Why does this scenario fit into the Catholic view of marriage?


#1

Before anyone jumps on me, let me say I accept the Church’s teaching on intercourse but I don’t claim to fully understand it and here is why.

If the marital embrace must be fully unitive and fully open to the possibility of life, why does the Church allow a man and woman to marry (and have licit intercourse) even when the woman has had her uterus, tubes and ovaries removed prior to the marriage? There is no possibility of pregnancy in this case short of another “miraculous” birth. The act of intercourse in this case would never be anything but unitive and would therefore, it seems to me, never meet the Church’s criteria for licit intercourse. And for sake of argument this couple does not intend to adopt.

I’m hoping someone can explain to me why this would be a valid marriage taking the scenario into account. Thanks.


#2

You answered the question yourself, really. There is always the possibility of a miraculous birth. The only bar to marriage is the complete inability to complete the marital embrace. The Church makes no judgment about people being able to conceive (except for what I cited)--it only asks that people be open to conceiving. The difference is important.


#3

Are you saying the church would not marry a couple if the man stated he was fully impotent?


#4

[quote="momor, post:3, topic:185387"]
Are you saying the church would not marry a couple if the man stated he was fully impotent?

[/quote]

This is accurate, I have heard it before on CA radio too. Totally impotent men are not normally allowed to marry.

As a practical matter, I don't know how a good Catholic man would know he is impotent for sure, unless he was recently widowed was in an annulled marriage or was castrated shrug:


#5

That is correct. This has sadly happened on occasion, especially with accident victims who have certain types of parapalegia or quadrapalegia.


#6

[quote="Rolltide, post:5, topic:185387"]
That is correct. This has sadly happened on occasion, especially with accident victims who have certain types of parapalegia or quadrapalegia.

[/quote]

If this is true, this is a further reason why it's so hard for me to understand the teaching. My reason tells me that an impotent man is more likely to eventually be able to perform a unitive act of intercourse (i.e. through a non-miraculous medical intervention or spontaneous recovery) than the woman in my scenario is to become pregnant (which could only happen by a true miracle).


#7

Does anyone know why the church won’t marry an impotent man? I knoq children are the ultimate fruits of marriage, but there are other fruits as well. A married couple can have spiritual growth from each other that might not be possible alone. Also they can learn sacrificial love for each other even in the absence of children.

At the same time, if there can be a miraculous birth when a woman is infertile, why can’t their be a miraculous birth when the male is infertile?

I’m just curious and a little confused as to why.


#8

[quote="Garyjohn2, post:7, topic:185387"]
Does anyone know why the church won't marry an impotent man? I knoq children are the ultimate fruits of marriage, but there are other fruits as well. A married couple can have spiritual growth from each other that might not be possible alone. Also they can learn sacrificial love for each other even in the absence of children.

At the same time, if there can be a miraculous birth when a woman is infertile, why can't their be a miraculous birth when the male is infertile?

I'm just curious and a little confused as to why.

[/quote]

It is not because they can't have children, it is because the marriage can not be consummated. These days with drugs and implants this is a pretty rare occurrence.

It might be possible for such a couple to receive special permission for a Josephite (sp?) marriage. I don't think such dispensation is very common and if I remember correctly may have to come from the Vatican.


#9

Even in a Josephite marriage, both parties have to be able to complete the sexual act - even if they choose not to.

Intercourse is so important to God and His creation that it is required that those who marry be able to have it.


#10

Agreed. The sexual act must be able to be completed; this normally wouldn't affect a woman who has had a complete hysterectomy, but would likely affect a man who is impotent.


#11

In the scenario of a completely infertile woman, the couple is indeed fulfilling only the unitive end of the marriage act. However, they are not willfully excluding the procreative end -- it just isn't possible, for reasons outside their control. Separating those two ends is the sin -- not intercourse which happens only to serve one end. Post-menopausal couples are another example. The Church marries these couples because they are serving one end of marriage, and aren't excluding the other end willfully. (The fact that the Church supports the marriage of infertile couples can be seen from the rubrics of the marriage ceremony, where it notes that the parts of the vows and marriage blessings which refer to children may be omitted if the couple is infertile or of advanced age.)

However, if neither end is able to be served, because the couple can't have intercourse at all, then their relationship can't be a marriage. It's lacking in one of the defining characteristics of marriage -- that it is a sexual relationship. Without even the faint possibility of sex happening at some point within the marriage, the couple are really just very close friends who live together. It's not the Church being "unfair," it's just that an essential part of marriage is impossible, so marriage is impossible.


#12

Keep in mind that with the current state of medical technology, it is very difficult to find a situation in which a male would be truly unable to consummate a marriage in some allowable way.


#13

No, this is incorrect. The Church teaching is not that each act must **be **procreative. Each act of intercourse is **ordered to *unity and procreation. A person who is sterile due to natural defect, surgery, age, or disease still completes the act the way it was created-- totally unaltered. A completed act of intercourse is always per se *unitive and procreative.

Whether or not any given act is subjectively fertile or sterile is not relevant. Only that it is objectively ordered to procreation.

A person who is *impotent, * unlike a person who is infertile, is unable to complete the act of intercourse. The marital covenant brings with it the right and duty to exchange intercourse. An impotent person is not *able *to exchange this right nor complete this duty. Therefore, he/she is *unable *to validly enter marriage.


#14

[quote="momor, post:1, topic:185387"]
why does the Church allow a man and woman to marry (and have licit intercourse) even when the woman has had her uterus, tubes and ovaries removed prior to the marriage? .

[/quote]

My opinion: If she had her insides removed before marriage to avoid being pregnant due to pre marital sex or with the intent of being a virgin but some day marrying, she committed a sin and God will judge her in his wisdom (I am not saying I know what He will say).

If the woman had to have such an operation for health reasons and to stay alive. That is a whole different story and she did nothing wrong.

However, I am curious how the church would know. Do women have to pass a medical test before they are married?

CM


#15

[quote="whm, post:4, topic:185387"]
As a practical matter, I don't know how a good Catholic man would know he is impotent for sure, unless he was recently widowed was in an annulled marriage or was castrated shrug:

[/quote]

It's important to distinguish between medical impotence and canonical impotence. A man who has been castrated post puberty is often capable of completed intercourse, but is still considered canonically impotent and cannot marry validly according to the Catholic Church.

If hysterectomies had been available in the middle ages, when the parameters of canonical impotence were still being defined, it is likely that a women with a hysterectomy would have been considered canonically impotent and unable to marry as well.


#16

So if God allows one of his children to be born with physical deformities, that means God also is going to prevent that person from having another person to share their life with?
So, it's a double curse for them then? All because of original sin? And all of us who do not have any deformaties can carry on with marriage. But, I guess it is at least consistant with the God who did not allow in the OT for anyone with deformaties to be in the temple.


#17

I am as well. Especially when you compare this with a woman who has had a complete hysterectomy. Seems to me that as far as miracles go, the impotent man is more likely to suddenly, miraculously be able to conceive.

Also, what about an impotent couple who intend to adopt, would this also not be allowed? Would the Church let them live together with a “civil marriage”, as brother and sister? I’ll accept whatever the Church says about this, but it is admittedly a little hard to understand.


#18

[quote="Rolltide, post:12, topic:185387"]
Keep in mind that with the current state of medical technology, it is very difficult to find a situation in which a male would be truly unable to consummate a marriage in some allowable way.

[/quote]

One must have the ability to not only penetrate but also the ability to ejaculate.


#19

I don’t think that is quite right. In order to be correct, shouldn’t the statement be more like:
A voluntarily completed unaltered act of marital intercourse is always* per se *unitive and procreative.
I am truly asking so if I am wrong, let me know (and reasoning would be appreciated).


#20

So the Catholic church would not allow a paralyzed Catholic man to get married? :eek:

One of my male friends got in a 4-wheeling accident and is paralyzed from the shoulders down--his girlfriend stayed with him. :o So if they ever wanted to get married (they're not Catholic anyway, just hypothetically for my question) the church would say no? Even if they wanted to adopt later?

I'm not Catholic so it doesn't technically matter to me--it just seems cruel. My fiance`s uncle (paralyzed from the neck down) and aunt have been married 20+ years. They are such a loving Christian couple and their relationship inspires me with all the hardships they had to overcome together.


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