Crusading For Peace Through Truth
Free Call
The History of the Catholic Idea of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony  and a Series of Propositions on how Two Become One Flesh

  1. Introduction

T

he second Chapter of Genesis concludes with man, after being alone in the Garden of Eden for a significant period of time, with only animals who he could not truly commune with, now excited to say that, “This one, at last, is the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one shall be called ‘issa,’ [Heb. for ‘woman’] for out of is [Heb. for ‘man’] this one has been taken.” The origin of the reality of this unique union between man and woman is then further defined by the author in writing, “This is why man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh [body].”[1] That is, there is something about entering into communion with a person that causes man to move beyond where he is comfortable, safe and secure.

From the very outset of Genesis, there is a clear message that when man communes with other, it will cause him some degree of self-sacrifice. Yet, he cannot simply forsake the sacrifice, for, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”[2] For and by sacrificial love he was created.   Indeed, a running theme that will continue through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, Boaz, the Judges, Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament, is that the life to which God is calling His creatures to live is not all about them; rather, life is truly good when they make their life about elevating the good of other.

The final verse of the second chapter of Genesis states, “The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame.”[3] That is, they were in their original state of wholeness and had not yet fallen into being disappointed in being less they were created to be.

This perfect image those good creatures made in the image and likeness of God then allows for a transition into the second message that the creation narrative also has to say to us about marriage between man and woman. That there is an Evil force at work in the world that is set on tempting man and woman to be less than who they were created to be – to cause to feel ashamed, disappointed and anxious (i.e. always feeling delayed and unfulfilled). The very first interest of this Evil is to cause disorder and disharmony in marriage; that is, to rupture the union between the flesh of the husband and wife by introducing the benefits of self-interest over sacrificial love.

  1. Thesis

There are two things of significance in society that make this an important issue to speak clearly about. The first is the matter of the union itself between man and woman. It is easy to repeat, as we often do (often during marriage ceremonies), that husband and wife become ‘one flesh’ during marriage, but how exactly does that process occur? Anthropologically, physically or metaphysically, how can two distinction persons ever become one person?   To what degrees are they actually ‘one flesh’? How is such an idea even possible? If such a ‘seemingly unnatural’ (i.e. beyond our nature of individual selfhood) feat is possible, then what are the properties that could bring about such a union? What are the fruits and consequences of making two distinct persons into one?

Second, there is the matter of the ongoing attack on marriage from the world, the flesh and the Devil that demands a clear and authentic Catholic response. In becoming Post-Catholic, society-at-large has also become Post-matrimonial. The goods and qualities of marriage, such as children, indissolubility, and conjugal love, sanctification, have either lost all sense of Divine ordering, become shameful, or hated. Only the authentically Catholic answer and cure to this sickness can help to heal it.

Therefore, using sacred Scripture, writings from the fathers, councils, popes, doctors, Catholic theologians and those who are opposed to the Catholic teaching on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, I intend to communicate the history of the Catholic idea of marriage and then offer a series of propositions on the role that grace and sacrificial love plays in husband and wife becoming one flesh through the Sacrament made specifically for it.

  1. Selections of Patristic Texts on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony (Pre-Nicene to Augustine)

Up until Saint Augustine, the patristic authors consistently demonstrated their reliance on sacred Scripture (in particular Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:21-32) to speak of the indissolubility of marriage, the authority of the Church to define it as a Sacrament or as a grace, and the remedy it is against human weakness.

In his A.D. 110 letter to Polycarp, Bishop of the Church of Smyrna, Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch echoes Ephesians 5:25 in writing, “. . . Speak to my sisters that they love the Lord, and be content with their husbands in body and in soul. In like manner, exhort my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives as the Lord loved the Church.” He then writes about the role and authority Church has to play in examining the readiness of the couple before they are married, “It is proper for men and women who wish to marry to be united with the consent of the bishop, so that their marriage will be acceptable to the Lord, and not entered upon for the sake of lust. Let all things be done for the honor of God.”[4]

Origin, in one of his twenty-five books of Commentaries on Matthew, speaks of power of God and an unspecified grace at work to make husband and wife no longer two, but one, “Certainly it is God who joins two in one, so that when He marries a woman to a man, there are no longer two. And since it is God who joins them, there is in this joining a grace for those who are joined by God.”[5]

Saint Pacian, Bishop of Barcelona, in his A.D. 392 Sermon on Baptism compares Christ Jesus taking on the flesh to heal it through unification with the divine – nuptials through with Christian people are born to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, “. . . In these last times Christ took a soul and with it flesh from Mary: this flesh came to prepare salvation, this flesh was not left in the lower regions, this flesh He conjoined to His spirit and made it His own. And these are nuptials of the Lord, so that like that great Sacrament they might become two in one flesh, Christ and the Church.”[6]

In A.D. 366-384 Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, wrote similarly to Pacian in comparing the union of man and woman to Christ in his Commentaries on Thirteen Pauline Epistles, “”For this reason shall a an leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall be two in one flesh.” To commend this unity he supplies an example of unity. Just as a man and a woman are one in nature so Christ and the Church are recognized as one through father. “This is a great mystery – I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.” He means that the great sign [sacramentum] of this mystery is in the unity of man and woman. . . . Just as a man forsakes his parents and cleaves to his wife, so too he forsakes every error and cleaves to the Church and subjects himself to her Head, which is Christ.”[7]

In his A.D. 389 Commentary on Luke Ambrose wrote about how God’s law on marriage supersedes human law on marriage, “You dismiss your wife, therefore, as if by right and without being charged with wrongdoing; and you suppose it is proper for you to do so because no human law forbids it; but divine law forbids it. Anyone who obeys men ought to stand in awe of God. Here is the law of the Lord, which even they who propose our laws must obey: “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.”[8]

  1. Selections of Patristic Text on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony (Augustine through Pope Gregory I)

In this Homilies on the Gospel of John (A.D. 416 et 417), Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, states that the Wedding Feast at Cana was an intentional occasion for the Lord to come “in order to affirm conjugal chastity and to show that marriage is a Sacrament. Moreover, the bridegroom at that marriage to whom it was said, “You have kept the good wine until now,” is a figure of the person of the Lord. For Christ has kept the good wine, that is, His gospel, until now.”[9]

In Marriage and Concupiscence (A.D. 419-420) Augustine wrote that the substance of the Sacrament of Marriage is their matrimonial bond, “Certainly it is not fecundity only, the fruit of which is in offspring, not chastity only, the bond of which is in fidelity, but a certain sacramental bond of marriage that is recommended to the faithful who are married, when the Apostles says: “Men, love your wives, as also Christ loved the Church.” Undoubtedly the substance of the Sacrament is of this bond, so that when man and woman have been joined in marriage they must inseparably be as long as they live . . .”[10]

Saint Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, in his Commentary on John (A.D. 429) also regarded the Wedding Feast at Cana as an intentional occasion for Christ Jesus to elevate marriage, “. . . the Savior too was there, working miracles more than being entertained in feasting, and especially that He might sanctify the very beginning of human generation, which certainly is a matter concerning the flesh.”[11]

In responding to the issue of women remarrying after it had been thought that their husband had died in war, only to find their husband return home after all, Pope Leo I wrote a compassionate letter to Bishop Nicetas of Aquilea on March 21, 458 affirming four things in this regard: (1) Because women are joined to their husband by God (cf. Prov. 19:14) and it is an indissoluble bond (Cf. Mt. 19:6), “marriage must be reestablished and that, after the evils inflected by enemies are removed, what each person had lawfully should be returned to him; and care must be exerted with all zeal to see that each person recovers what is his own. (2) Those “who had taken the role of that husband who was not thought to be alive should not be judged blameworthy and regarded as a violator of another person’s rights”; (3) Men who have returned from long captivity and still love their wives and desire to return to marital union with them “must be renounced and judged not to be a matter for blame; and what fidelity demands must be restored”; and (4) Women who prefer to cling to their subsequent spouse rather than return to the lawful relationship, “are to be justly reproved by being deprived of communion with the Church.”[12]

Like Theodoret, Bishop of Cyr in this A.D. 453 Compendium of Heretics’ Fables, Pope Gregory I was also concerned about the indissolubility of marriage from the perspective of Divine law in a letter to Theoctista (A.D. 601), “If they saw that marriage ought to be dissolved for the sake of religion, it must be known that even if human law has allowed this, divine law has nevertheless forbidden it. For Truth Himself says: “What God has joined together, let man not put asunder.” He says also: “It is not permitted to dismiss a wife, except for reason of fornication.”   Who, then, can contradict this heavenly Legislator?”[13]

Altogether, the Patristic Fathers were altogether in agreement that Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament instituted by God from the beginning, pointed to by Jesus in His dialogue with the Pharisees[14] and at the Wedding of Cana,[15] and affirmed by Paul as being indissoluble, good,[16] and a type of mystical union like Christ and His Church.[17] Yet, there was not much detail from them about how that process of two becoming one flesh actually comes about through God’s grace.

The Patristic texts,[18] drawing from the virginity of Mary and Paul’s advice to virgins,[19] also see marriage as being a remedy to sexual temptation and concupiscence, and for that reason, most of the Fathers see it being surpassed in state and dignity by celibacy and virginity that is ordered to God. This, in fact, is an interesting proposal, being that there is no sacrament – no divinely ordered action of the Church through which Christ continues to minister to His people – for consecrated celibacy and virginity.

  1. From Pope Innocent III through the Council of Florence (1198 – 1439)

During the Middle-Ages there was a mature confidence in the tradition of the Sacrament of Marriage on display amongst the faithful theologians. This is evident in the Letter Guademus in Domino to Bishop of Tiberius from Pope Innocent III, early 1201, in which he grounds the defense of the indissolubility of marriage, while detailing the process of the Pauline Privilege among pagans who are converting to Catholicism.

In Supplement to the Third Part, Question 42, Articles 1 through 4, of Summa Theologica found that matrimony:

  1. Is natural, not in the sense of a necessity arriving from the principles of nature (e.g. the upward movement of fire), but natural in the sense of a virtue; that is, natural reason inclines man and woman towards marriage, because of (1) producing offspring (as well as nourishing and educating them) is a “principal end of matrimony”, and (2) the secondary end of matrimony, which is the mutual service each married person renders to the other.
  2. Is not a matter of precept (binding obligatory law) for all (Cf. 1 Cor 7:3).
  3. Does contain the marital act of conjugal love that is a precept, and because it is a precept is in never a sin. Moreover, this act is meritorious if it is done in charity.
  4. Fits the definition of a Sacrament, because it is a sign of a sacred thing; it denotes a sanctifying remedy against sin offered to man under sensible signs; like the Sacrament of Penance (and Reconciliation) is perfected by the act of the recipient; like the other Sacraments is conformed to Christ’s Passion – not by pain, but by charity; like the other Sacraments is a sign of a mission of Christ – for this, the union of husband and wife is a sign of the union of Christ with His Church; and like the other Sacraments it contains something which is reality and sacrament.
  5. Was fitting to be present before creation was wounded by the original sin, because the principal end of matrimony (the betting of children) was necessary before the sin entered the world.
  6. Being a Sacrament, is a cause of grace,[20] and
  7. Does not have carnal intercourse as an integral part of it, because there was matrimony in Paradise, yet there was no carnal intercourse between them.

In 1512, on the eve of the Protestant reformulation, Pope Julius II convoked the Fifth Lateran Council Florence in hopes reform some of the same abuses in the Church that allowed him to become Pope. While unable to enact any of its reforms, due to internal and external disinterest and strife, the council Fathers did produce a well-written Bull in Exsultate Dew (Decree for the Armenians), which championed, explained, and echoed the long-held traditional teaching on the seven Sacraments. On Marriage:

“The seventh is the sacrament of matrimony, which is the sign of the union of Christ and the Church, according to the saying of the apostle: “This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” [Eph 5:32]. The efficient cause of matrimony is the mutual consent duly expressed in words relating to the present.

A triple good is found in matrimony. The first is the begetting of children and their education to the worship of God. The second is the faithfulness that each spouse owes to the other. Third is the indissolubility of marriage, inasmuch as it represents the indissoluble union of Christ and the Church. But, although it is permitted to separate on account of fornication, nevertheless it is not permitted to contract another marriage since the bond of ma marriage legitimately contracted is perpetual.”

Altogether, concerning the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, what the Catholic theology of the Middle-Ages and Scholasticism had to offer us was continuity with Biblical, patristic and traditional understanding of marriage.   While the Supplement demonstrates the reasonableness and logic of the Catholic teaching on marriage, how the process of ‘two becoming one flesh’ actually occurs still remains a mystery.

  1. Luther, Calvin, and the Council of Trent (1517 – 1563)

In response to Martin Luther,[21] John Calvin[22] and their other Protestant offshoots rejecting a growing number of Sacraments, including marriage, the true response from the Church on this issue was not found in the fruits of her 24th session on November 11, 1563 that produced the doctrine and twelve canons on the Sacrament of Marriage. Rather, the beauty of Trent was not in her decrees on the Sacraments, but in her Decree on Justification (January 13, 1547). It was out of these sessions that the fathers treated the crux of Luther’s and Calvin’s pertinacious teachings that the Original Sin permanently depraved from the ability to freely respond to God’s offer of salvation; therefore, the Sacraments are not efficacious.

In his Institutes of Christian Religion Calvin saw Baptism and Holy Eucharist to be Sacraments because he believed that there was no explicit evidence in Scripture to demonstrate that Christ Jesus instituted them to be signs of a divine work connected to the covenant He established with us.

Using the very same verses from Scripture (e.g. Gen. 2:23, Eph. 5:28, 32) that the Church had used for over a millennium to prove marriage is a Sacrament, and a claim that when Jerome published the Latin Vulgate he had taken Paul’s word ‘mystery’[23] and ignorantly translated it into ‘sacrament’, he adduced that the Church had lead people astray by dogmatically clinging to this absurd translation, while ignoring and neglecting other verses, which do not call marriage a sacrament.[24]

Luther’s sola-scriptura and Calvin’s system of TULIP[25] not only posit that there isn’t any explicit proof in Scripture that marriage is a Sacrament, but because there is no need for sacrificial love in the latter’s system, it then therefore follows that marriage should not be a Sacrament, and what Calvin does believe are Sacraments should not be efficacious. That is to say that, while the Catholic Church has not yet explained precisely how it is that two wounded beings become one wounded flesh, it is wholly illogical in Calvin’s system that two depraved beings could or should become one depraved flesh.

  1. From Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubit to St. Pope John Paul II’s Instruction of the CDF: Life and Procreation (1930 – 1987)

All councils and papal documents after the Council of Trent affirm Trent on the Sacrament of Marriage being instituted and perfected by Christ Jesus, monogamous, indissoluble once consummated, and it being for the purposes of uniting spouses, sanctifying them, and procreating and rearing children.

What seems to disappear from the theological tradition is the notion of marriage as a remedy for concupiscence and consecrated virginity surpassing marriage in holiness. While Pius XII in his Encyclical Ad caeli Reginam (Queenship of Mary) echoes the patristic idea in writing, “For they [the perfectly chaste] receive from the Giver of heavenly gifts something spiritual that far exceeds that “mutual help” which husband and wife confer on each other,”[26] Pope John Paul II, especially in his lecture series on the Catechesis on Human Love (commonly called ‘Theology of the Body’) moves away from this idea so that me might emphasize the holiness of matrimony. In his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio (November 22, 1981), the holy pontiff wrote, “. . . Christian revelation recognized two specific ways of realizing the vocation of the human person, in its entirety, to love: marriage and virginity. Either one, is, in its own proper form, an actuation of the most profound truth of man, of his being “created in the image of God.”[27]

Yet, there still hasn’t been much offered in the way of a systematic treatment of how precisely it is that two become one flesh and the role that grace plays through the Sacrament to do such a miraculous thing.

  1. A Series of Propositions on How it is that Two Become One Flesh

This portion of this paper isn’t to create a new system, or even to propose one, but, rather, to offer a series of propositions on the reality and mystery of the performance of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in regards to how it is precisely that two opposites in male and female actually become one flesh.

  1. Becoming ‘One in Flesh’ Through Knowledge: In the General Audience of March 5, 1980 Pope John Paul II used Genesis 4:1-2 to speak about the role that knowledge played in conjugal union.[28] This is a portion of Genesis that the fathers and councils seem not too concerned with. Yet, for John Paul II this selection is central for explaining how man and woman become “one flesh”. The first birth of man on earth came by the way of Adam “knowing” (uniting/having intercourse) with his wife Eve. The conjugal act itself unites the flesh. While two persons can create one new flesh outside of marriage, it is only perfected with husband and wife who know each other in freely giving of themselves to the other in every good way and through the graces that the Sacrament they have received facilitates.
  2. Knowing Self is a Perquisites of Knowing Other: Before Adam can know Eve (other), he must first come to a knowledge of self – of who he is and the limits of self. According to John Paul II, this was the purpose of Adam’s ‘Original Solitude’ in the garden, when he discovered he was all alone in midst of many creatures he could not relate to as a person. What Adam was also discovering here, like a child, was his ability to freely will versus the limits of his freedom and will.   This learning process of choice Aquinas says has two parts; (1) cognitive power (counsel required), and (2) appetitive power (acceptance of the judgment of council).[29]
  3. Becoming ‘One in Flesh’ Through the Communion of Persons: “. . . man’s original unity through masculinity and femininity expresses itself as an overcoming of the frontier of solitude . . .”[30] That is, in discovering self and the limits of self, Adam so too discovers that he needs other to become the ‘good’ he was created to be. From the beginning, Eve is united to Adam in one flesh because she was created by his rib. For this, Adam exclaims, “This one, at last, is the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”[31] The question of how it is that husband and wife become one flesh is answered in the Original Unity of man and woman. They were one flesh in the beginning,[32] but the consequences of the Original Sin tore them apart and pitted them against one another.[33] This is why the Church has always recommend to her members that they marry persons who have been rightly Baptized in the faith.
  4. Becoming ‘One in Flesh’ Through the Communion of Family: “That is why man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh [body].”[34] That man leaves a home where there is a father and a mother who are also clinging to each other only so that he might cleave to his own wife, implies that the unity of the flesh also encompasses the whole family. Whereas marriages might separate when a spouse physically joins flesh with another, family only becomes extended when children leave to cleave sacramentally with their spouses.
  5. Becoming ‘One in Flesh’ Through the Ascent that Leads to Perfection: Man clinging to his wife is an active process of intentional engagement reminiscent of the ascending journey of Abram to Jesus. When the Israelites trusted and were obedient to Him God they knew that He was truly in their midst and was there to help them. The Biblical message is that our unity in God is perfected by our participation in the Divine nature when we becoming one in Christ.   Similarly, marriage is also perfected by husband and wife becoming one in Christ. The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony tells us that there is a dimension in my created self that I cannot accomplish on my own. Rather, it is through the Sacraments that we freely cooperate with the grace of God to go beyond the limits of what is natural to us outside of Him.
  6. Becoming ‘One in Flesh’ Through a Sacrament of New Creation:   While, the Sacrament of Matrimony does something that no other Sacrament does in that it makes two person one flesh, it can be thought to be, along with Baptism, as a Sacrament of New Creation. That is, in both of these Sacraments both the essence and the esse are reordered. Through Baptism, a new creation is born and with a new activity “to be” in Christ.   Likewise, through Matrimony, two persons are configured into one and given the activity “we be” in Christ.   Together with Christ, the spouses are one flesh in their Creator.

  1. Conclusion

These proposals lead me to conclude that, Holy Matrimony has the triune dimension of uniting spouses physically, familial, and divinely because it is the Sacrament most like Christ Jesus, in the manner in which He loved the Church. When a husband and wife sacrificially love one another their household becomes a type of Body of Christ. The wife becomes a type of Church, who has her husband at the head. As Christ Jesus is the perfect forgiver, so to do the husband and wife grow in humility so that might constantly forgive one another. Where love fails, love is perfected. The children, endowed with their own particular gifts in development, are also members of this body. Though the health of this body is a matter of chronic care in need of the sacraments, the healthier this body is the more consistently the whole will function for the good.

From Adam’s rib, to Paul’s very challenging exhortation to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5, to Christ Jesus’ life and mission, the Church has always been divinely inspired to point to these texts, because they all emphasize the chief property of marriage, which is sacrificial love.

To answer the question, it is graced sacrificial love that makes the union of two opposite persons one. Whether it be man with woman, or a Divine being with finite beings, the love and grace of God makes it possible.

________________

ENDNOTES

[1] Gen. 2:23-24.

[2] Gen. 2:18.

[3] Gen. 2:25. The Hebrew word here for ‘shame’ is the verb ‘bosh’, which has four usages in the Hebrew, (1) ashamed (put to shame, acts of shame, feeling shame), (2) disappointment, (3) confounded, and (4) anxious.

[4] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 1. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 26. Print.

[5] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 1. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 211. Print.

[6] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 2. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 144. Print.

[7] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 2. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 178-179. Print.

[8] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 2. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 164. Print.

[9] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 3. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 116. Print.

[10] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 3. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 135. Print.

[11] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 3. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 222. Print.

[12] Hunermann, Peter., ed. Heinrich Denzinger Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals. Ignatius Press, San Francisco. 2010. 112-113. Print. (i.e. and hereafter DS 112-113)

[13] Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers: Volume 3. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota. 1970. 312. Print.

[14] Cf. Mt. 19:5; Mk. 10:1-12.

[15] Cf. Jn. 2:1-12.

[16] Cf. I Cor. 7.

[17] Cf. Eph. 5:21-33.

[18] Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to Polycarp (very similar to Paul’s exhortation to virgins), Clement of Alexandra, Stromateis or Miscellanies (departs from the rest of the Fathers in elevating the trials and temptations married men endure over the carefree life of a celibate who only has to worry about himself), Origen, Against Celsus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures (“While you maintain perfect chastity, do not be puffed up in vain conceit against those who walk a humbler path in matrimony.”), Gregory of Nyssa, The Making of Man (“. . . virginity is stronger than Death”), Didymus the Blind, Against Manicheans – who taught that marriage is wicked, because intercourse engages the sinful flesh – (“naturally . . . virginity is something divine.”), John Chrysostom, Virginity (“That virginity is good I do agree. But that it is even better than marriage, this I do confess.”), Ambrose of Milan, Synodal Letter of Ambrose, Sabinus, Bassian, and Others to Pope Siricius, (stating that while marriage is sanctified by Christ, “But we are born before we are brought to our goal, and the mystery of the divine operation is much more excellent than the remedy for human weakness. It is quote right that a good wife be praised, but even better that a pious virgin be preferred.”), Ambrose of Milan, Exhortation to Virginity (“How great are the misfortunes peculiar to marriage.”), Jerome, Against Helvidius: the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (According to Jerome, Helvidius believed that “virgins and married women share in equal glory;” to which Jerome reputes.), Jerome, Against Jovinian (Jerome contends that Jesus loved the Apostles John more than the other Apostles because John was a virgin), Augustine of Hippo, Advantage of Widowhood, (“If modesty is preserved in the marriage bond, certainly damnation is not to be feared. But in virginal continence and in that of widowhood the excellence of a more ample offering is longed for. When this has been sought and chosen and consecrated in the obligation of a vow it is damnable not only to enter upon a marriage, but although one does not actually marry, even to desire to marry.”), Augustine of Hippo, Heresies (responding to the claims of Jovinianist who equate “the merits of chaste spouses and of the faithful with the virginity of consecrated women and the continence of the male sex in hoy persons choosing a celibate life.” John Damascene, The Source of Knowledge (“But we say this by the way of recognizing that however good marriage may be, virginity is better.”)

[19] 1 Cor. 7:25-40.

[20] Citing Peter Lombard, St. Albert Magnus, and Saint Bonaventure, The author(s) of the Supplement makes an emphasis in his answer and replies to objections here about marriage being a remedy to concupiscence.

[21] – “Marriage is a civic matter. It is really not, together with all its circumstances, the business of the church.” It is so only when a matter of conscience is involved” (What Luther Says, Vol. II, Concordia Publishing House, 1959).

– “No one can deny that marriage is an external, worldly, matter, like clothing and food, house and property, subject to temporal authority, as the many imperial laws enacted on the subject prove” (What Luther Says, Vol. 46, Concordia Publishing House, 1959).

– “I feel that judgments about marriages belong to the jurists. Since they make judgments concerning fathers, mothers, children, and servants, why shouldn’t they also make decisions about the life of married people? When the papists oppose the imperial law concerning divorce, I reply that this doesn’t follow from what is written, ‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder” (Luther’s Works Vol. 54).

– “Neither is there any need to make sacraments out of marriage and the office of the priesthood.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 37).

– “Not only is marriage regarded as a sacrament without the least warrant of Scripture, but the very ordinances which extol it as a sacrament have turned it into a farce. Let us look into this a little” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 36)

– “We have said that in every sacrament there is a word of divine promise, to be believed by whoever receives the sign, and that the sign alone cannot be a sacrament. Nowhere do we read that the man who marries a wife receives any grace of God. There is not even a divinely instituted sign in marriage, nor do we read anywhere that marriage was instituted by God to be a sign of anything. To be sure, whatever takes place in a visible manner can be understood as a figure or allegory of something invisible. But figures or allegories are not sacraments, in the sense in which we use the term” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 36; Babylonian Captivity of the Church).

[22] “The last of all is marriage, which, while all admit it to be an institution of God, no man ever saw to be a sacrament, until the time of Gregory. And would it ever have occurred to the mind of any sober man? It is a good and holy ordinance of God. And agriculture, architecture, shoemaking, and shaving, are lawful ordinances of God; but they are not sacraments. For in a sacrament, the thing required is not only that it be a work of God, but that it be an external ceremony appointed by God to confirm a promise. That there is nothing of the kind in marriage, even children can judge” (Institutes of Christian Religion, Chapter 19, no. 34).

[23] Cf. Eph. 5:32.

[24] Calvin, John. Institutes of Christian Religion. Chapter 19, no. 34.

[25] The core teachings of Calvinism are traditionally summarized through the acronym TULIP, which are: Total Depravity means that man cannot respond to God’s offer of salvation due to their will (in fact, their whole being) has been rendered incapable by the ‘Original Sin’ (cf. Rom. 3:9-10, 8:7-8; 2 Cor. 4:4).   Unconditional election, means that God has predetermined to elect some souls to salvation and others to damnation – not because of anything they may or may not have done in life, but merely according to His own sovereign will (cf. Acts 13:48; Rom. 9; Eph 1:3-6). Limited atonement means that Christ died only for the sins of the church, but not for the whole world (cf. Jn. 10:15; Mk. 10:45; Rev. 5:9). Irresistible grace means that those God has predetermined to elect cannot resist the Holy Spirit’s draw to salvation – that man cannot reject God’s mercy if God deigns to forgive a soul of its sins, without that soul first asking (Jn. 6:44; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; Acts 16:14). Perseverance of the saints means that by God’s power, those He predetermined to elect will endure in faith to the end (cf. Jn. 10:28; Rom. 8:30; Phil. 1:6).

[26] DS 3912.

[27] DS 4700.

[28] Paul, John II. Man and Woman He Created Them. Pauline Books & Media, Boston. 2006. 204-208. Print.

[29] ST 1 Q83, a4.

[30] Paul, John II. Man and Woman He Created Them. Pauline Books & Media, Boston. 2006. 162. Print.

[31] Gen. 2:23.

[32] ST 1 Q92, a1.

[33] Cf. Gen. 3:15.

[34] Gen. 2:24.

Summary
The History of the Catholic Idea of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony  and a Series of Propositions on how Two Become One Flesh
Article Name
The History of the Catholic Idea of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and a Series of Propositions on how Two Become One Flesh
Description
This paper communicates the history of the Catholic idea of marriage and 8 propositions on the role that grace and sacrificial love plays in husband and wife becoming one flesh.
Author
Publisher Name
Saint Dominic's Media, Inc.
Publisher Logo
  • A J MacDonald Jr

    Some thoughts I had after reading this…

    “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, not for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery; and he who marries one put away commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9)

    (πορνείᾳ porneia = fornication, whoredom = being a (male or female) whore or whoremonger (fornication here isn’t two unmarried people having sex, it’s one of the spouses becoming a whore or a whoremonger); another meaning of porneia is idolatry)

    The NT Church is the bride of Christ much like OT Israel was the bride of Yahweh. When Israel went whoring after other (false) gods they committed fornication (whoredom/idolatry). Yahweh was patient, and gave Israel chance after chance to return to him. The story of Hosea taking Gomer for his wife illustrates Yahweh’s steadfast love for his wayward spouse, despite the fact she was a whore. The final opportunity for Israel to return to Yahweh is when Christ is sent to Israel. When Israel officially (as a corporate people, via their legal representatives) rejects him, finally and completely breaking their covenant with Yaweh, Jesus presents Israel with his covenant lawsuit of divorce (Matthew 23) and officially divorces (abandons) Israel (Matthew 23:38). From then on the Church is the bride of Christ.

    “Theodoret, Bishop of Cyr in this A.D. 453 Compendium of Heretics’ Fables… For Truth Himself says: “What God has joined together, let man not put asunder.” He says also: “It is not permitted to dismiss a wife, except for reason of fornication.” Who, then, can contradict this heavenly Legislator?”

    “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” (1 Corinthians 6:16) (πόρνῃ porne = prostitute)