intent is more important than the ability - a woman who had a hysterectomy due to, say, uterine cancer, is not going to be denied marriage to a man simply because she cannot have children and knows about it ahead of time. It's not like she is physically unable to have sex - which is, in fact, a barrier to marriage.


#12

[quote="ishnianqueen, post:11, topic:321547"]
I'm pretty sure that, assuming sexual complementarity (male/female), the intent is more important than the ability - a woman who had a hysterectomy due to, say, uterine cancer, is not going to be denied marriage to a man simply because she cannot have children and knows about it ahead of time. It's not like she is physically unable to have sex - which is, in fact, a barrier to marriage.

[/quote]

I'm not a canon lawyer so I'm not going to say whether or not it would be appropriate to marry under those circumstances, but I love a good discussion. So let's see where this goes!

The ability to have sex is only one requirement for marriage. When my wife and I decided to get married we had meetings with a priest and also a married Catholic couple. One thing that was made clear was that the marriage had to be open to new life.

Now, I suppose if the woman truly wanted children and believed that God would grant that request then she would indeed be open to new life. However, if she is going into the situation not believing she will have children then is she truly open to life? And if she never intends to have children, how does that make her situation any different from a same-sex couple? Sex outside of marriage is a sin, but even inside of marriage a couple is expected to at some point be trying for children.

If anyone who is well versed in the teachings of the Church would like to chime in, I would be more than happy to learn something new on this matter!

Note: I am not saying I am right, but I am saying this is my current thought process on the matter. Also - this is not an argument for same-sex marriage - I have covered my reservations both theological and secular previously in this thread.


#13

[quote="RedFox0456, post:12, topic:321547"]
I'm not a canon lawyer so I'm not going to say whether or not it would be appropriate to marry under those circumstances, but I love a good discussion. So let's see where this goes!

[/quote]

A quick search turned up this thread from last year: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=721886 So I'm pretty sure it's been covered. :)

I think that the question prior to the vows - "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" - assumes that children are a gift and that not everyone gets kids. Therefore, as long as you are willing to accept the gift, it doesn't matter if you can or can't have them.


#14

[quote="ishnianqueen, post:13, topic:321547"]
A quick search turned up this thread from last year: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=721886 So I'm pretty sure it's been covered. :)

I think that the question prior to the vows - "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" - assumes that children are a gift and that not everyone gets kids. Therefore, as long as you are willing to accept the gift, it doesn't matter if you can or can't have them.

[/quote]

Oh, my. You've just rocked my boat! I have much to think about now! Thanks for the reply!


#15

[quote="LoveGod102, post:1, topic:321547"]
How do I explain that those who have reached menopause and are no longer able to have children can get married even though any sex that have cannot result in new life, but despite this, gay people cannot (not may not, but cannot) get married to each other?

How is that sex still ordered toward new life?

I'm a little confused. :confused: And how do I explain this properly to my Grandmother, who is also Catholic, but doesn't understand this teaching. And how do I bring it up?

[/quote]

You have to use religious or natural law arguments at this point.

You can no longer argue in a legal context, because having children, having sex, etc. have been stripped from marriage in this context via no-fault divorce in the U.S. Many people argue from this frame of reference.


#16

[quote="ishnianqueen, post:13, topic:321547"]
A quick search turned up this thread from last year: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=721886 So I'm pretty sure it's been covered. :)

I think that the question prior to the vows - "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" - assumes that children are a gift and that not everyone gets kids. Therefore, as long as you are willing to accept the gift, it doesn't matter if you can or can't have them.

[/quote]

:blessyou:


#17

It is the conjugal act of heterosexual intercourse that is by its nature ordered to the creation of new life. It doesn't create new life in every single instance. A woman only ovulates once a month. There may be times when fertility is lesser or greater.

But the point is--that the act itself is ordered to the creation of new life. Same sex couples by their very nature are incapable of that conjugal act. Opposite sex couples are by the very nature capable of the conjugal act which is ordered to new life, regardless of their state of fertility or infertility.


#18

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