The Traditional Catholic Sacrament of Marriage # 2

Pope St. Pius X defined marriage in this way: Marriage is a sacrement instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ that establishes a holy and indissoluble union between man and woman and gives them the grace to love each other in a holy way and to bring up their children in a christian manner.”  Catechism of St. Pius X.  This is the continuation of a reflexion on Fr. Alain Delangneau’s book, “Advice for Successful Families”.

41virgin_thumbSt Augustine classified 3 goods of marriage.  Bonum Prolis, Bonum Fidei and Bonum Sacramenti.

Bonum Prolis means that marriage is good to bringing about offsprings and is in the best for the interest of these children.  So the primary end of marriage is for bringing about the existence of children and their christian education.  Included in this would also be maintaining a loving safe environment for these children to be raised in.   This is the primary reason why a married husband and the wife have relationships.  The natural law of the conjugal act is to produce children.

Pope Pius XI in Casti Connubii stated: “Among the goods of marriage, children hold the first place… Christian parents must understand that they are not only called to propagate and conserve the human race on earth…. but to give sons to the Church, to create citizens, saints, and friends of God, to the end that the population of Christians increases day by day.  Marriage, as a natural institution in virtue of the will of the Creator, is for its primary and intrinsic end, not the personal perfection of the spouses, but the procreation and the education of new life.  The other ends, all and equally willed by nature, are not ranked with the primary end, and still less are the superior, but essentially subordinate.”  This goes in opposition to the new theology where they put unitive “first” and procreation second.  Was the Church and Pope Pius XI wrong and thus we need to change it?  Absolutely NO!

We can clearly see that since the rebellious use of contraceptives, the number of Catholics and christians are diminishing while the muslim population is increasing.  All religions and races that are rebelling against this natural end of the conjugal act are diminishing.  Abortion, birth control and homosexual sex lead to the end of these families and their religions.

The latin word Matrimonium comes from Mater, or mother because a mother naturally gives life to children.  So God shares His creative power by allowing spouses to be “Pro-Creators” with Him when they have sex and bring into being new babies.

This proper perspective of the conjugal union in marriage is found in the prayer of Tobias before he has relations with Sarah his wife.  “O Lord, God of our fathers, Thou who didst make Adam from the slime of the earth and didst give him Eve as a companion, Thou knowest that it is not for a base passion that we enter into marriage, but the sole love of posterity who must bless Thy name, forever and ever.” Tob 8: 9

Raphael_Marriage of Virgin_Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera_1504All the other seven husbands of Sarah were killed by the devil Asmodeus as they try to have relationships with her because they goal was satisfaction of their lust and not children.  Because Tobias was having relations to have children and not lust, he was not killed and instead was blessed.  All of you reading this, please take a half hour and read the beautiful Book of Tobias.  And if you only have a little time, at least read just Chapter 3.

Bonum Fidei is the secondary end of marriage.  It comes from faithfulness to the vows to not to get emotionally involved with or to have relationships with anyone other than your spouse.  This is very natural and is needed in marriage to protect each other and the children. How many spouses have been killed by jealous spouses after they have found out someone was having relationships with their spouse.  I know of many of the cases.

One of these cases was a married Greek Orthodox priest, whom I knew well, and was having relations with his married secretary.  When the secretary’s husband found out, he brutally murdered the priest.   Another case was murder while the two unfaithful spouses were having relationships and the place was full of blood all over the walls.

There would be absolutely no sexually transmitted diseases if only virgins have relations and were faithful to each other.  Children deserve the same mother and father all their life.  Adultery causes terrible and sometimes irreversible damage to the marital love and trust.  Many step children are sexually abused by the person their parent is being unfaithful with.

Pope Pius XII wrote on the passage from scripture: “I will give him a helpmate similar to himself,” Gen. 2: 18.  He stated: “Man is in need of affection, exchanges, counsels, support in trials and the exercise of virtue.  All of that is offered to him in faithful common life: two complementary beings helping each other in the way of human and supernatural life throughout their married life.”

We are all in need of affection, being loved, being needed and valued.  Marriage gives us this and the family where we can feel we belong and are loved in.

Many people have never heard about, or when they have, argue about what the “Marriage Debt” means.  It simply means that the spouses have the duty to have holy affectionate relationships to have children in marriage.  When one spouse will not have relations to have children, it can lead the other into possible unfaithfulness.  But it has nothing to do with forced relationships (that is called the horrible sin of rape) or making the other spouse feel bad when they do not feel like having relations at a certain time.  But there are great dangers when the men (who are more naturally sexually active) can never have relations to have children.  You notice I put relations and having children together.

Many women no longer want to have relations because their husbands have for a long time, simply used their bodies for their own lustful desires.  They are tired of being used and will not have relations anymore.  In that case, men receive the consequences of their lust.  This is what happens when you have relations for pleasure and not to have children.

sacrament5Bonum Sacramenti shows the reflection of the mystery (sacramentum) of Jesus’ indissoluble union with His Holy Catholic Church found in the union of a couple blessed by the sacrament of marriage.  St Paul writes in his letter to Ephesians “Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the Church and delivered Himself up for it… Let women be subject to this husbands as to the Lord”.  But he also goes on to say love your wife as your own body.  That entails sacrificing for your wife like Jesus sacrificed Himself for us on the cross.

The Holy Sacrament of marriage gives the spouses the graces to fulfill their duty to be holy and train their children in Godly ways.

Pope Pius XI again states in Casti Connubii: “This sacrament, when no obstacle is placed in the way, not only augments sanctifying grace, the permanent principle of supernatural life, but adds, as well, particular gifts of good-hearted gestures, the seed of grace.  it elevates and perfects natural strengths, to the end that the spouses are able not only to understand by reason but intimately to sense and hold firmly, to want to efficaciously put into practice and to accomplish all that relates to the married state, to its ends and it duties.  It concedes to them, finally, the right to the help of actual grace each time they need it to fulfill the obligations of their state in life.”

So as you who read this struggle everyday with improving your marriage, I would suggest you study this as a couple.  It is very hard and almost impossible to improve a marriage by yourself.  We are so fortunate to have sacramental graces working in our daily lives.  The more we know about these graces the better we can cooperate with them and have happy families.