Saturday, May 16, 2009
It's been a long day at class, and I have a LOT I'd LIKE to say with regard to Canon Law and other things, but I promised I'd type up Charles Cardinal Journet's section on marriage, which follows a section on the nobility of the celibate life. So, without further ado, here it is:
At the time when Jovinian made virginity equal to marriage and professed that one cannot exalt the former without debating the latter, St. Augustine ** himself took up the challenge and foxed there the lofty traditional teaching that St. Thomas would later take up. The man who enters into the married state, say the Doctors, accepts the tribulatio carnis of which the Apostle speaks, that is to say, the involvement in exterior concerns. And nevertheless, that man's choice is a good one; there is nothing disordered there; his reason is not surrendered. He follows the law, not of matter, but of the spirit if he accepts the bonds of marriage in view of very pure spiritual ends, which his reason, enlightened by faith, shows him and toward which he will be urged by the divine power of the sacrament of Marriage.
Theology, since the time of St. Augustine, calls these spiritual ends the goods of marriage. The first and foremost of these is the child, on whom depends, in part, the growth of the Body of Christ here below and, later, the increase of the number of the elect. The second is the mutual complement that the common supernaturalized life brings to Christian spouses. The third good is the real, concrete, visible image - through a state of life - of the inseparable union between Christ and his Church; more intimately, it is the image, by a visible society of spouses, of that marvelous love, where egoism is unknown, where sacrifice makes the law.
Finally, the Church's Doctors whom we are summarizing teach that marriage has become a remedy for the concupiscence that the original Fall unleashed; first of all, in the primary sense that the act to which concupiscence inclines can be without sin only in marriage; next, in the other, more lofty sense that divine grace, conferred by the sacrament of Marriage, strives constantly to choke the very roots of egoism and concupiscence. As a result, if in marriage sacramental grace offers a sure remedy against the fever of concupiscence, abstinence from marriage for the sake of the Kingdom, joined to the practice of spiritual works and the mortification of the flesh, cures that fever more efficaciously and more radically still.
~ Charles Cardinal Journet, Theology of the Church, pp. 265-266
Please realize that these two posts comprise a tiny tiny piece of a 500 page book, and that he has a GREAT DEAL more to say on the subject. If you want to know what the Church is...this is a wonderful source. We did not read it in its entirety for class, but I do hope to do so in the future.
** There is a footnote in Journet that states: "De bono conjugali, against Jovinian; De nuptiis et concupiscentia, against the Pelagians; and the corresponding passages from the Retractationes."