Joseph Martos
Part Three of the Course, Fourth Assignment, Question 2
by Dr. Joe Martos - Friday, 17 February 2012, 1:59 AM
Reflect on the developments in marriage since the Second Vatican Council, explaining why you believe that some of these have been positive or negative developments.
Picture of arnetta sims
Re: Part Three of the Course, Fourth Assignment, Question 2
by arnetta sims - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:46 PM

My summary was included in the conclusion to the reflection of the historical developments of the sacrament of marriage, but I will re-emphasize my points.

Vatican II laid the foundation for the clarity of marriage from a biblical stand point. In the scriptures we read in Eph. 5 of God's plan for salvation through His saving grace. The sacrament of marriage builds up the Body of Christ. The ritual of marriage is a celebration that is an act of communal worship.

We examined the two major changes where the covenant of marriage as a symbol of God's love for humanity. To produce children and to enable support for one another in mutal love. Married couples are looked upon as a sacrament. It is a sign to the world of God's love.

I believe that the developments of Vatican II are more pastoral with room for improvement in the ritualistic celebrations. Having coordinated many Catholic weddings their is not much room for individual expressions within the liturgy. Everything is scripted to the letter and most priest follow to the detail in marriage ceremonies. As the Church moves and evolves, eventually more individual expressions will be incorporated into the liturgies.I must admit that the two major elements of change where on a positive note.The ceremony itself did change from couples having their backs to the community to facing one another. There is hope of future development as time and people change.

GRADE 3 (Could have been more fully developed.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Monday, 30 July 2012, 10:19 PM)

Picture of Marvin Fitchett
Re: Part Three of the Course, Fourth Assignment, Question 2
by Marvin Fitchett - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:44 PM

In the same manner the contemporary era affected the other sacraments, this era had a similar influence on the sacrament of marriage. The contemporary era’s influence initiated this review and reflection of the developments in marriage since the Second Vatican Council.

The social events and thinking surrounding the twentieth century cause the Catholic Church to reconsider its revered medieval view of the Catholic marriage sacrament. The Catholic marriage theology conveyed a taut legalist reputation, which manifested a contract between a Catholic man and woman, who performed their marital duties, and procreated and educated their children.

Initially, the Second Vatican Council ignored the contemporary era’s tremors which emanated from its social transformation and thinking. The contemporary era’s marital view gain popularity in expressing the sentiment of the people to include Catholics. The people of the twentieth century were full of life and the Catholic medieval view of marriage did not convey how they felt concerning marriage.

The married couples of the twentieth century maintained their relationships consisted of a commitment, mutual love, and supporting each other. Herbert Doms offers his critique of the contemporary marriage as he states, “the primary purpose of marriage was the personal fulfillment and mutual growth of the spouses which occurred not only through their sexual relation but through all the interpersonal relations of their married life” (387).

Eventually, the contemporary era persuaded the Council to re-consider and see that the medieval legalist view could be perceived as out of touch. The Second Vatican Council retained the medieval view by toning down the legal jargon and embracing more of the personal aspects to the contemporary marriage.

Overall, the sacrament of marriage in its original intent is positive and good. Especially, when it is analogized to Jesus Christ’s love for his church, the love between a man and a woman should resemble it.

Pertaining to the decision that the council made, it too was positive and good. This is the one time, the Council exercised understanding in rendering their decision. They maintained the medieval theology and sacramentality of marriage while consenting to some of the twentieth century theology. In essence they preserved the sacredness of what a Christian marriage should resemble, while at the same time opening the door to the worldly view which promoted the Catholic Church flexibility.

The twentieth century couples statement that their relationships consisted of a commitment, mutual love, and supporting each other. I would consider it as negative and deceptive. I’m stating deceptive, because if the Catholic Church changes it theology to welcome the contemporary life styles. Now, I’m stating negative, the Catholic Church has to legitimize everything that comes in the door behind the contemporary life style. The life style where marriage is the union “of two people in a common life of sharing and commitment, and the meaning of intercourse was a physical and spiritual self-giving that occurred in the intimate union of two people in love” (387).

Grade 3 (Good critique, but a bit short.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Tuesday, 31 July 2012, 08:44 PM)

Picture of Eileen Rettig
Re: Part Three of the Course, Fourth Assignment, Question 2
by Eileen Rettig - Monday, 6 August 2012, 6:39 PM

As a married, Catholic woman I think the most positive outgrowth of Vatican II was the change made in the Church’s definition of the primary purpose of marriage. Since at least the time of Augustine of Hippo, procreation had been considered the first and most important purpose of marriage. Some of the patristic fathers considered it sinful for a married couple to enjoy having intercourse. Vatican II finally recognized what loving couples had known for a long time. Those most intimate moments in a marriage help provide the glue that keep marriages together through the rough times.

Marriage was thus given two main purposes, the support of the couple and the procreation and education of children (390). This acknowledgement of importance of the union in both its emotional and physical aspects appears to have been an effort by the bishops to remove the stigma of being “dirty” that married sex has carried for thousands of years. This opened up the beautiful Theology of the Body that was delivered by John Paul II during a series of Wednesday audiences early in his pontificate. His theology expresses the sacredness of the love between a husband and wife more eloquently than previous theologians, with children being the joyful product of that union.

Unfortunately this probably came too late for the majority of Catholics in the industrial world. Two problems loom large within populations. The first is the problem of failed marriages, particularly in the United States. The divorce rate in the US is about fifty percent with Catholics being no different from the rest of the population. Many divorced Catholics who decide to remarry feel compelled to stop practicing their religion because the Church considers them to be committing adultery. It is possible to seek an annulment where a tribunal of canon lawyers look into the first marriage and can possibly decide no sacramental marriage took place and the parties are free to marry. But this process is time-consuming, can be expensive and while those who serve on the tribunals say the process is supposed to be healing; those who go through it say it is like going through the divorce a second time. It is painful.

The second problem arises with the Church’s stand on the use of artificial contraception. While John Paul II’s theology of the body gives powerful statements about the detrimental effects of using artificial contraception and could have helped Catholics to better understand Rome’s position, and earlier pope, Paul VI declared it immoral on what could be described as, “I’m the Pope and I said so.” The majority of the Catholics in the industrial nations promptly ignored the ban. This is a consequence of trying to use arguments based on scholastic and Tridentine thinking on a population that is highly educated.

I doubt the breach surrounding the Church’s ban on artificial contraception and the attitude of the Catholic laity is fixable. Although I do firmly believe teaching using the intellectual gifts of John Paul II may aid Catholics in a better understanding of the dangers to future generations of both artificial contraception and artificial conception.

The divorce issue is also difficult to answer. Long standing marriages add to the stability of a society. Children can grow to adulthood secure in knowing they are cared for and loved. Young adults have the examples of the older generation to get through the difficult times that life presents to everyone. Finally, those of us who have reached maturity have someone who can be that companion for our final years who knows our history, shares our memories and can provide support when our bodies fail to act like the twenty year olds our minds still think we are. The best remedy that we have right now is to prepare our young people for the reality of life as a family. Marriage preparations through groups like Engaged Encounter purport to decrease the divorce rate among those couples who participate.

GRADE 4 (Accurate analysis and reasoned evaluations.)

(Edited by Dr. Joe - original submission Thursday, 2 August 2012, 12:18 AM)