Marriage question

The examples I am about to give, I got from the “Ask an Apologist” thread.

In one reply, it was said that one could not marry a person who is known to be sterile because the marriage would not be open to life. Therefore, all sterile people would have to lead a celibate life and never marry.

In another reply, it was said that if one of a married couple suddenly became sterile, it was O.K. to continue to have sex and stay married. In the case of a woman being sterile, her husband could still have sex with her, even when both know the possibility of child bearing is zero.

I understand why the married couple would be allowed to stay married. My question is why can’t a sterile person marry and have relations with his/her spouse if a sterile couple can continue to have relations? Make sense?

I’ve heard many people on this site say that child bearing is not the only reason for marriage. The above examples seem contrary to this. I can’t figure it out. If celibacy and NFP are O.K. for “spacing” or health reasons, then why not for a person who is sterile through no fault of their own? Why the double standard?

[quote=pira114]The examples I am about to give, I got from the “Ask an Apologist” thread.

In one reply, it was said that one could not marry a person who is known to be sterile because the marriage would not be open to life. Therefore, all sterile people would have to lead a celibate life and never marry.

In another reply, it was said that if one of a married couple suddenly became sterile, it was O.K. to continue to have sex and stay married. In the case of a woman being sterile, her husband could still have sex with her, even when both know the possibility of child bearing is zero.

I understand why the married couple would be allowed to stay married. My question is why can’t a sterile person marry and have relations with his/her spouse if a sterile couple can continue to have relations? Make sense?

I’ve heard many people on this site say that child bearing is not the only reason for marriage. The above examples seem contrary to this. I can’t figure it out. If celibacy and NFP are O.K. for “spacing” or health reasons, then why not for a person who is sterile through no fault of their own? Why the double standard?
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Can you link to that post? Sterility is not an impediment to marriage; impotence is.

I’d be curious to see that link too.

I just did a search and found this. I think you may have misread the post. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=85386&highlight=sterility

Please note that impotence is not the same thing as sterility. Sterility on the part of either the man or the woman **is not ** an impediment to marriage (canon 1084 §3). What is at issue is with whether or not the marriage can be consummated (a necessity), not with whether or not it is possible for the marital relations to produce children (not a necessity, although the couple must remain open to its possibility).

It appears I stand corrected.

O.K. So a man who is not sterile can still have sex with his wife who is, and vise versa. But a man who is impotent cannot get married at all? And a man who is sterile, but not impotent can get married?

How does this make any sense? Why is a man who is impotent denied the sacrament of marriage? And what happens if I become impotent after getting married? Is it grounds for annulment? Is the marriage still valid and sacramental?

To sum it up, if I understand this, a man who can have sex, but no babies, can get married. A man who cannot have sex due to impotence cannot get married. So marriage boils down to just having sex? Over simplified I know, but that’s what it kinda sounds like.

i completely agree pira, it seems comletely contradictory and doesn’t make sense :confused: . marriage is much more than sex or the ability to consummate the marriage. i was born and raised a catholic, and i was completely unaware of this sterility and impotence issue. if a couple can’t have children (or sex for that matter) through no fault of their own, why should they be punished? :confused:

[quote=pira114]The examples I am about to give, I got from the “Ask an Apologist” thread.

In one reply, it was said that one could not marry a person who is known to be sterile because the marriage would not be open to life. Therefore, all sterile people would have to lead a celibate life and never marry.

I ?
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you did not supply a link to the replies in question, but I think you need to go back and re-read them. I am quite sure the apologist did not say that a person who is sterile cannot marry, because the actual canon law says a person who is impotent or uncapable of performing the marriage act, cannot marry. They are not the same thing. Check a dictionary. Sterility means inability to impregnate or to conceive. That is not by itself an impediment to marriage.

[quote=pira114]It appears I stand corrected.

How does this make any sense? Why is a man who is impotent denied the sacrament of marriage? And what happens if I become impotent after getting married? Is it grounds for annulment? Is the marriage still valid and sacramental?

.
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because he cannot complete the marriage act, no consummation, no marriage, there is no point in denying the clear biological facts, and the doctrine. If a person is unable to consummate that is an impediment to marriage for the simple biological fact that no marriage can occur, because no marriage act can occur. If a man becomes impotent after marriage that does not invalidate the marriage, because presumably the marriage has already been consumated. That is why two members of the same sex cannot get married, they cannot by definition perform the marriage act, which necessites penile penetration of the vagina and ejaculation.

we just had two long discussions of this topic, did you try a search?

[quote=michael2005]i completely agree pira, it seems comletely contradictory and doesn’t make sense :confused: . marriage is much more than sex or the ability to consummate the marriage. i was born and raised a catholic, and i was completely unaware of this sterility and impotence issue. if a couple can’t have children (or sex for that matter) through no fault of their own, why should they be punished? :confused:
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yes marriage is much more than sex, the ability to consummate but it begins there, no marriage act by definition means there is no marriage, you can’t get over biology. The couple can have a relationship on many different levels, but they cannot marry because biologically they cannot marry. A cruel trick of nature, but unfortunate, just as persons with all sorts of other disabilities may not be able to perform actions, undertake careers or achieve goals because of their disability. They are not barred from marriage because they cannot have children, but because they cannot consummate the marriage.

[quote=puzzleannie]you did not supply a link to the replies in question, but I think you need to go back and re-read them. I am quite sure the apologist did not say that a person who is sterile cannot marry, because the actual canon law says a person who is impotent or uncapable of performing the marriage act, cannot marry. They are not the same thing. Check a dictionary. Sterility means inability to impregnate or to conceive. That is not by itself an impediment to marriage.
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Yes, we covered that, pay attention if you want to slam me.

[quote=puzzleannie]yes marriage is much more than sex, the ability to consummate but it begins there, no marriage act by definition means there is no marriage, you can’t get over biology. The couple can have a relationship on many different levels, but they cannot marry because biologically they cannot marry. A cruel trick of nature, but unfortunate, just as persons with all sorts of other disabilities may not be able to perform actions, undertake careers or achieve goals because of their disability. They are not barred from marriage because they cannot have children, but because they cannot consummate the marriage.
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Marriage is not a biological function. If you say there is much more to marriage than sex, then why can’t the couple celebrate this love for one another without consummating the marriage? By your definition of marriage, I can consummate it once and never again. Does this couple who cannot consummate have nothing to offer each other? Is their love not worthy of vows? I find it hard to understand. I can understand the symantics, it’s the reasoning I don’t understand.

Also, this discussion does not really relate to homosexuals. They cannot marry because God said they cannot.

Just as a side note. Would it be OK for an impotent man to marry if he could consummate the marriage through medical aids? Not a joke. These are becomming more successful all the time. Don’t know too much about it, but the question is does he have to be able to do it without any help?

Puzzleannie: Relax, I’m not attacking the faith. I’m Catholic. I’m just trying to understand this issue.

[quote=pira114]Marriage is not a biological function. If you say there is much more to marriage than sex, then why can’t the couple celebrate this love for one another without consummating the marriage? By your definition of marriage, I can consummate it once and never again. Does this couple who cannot consummate have nothing to offer each other? Is their love not worthy of vows? I find it hard to understand. I can understand the symantics, it’s the reasoning I don’t understand.

Also, this discussion does not really relate to homosexuals. They cannot marry because God said they cannot.

Just as a side note. Would it be OK for an impotent man to marry if he could consummate the marriage through medical aids? Not a joke. These are becomming more successful all the time. Don’t know too much about it, but the question is does he have to be able to do it without any help?
Puzzleannie: Relax, I’m not attacking the faith. I’m Catholic. I’m just trying to understand this issue.
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That’s an interesting question as it allows an impotent man to carry out the sexual act for as long as the medication works, and unlike contraception this is an artifical means to allow a couple to be open to life.

Being sterile does not pose an impediment to Marriage.

familyministries.org/www.inthespiritofcana.org/appendix%5Fa%2D2.htm

Here’s the link regarding impotence and sterility and Christian marriage. Hope it helps!

[quote=pira114]Marriage is not a biological function. If you say there is much more to marriage than sex, then why can’t the couple celebrate this love for one another without consummating the marriage? By your definition of marriage, I can consummate it once and never again. Does this couple who cannot consummate have nothing to offer each other? Is their love not worthy of vows? I find it hard to understand. I can understand the symantics, it’s the reasoning I don’t understand.

Also, this discussion does not really relate to homosexuals. They cannot marry because God said they cannot.

Just as a side note. Would it be OK for an impotent man to marry if he could consummate the marriage through medical aids? Not a joke. These are becomming more successful all the time. Don’t know too much about it, but the question is does he have to be able to do it without any help?

Puzzleannie: Relax, I’m not attacking the faith. I’m Catholic. I’m just trying to understand this issue.
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While there is much more to marriage, intercourse is a part of the whole. It’s where the two become one flesh. There’s no other way a couple can do that.

Now, as far as new technology, I’m not sure there’s been a teaching on that but it could, possibly, offend natural law in some way. I’m sure, eventually, there will be a teaching on this too.

So you don’t thing that a couple could be emotionally committed and avowed to each other without the sex? Couldn’t there be a love, bond, and communion so strong that sex becomes inconsequential to the marriage? Couldn’t both the man and woman choose to be celebate, lead a devoute Christian life, and still get married?

I understand the Church’s teaching on this. I’m just not sure I agree, or understand the reasoning for, it.

The reason for my doubt, I suppose, is that I know a parapalegic who married a physically capable girl. They adopted 3 children and are excellent parents. They are very involved in their church and community, and are one of the happiest couples I know. No, they are not Catholic. They are Non-denominational Christians. So, if they seem to have a great marriage and religious life, why does it matter that he’s impotent? If he were Catholic, their marriage would have been denied and I think that would have been sad.

In marriage we are always open to the possibility of life from sexual relations. With that in mind I find it impossible for the church to deny marriage to anyone who has impotence. I know that the rule says something about the possibility of medical reversal to impotence. HOWEVER with that in mind ONLY GOD knows if a person can miraculously be cured from an impediment and/or disease. No human being can definitively determine that a person cannot be miraculously cured of anything (with god anything is possible). A quadrapelegic who has lost function of procreation because of impotence and dysfunction CANNOT be disallowed marriage if the parties involved put their trust in GOD. It is no different than my wife and I practicing NFP. Our marriage act has to be open to life and we put it in Gods hands. To me it is not different than an impotent person. Such a person could make every marital act with trust in god. with Gods grace a miracle could happen…meaning some day that person could be in for a big (no pun intended) surprise. No one outside of god could determine the permanency of impotence in ANY case. If an impotent person attempts each sexual act with the intention of procreation then the intention is reason enough to allow marriage. The rest is in gods hands.

[quote=pira114]So you don’t thing that a couple could be emotionally committed and avowed to each other without the sex? Couldn’t there be a love, bond, and communion so strong that sex becomes inconsequential to the marriage? Couldn’t both the man and woman choose to be celebate, lead a devoute Christian life, and still get married?

Look, if my husand suddenly became impotent, I think we could continue to have a great marriage but that’s because we’ve become one physically. Intercourse is part of God’s wonderful design for marriage. It cements the emotional and spiritual bond.

Let’s flip this around. You could ask "Can’t a couple be emotionally and physically committed to each other without taking vows? There are simply elements that can’t be divided.

The reason for my doubt, I suppose, is that I know a parapalegic who married a physically capable girl. They adopted 3 children and are excellent parents. They are very involved in their church and community, and are one of the happiest couples I know.

This is one of the reasons that we need to look to the Church and not to friends.

One thought that pops into my head quite regularly in these situations is Dana and Christopher Reed. I remember a reporter asking them about sex. They made the comment that if he never regained his faculties in this area that they would find “other” ways to satisfy each other sexually. Yikes! What a temptation!

No, they are not Catholic. They are Non-denominational Christians. So, if they seem to have a great marriage and religious life, why does it matter that he’s impotent?

The simply answer is that this is God’s design for marriage so it must be good and right. Sometimes when we don’t understand, we must rely on that until we do understand.

Incidently, I’m not sure if the Church recognizes marriages of non-consumated marriages of other faiths if their faiths don’t require it. I would think the Church would not but maybe they do.
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With that in mind I find it impossible for the church to deny marriage to anyone who has impotence. I know that the rule says something about the possibility of medical reversal to impotence.

I believe the Church only allows the marriage of an impotent person if that person is reasonable expected to regain his faculties in this area.

A quadrapelegic who has lost function of procreation because of impotence and dysfunction CANNOT be disallowed marriage if the parties involved put their trust in GOD.

Do you have the Church’s teaching saying this? I don’t see how this can be correct since canon law specifically states:

Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have sexual intercourse, whether on the part of the man or on that of the woman, whether absolute or relative, by its very nature invalidates marriage (canon 1084 §1).

If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether the doubt be one of law or one of fact, the marriage is not to be prevented nor, while the doubt persists, is it to be declared null (canon 1084 §2 ).

It is no different than my wife and I practicing NFP. Our marriage act has to be open to life and we put it in Gods hands. To me it is not different than an impotent person. Such a person could make every marital act with trust in god.

OK, now I think I understand. You are confusing sterility and impotence. Impotence would make the marriage act impossible. Sterility just means that they would not be able to conceive. Sterility is not an impediment to marriage nor does it render a marriage invalid.

All I am saying is if a person is impotent (needs viagra) but not sterile how can the church declare them unfit to get married. What I am referring to here is a miracle. If an impotent man (not sterile) enters into the marriage act each time with the intent that “hey maybe it will work this time” then the intent is still there and the possibility of a miracle is there.And the intent to consumate the marriage act is there and the possiblity of life is there. How could a man know that he was miraculously cured of such an impedment if he wasn’t married. meaning the only way he could ever know that he has been cured is if he is married. Otherwise he would have to comit fornication for the miracle to happen. lastly IMPOTENCE IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE. Things CAN and do start working without scientific prediction. The church has no authority to predict a miracle therefore should not prevent a miracle from happening by denying marriage.

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