When is a Josephite marriage okay?


#1

I’ve read this term on these boards a couple of times, but while I know what it is, I wonder it what situations they’d be granted. I ask, because it seems like a solution to an ethical dilemma I heard recently, dilemmas that could potentially happen to single people like me.

At a Theology on Tap event on ethics, someone asked if it was ethical to use a condom with your spouse if one partner was a carrier of HIV or HPV or some such. The ethicist correctly answered no, as 1) barriers are not allowed in marriage ever and 2) they’re not 100% effective, and it’s not very loving to even risk exposing a spouse to a disease.

So, a conclusion I made is that young 20-somethings who know they’re carriers of perpetual diseases from college-age indiscretions are now faced with a life of chastity and forever being in the singles corner “thinking about what they’ve done,” and they tell interested people that they cannot ever marry. This is presuming they were good and got tested.

But what if they don’t know they’re carriers until after they’ve had a conversion of heart, did penance, etc. and get engaged? Are they then obligated to break things off with their fiances (ruining two futures), or, since they were in marriage prep, can they be granted a Josephite marriage until medical technology comes up with a way to prevent transmission without needing to use barriers. Like the HPV vaccine for women?

And what if a male fiance is serving his country and gets injured much the way the main character did in The Sun Also Rises and doesn’t have, er, “functioning equipment.” By getting engaged to a woman, he was proclaiming he wanted to spend the rest of his life with just her. Could church authorities be compassionate and let the couple enter a Josephite marriage, with proper counsel?


#2

[quote="siena_avila, post:1, topic:201703"]

So, a conclusion I made is that young 20-somethings who know they're carriers of perpetual diseases from college-age indiscretions are now faced with a life of chastity and forever being in the singles corner "thinking about what they've done," and they tell interested people that they cannot ever marry. This is presuming they were good and got tested.

[/quote]

Forgive me if I come off sounding like a heartless wretch, that is not my intention. In truth, I cannot answer you topic question, but wanted to address to parts of your post.

All sins can be forgiven, cast as far as the east is from the west. But some sins do carry with them natural consequences which we must face the rest of our lives. That could easily include remaining single and celibate for the rest of our lives. Now assuming that your theoretical "20-somethings" have truly repented of their past, it is up to us, their family in Christ, to give them our practical support and love in a difficult situation. God's grace will sustain them, and we need to be a part of this grace in action.

My reality is, because of 15 years of persistant sin and rejection of God, I am probably facing a single future, at least until my young son is much, much older (about 18+ years total of chaste celibacy). I have repented and, thanks only to God's grace, I am now in a state of grace. Indeed, I may never marry again, which means decades of celibacy and what society calls "loneliness" (I now see it as extra time to serve God).

Now, I could demand that I "deserve" better, that I should be able to have the beautiful romance that leads to a fantasy wedding, and being with the love of my life forever -- a perfect Hollywood ending. But the frustration I feel over not having access to what I want is a deep well of grace, as I offer my sufferings to Christ -- for conversion and in reparation. Life is short -- eternity is forever.

[quote="siena_avila, post:1, topic:201703"]
But what if they don't know they're carriers until after they've had a conversion of heart, did penance, etc. and get engaged? **Are they then obligated to break things off with their fiances (ruining two futures), or, since they were in marriage prep, **can they be granted a Josephite marriage until medical technology comes up with a way to prevent transmission without needing to use barriers?

[/quote]

"Ruining two futures" -- those are awfully strong words and assume that calling off a marriage is a disaster from which one could not possibly recover (oh, the drama!). In truth -- and I can speak from disastrous experience -- following society, making excuses for not following God's plan, is a recipe for a lifetime of regret. If the Church obligates that a couple cannot marry, it is truly and deeply in their best interest to follow in obedience.

Chesterton once said something to the effect of: "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried." We must accept the courage and strength God offers us to follow Him.

The consequences of sin are heartbreaking and lifelong sometimes. God will always support us with His grace. All Christians are all called to be a part of that support.

Gertie


#3

[quote="siena_avila, post:1, topic:201703"]

But what if they don't know they're carriers until after they've had a conversion of heart, did penance, etc. and get engaged? Are they then obligated to break things off with their fiances (ruining two futures), or, since they were in marriage prep, can they be granted a Josephite marriage until medical technology comes up with a way to prevent transmission without needing to use barriers. Like the HPV vaccine for women?

[/quote]

A Josephite marriage can be entered into under the counsel and spiritual direction of a competent priest, and with permission to do so.

BUT, when the parties enter into marriage it is with the right to exchange the marital embrace. This right is absolute. Therefore, if one or the other spouse decides to end the Josephite marriage, the other spouse **must **comply and begin living the conjugal life.

Therefore, no, it would not be an appropriate solution for such a situation as you describe above. You cannot enter into a marriage with the absolute condition of no intercourse, ever.

[quote="siena_avila, post:1, topic:201703"]

And what if a male fiance is serving his country and gets injured much the way the main character did in The Sun Also Rises and doesn't have, er, "functioning equipment." By getting engaged to a woman, he was proclaiming he wanted to spend the rest of his life with just her. Could church authorities be compassionate and let the couple enter a Josephite marriage, with proper counsel?

[/quote]

Impotence is an impediment to valid marriage. It cannot be dispensed. The parties must be **able **to engage in the marital act, for the same reasons as above.


#4

Thanks for helping me understand!


#5

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