Paula, you raise a number of important issues well, and it is right to be concerned about them in today’s culture. Not only is openness to children under assault, but the permanence or indissolubility of marriage as well. Even Catholics seem to believe that marriage is merely a human or civil institution that can be dissolved at will and defined under our own terms.
I can only state how the Church wants marriage to be solemnized when a wedding is celebrated in the Catholic Church according to the Latin Rite. It is sad that people take liberties with this. As canon 838 §1 says, “The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop.”
[quote=paula Cross]I have been to several Catholic marriages and have not heard the question asked about being open to life.
The questions appear in number 24 of the Rite of Marriage, and precede the exchange of consent in number. 25. Sometimes the questions are not audible to those attending the wedding, but in the ritual, are to be asked. The rite says of the third question, “The following question may be omitted if, for example, the couple is advanced in years.” It seems to me that unless this condition is present or if it is known to the couple and cleric that they cannot have children, it should be asked. Even in the case of known sterility, it could be asked without prejudice to truth to avoid embarrassment, since it speaks of intention and not capacity…
[quote=paula Cross] I usually hear do you take this man/woman to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold to this day. . . . I do not even think they say till death do you part anymore. I know I could look up the marriage vows in The Catechism of the the Catholic church but what are we really saying? If marriage is in such a flux, as well, shouldn’t the vows be discussed in detail at a Catholic precana?
As I think I said, there must be proper catechesis about marriage, and you will find me in complete support of your view. When we conduct a pre nuptial retreat at the parish, I address both the declarations and the vows on a phrase by phrase basis with the engaged couples. We spend about two hours on that.
Though, I think that you will find more about the theology of marriage and its goods rather than the language of the vows in the Catechism. One of these goods is the “bonum prolis,” or the good of children. The term is drawn from Saint Augustine’s teaching on marriage.
[quote=paula Cross]PS Do you know the exact marriage vows?
I have witnessed weddings, and I do. John Liliburne has posted the translation of the typical form of the Latin Church and of the form approved for the U.S. episcopal conference (I’m assuming the weddings you attended were in the U.S.) They are the same as in the ICEL translation which appears in my copy of The Roman Ritual: The Rite of Marriage (NY: Catholic Book Publishing Co, 1970).
Here is the typical form for the Latin Church and John L. has given the translation: “Ego N. accipio te N. in uxorem meam (seu maritum meum) et promitto, me tibi fidem servaturum, inter prospera et adversa, in ægra et in sana valetudine, ut te, díligam et honorem omnibus diebus vitæ meæ.”
In the U.S., the last phrase is rendered, “all the days of my life.” The ritual text permits this variation in the U.S.: “I, N., take you, N., for my lawful wife (or husband), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” Perhaps the weddings you attended used the first form. But “all the days …” and “until death …” mean the same.
Also, as per John L —top thread, the question about children is not mentioned in the vows.
This is true, yet it does not need to be expressly mentioned. It is presumed in doctrine and canon law, ought to be treated in pre nuptial catechesis, and should be asked in the declarations.
Well, that was the point I was trying to make, but I was not sufficiently clear and apologize. When I wrote, “So this is contained in the very exchange of marital consent in any of the approved forms of the vows,” perhaps I should have been more explicit. I should have written “necessarily contained.” One cannot valid marriage in any other way than intending openness to children. Openness to children (like permanence, fidelity and exclusivity) are so foundational to marriage in theology and law, they cannot be detached from marital consent.
Hence the conclusion, “when a couple exchanges consent according to the Catholic Rite of Marriage, they are presumed to have consented internally to marriage as it is understood by the Church.” (Canon Law Society of America, New Canon Law Commentary, p 1312.)
I’l add some references to explain that in a subsequent post.