Sexing up Canon Law

In response to my last post, “Christopher West: Sexualizing Christianity,” one of his supporters posted a lengthy comment, defending the sexy assertion that the sacramental grace proper to marriage is not confered through the wedding vows but through the act of the consummation of the marriage, so that no sacramental marriage really exists until the spouses engage for the first time in the marital embrace.  He (or she) also claims that sacramental grace is also conferred every and each time the spouses engage conjugal act “in a human fashion.”

Since this is so interesting and crucial to the argument, I have chosen to reproduce the comment here and answer it below.

Proper Sacralization of Sex Says:
February 11, 2010 at 3:35 pm

TOB elevates our understanding of our mateial bodies to their proper dignity – their sacramental dignity.

From this we can understand that all we do with our bodies ought to likewise be elevated to that same dignity.

We can say that TOB is a foundation for the theology on labor and charity.

So, yes, TOB is pervasive – and in our hypersexualized culture wherein our bodies (and the labor and charity which are bodies make manifest in this world) are treated as objects, it makes perfect practical sense to speak in terms that the audience undertands so that they can see how the pervasive hypersxualized (aka objectified) culture needs to be replaced with the culture of TOB.

Clergy (or even a layperson, as canon law anticipates) assist and witness the sacrament, but do not confer it. The sacrament of matrimony is conferred by the spouses unto one another (CCC 1623). That conferral seems to have full effect only after it has been consummated by the marital embrace itself (sexual union). The conjugal marital act brings a “ratum tantum” (ratum = ratified; tantum = only, just) marriage (Canon 1061), which can be annulled even if it is otherwise completely proper (Canon 1697, et seq), into a state where even the pope cannot annull it.

In fact, “after a marriage has been celebrated, if the spouses have lived together consummation is presumed until the contrary is proven,” clearly indicating that there is no real marriage until “spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring”.(Canon 1061).

So it would seem that the inurement of grace does not occur until that time – in other words, sacramental grace inures during the marital union.

Sacraments are “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.” (CCC 1131)

As your quotation demonstrates, John Paul explained that Christ deliberately elevated the corporal and spiritual union within a marriage by explaning that union as a sign of the “sacrament of creation” and the “sacrament of redemption”.

Given Jesus’ linkage of marriage to the beginning (to the Creation of bodily man and woman), it certainly seems that God continues to communicate grace to us in marriage, and in a particularly important way during each truly marital embrace (sexual union).

In light of the Church’s canonical and theological understanding of marital union, it seems that West is very correct to say:

John Paul stresses that in creation grace was communicated “through the union of the first man and woman in … marriage.” In redemption this same grace is communicated through “the indissoluble union of Christ with the Church, which … Ephesians presents as the nuptial union of spouses”

My Response:

If a valid ratum tantum, but non-consummated marriage were not a sacramental  marriage then a dissolution of the marriage would not be necessary but simply a declaration of nullity.  But this is not the case.

According to canon 1697, the pope alone is authorized to grant a “dispensation from a marriage ratum et non consummatum” “for a just cause.”  According to this commentary on canon law the word “dispensation” in canon 1697 indicates the presupposition of  “a vinculum or an obligatory bond, which competent authority relaxes for a just cause.”

The Code of Canon Law Annotated (ed. By E. Caparros, M. Theriault, J. Thorn) refers to the exercise of the end of a marriage ratum et non consummatum as an “administrative process for granting the favour of dissolution [my emphasis] of a bond that always existed in a ratified marriage,” as opposed to a declaration of nullity [annulment] which is an “judicial” process that “declares that the marriage celebrated was never valid or gave rise to any bond.”

Furthermore, according to the same commentary:

The reason for the dispensation must be just, which is to say that it must be proportionately grave, not in the abstract or in theory, but concretely, that is, in the particular and specific circumstances the fact and persons.

Before the dispensation can be granted the bishop must “prepare a votum on the veracity of the fact of the non-consummation, the just cause for the dispensation, and the suitability of the favor.”  In the process of preparing the “instruction” on the basis of which the bishop is to prepare his votum, the “defender of the bond” must intervene (Cans. 1704 §1, 1701 §1).  It is abundantly clear that that the dissolution of a marriage ratum et non consummatum is not a simple declaration of nullity.

In fact, I have had a professional canonist confirm this to me:

Marriage becomes a sacrament with the exchange of vows (presuming of course baptism by both parties [otherwise it would be a valid but non-sacramental/natural marriage], proper form and intention, etc.).

Thus, canon law reserves the prerogative to dispensation from a marriage ratum et non consummatum to the pope alone because it is the dissolution of a real sacramental marriage in very restricted circumstances, not a judicial declaration of the fact that no marriage ever existed.

Your interpretation of the canons seems to minimize the fact that such dissolutions are exclusively a papal prerogative, an exercise of the authority given to Peter to bind and loose, even when the question of the indissolubility of marriage is involved.  At times there has been a dissent of a minority on the matter as to whether the pope could do this, and that was because the real question is whether the pope ever has the power to dissolve a sacramental but non-consummated marriage.  The fact is that such power belongs properly only to God or to someone upon whom he has conferred it.  And He has so conferred this power on the pope, but on him alone.

The position you are espousing is not new.  It has been held in the past, but then the problem in the background was not the presumption that the Manichaean demon is lurking in every bedroom, but an erroneous definition of the indissolubility of marriage.  In any case, it doesn’t appear to ever have been more than a view on the margins.  It certainly is not, contrary to your assertion, the view reflected in canon law.

Here I quote Father Peter Damien Fehlner, S.T.D. on the theological niceties of the question:

The doctrinal basis for what I have just noted is teaching of the Church concerning the essence of marriage which may be formulated thus:  “The Sacrament of marriage consists essentially in the marriage contract itself, in such wise that 1) among the baptized a valid marriage cannot be contracted which is not also a sacrament, and 2) use of marriage (consummation) does not pertain to its essence.”

Except for some theologians mainly associated with Gallicanism during the 17th and 18th centuries, this is the nearly unanimous teaching of all theologians of antiquity and of all theologians of present times.  Among these theologians are found Peter Lombard, St. Albert the Great, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas, Bl. John Duns Scotus.  They find the Scriptural basis for their position in Eph 5: 32, which they correctly understand as referring to the contract, not use of marriage.  Hence, they maintain that the source of sacramental grace in marriage is found in the contract or covenant which is permanent, even if not in the use.

Explicit affirmations of this teaching by the Papal Magisterium are found as early as the 9th century with Nicholas I, and thereafter with Alexander III, Innocent III (two great canonists). Eugene IV, Pius VI, Pius IX (condemnation of the contrary doctrine as taught by J.N.Nuytz), Leo XIII, Pius XI, and in the former Code, canon 1012, § 1.  Theologians commonly affirm that this teaching is “Catholic doctrine”, and in 1910 the Roman Rota described it as “proxima fidei”, and on one occasion Bl. Pius IX called it a “dogma of faith”.  The Council of Trent affirms the same in its teaching on clandestine marriages.

Unless the Church declares otherwise such marriages are valid or “ratum” merely by virtue of the consent.  Nothing else, neither sacramental blessing nor use is necessary for validity.    On the basis of this teaching, as the Fathers of the Church testify, the virginal marriage of Our Lady and St. Joseph, as well as that of other Christian spouses across the centuries, is just as much a marriage and source of grace as those marriages which are consummated by use.

So your assertion that “it would seem that the inurement of grace does not occur until that time – in other words, sacramental grace inures during the marital union,” sounds a bit novel and is perhaps arrived at through that methodology by which a certain interpretation of the Theology of the Body becomes the hermeneutical key for everything else.

In fact, the general audience of October 13, 1982, about which this argument is an interpretation simply does not say what you and Christopher West contend it does.  I encourage any of the readers of this blog to read the conference, either in the translation made available by EWTN, or in the translation of Michael Waldstein.  It makes no difference. As inscrutable as sometimes the holy fathers’ conferences are for the average person, it does not take a genius to conclude that Christopher West is stretching.

Actually, I believe the following excerpt is a good summary (I have used the Waldstein translation so there will be no argument about accuracy):

To the marriage of the first husband and wife, as a sign of the supernatural endowment of man with grace in the sacrament of creation, corresponds the marriage, or rather the analogy of the marriage, of Christ with the Church, as the fundamental “great” sign of man’s supernatural gracing in the sacrament of redemption, of the gracing in which the covenant of the grace of election that was broken in the “beginning” by sin is renewed in a definitive way (97.2).

There is simply nothing in this general audience about the gracing of marriage taking place through intercourse, unless the plebeians consent to be told what to think because the pope writings are too hard for them to read.

And this brings me to what John Paul II actually does say about the relation of the marital bond and the conjugal act:

Marriage as a sacrament is contracted by means of the word which is a sacramental sign by virtue of its content: “I take you as my wife/ as my husband, and I promise to be faithful to you always, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, and to love you and honor you all the days of my life.” However, this sacramental word is, of itself, only the sign of the coming to be of marriage. The coming to be of marriage is distinct from its consummation, so much so that without this consummation the marriage is not yet constituted in its full reality. The fact that a marriage is juridically contracted but not consummated (ratum, non consummatum) corresponds to the observation that it has not been fully constituted as a marriage. In fact, the words themselves, “I take you as my wife/ as my husband” do not only refer to a determinate reality, but they can only be fulfilled by copula conjugale (conjugal intercourse). This reality (the conjugal copula conjugale), moreover, has been defined from the very beginning by institution of the Creator: ” A man will leave his father and his mother and unite with his wife, and the two will be one flesh” (cf. Gn 2:24) (Waldstein translation, 103.2).

It is interesting that Michael Waldstein modifies the older English translation from

However, this sacramental word is, per se, merely the sign of the coming into being of marriage,

to

However, this sacramental word is, of itself, only the sign of the coming to be of marriage (emphasis mine).

Changing the substantive “being” to the verb “be” places the emphasis on the “not yet, but in process,” rather than on what is already achieved, namely, that the sacramental sign is constituted by the vows, and therefore also the sacrament itself.

There is no question that there is a difference between a ratified but non-consummated marriage and one that is both ratified and consummated.  However, John Paul II, in this same audience, indicates that the sacramental sign is already constituted by the wedding vows:

Consequently, the sign of the sacrament of marriage is constituted by the words of the new spouses inasmuch as the “reality” that they themselves constitute corresponds to them. Both of them, as man and woman, being ministers of the sacrament at the moment of contracting marriage, at the same time constitute the full and real visible sign of the sacrament itself. The words spoken by them would not of themselves constitute the sacramental sign if the human subjectivity of the engaged man and woman and at the same time the consciousness of the body linked with the masculinity and femininity of the bride and bridegroom did not correspond to them (4).

And he continues:

The sign of the sacrament of Marriage is constituted by the fact that the words spoken by the new spouses take up again the same “language of the body” as at the “beginning” and, at any rate, give it a concrete and unrepeatable expression (5).

Granted, the assertion that the sacramental sign is already constituted by the vows themselves is qualified by John Paul II when he says that

[t]he words of new spouses are a part of the integral structure of the sacramental sign, not only by what they signify but also in some sense with what they signify and determine. The sacramental sign is constituted in the intentional order inasmuch as it is simultaneously constituted in the real order (3).

So both the words of the ratification and the act of the consummation of a marriage belong to the integral structure of the sacramental sign.  But what is signified in the intentional order through vows is already realized at the moment the words are spoken as a sign because “the human subjectivity of the man and woman” is “linked with the masculinity and femininity of the bride and bridegroom” (4).

The Holy Father simply does not say that there is no sacrament until the consummation, and he in no rational way can be construed as affirming that the grace of the sacrament is conferred through intercourse.

And really, this is the whole point of the line of reasoning that has brought me to answer the objection above.  Over and over again in the presentation of TOB by Christopher West and his followers, like “Proper Sacralization of Sex,” it is asserted that what the Holy Father states with the erudition of a philosopher can be translated into simple language to mean things that can only be asserted if one extrapolates on the basis of a priori held assumptions.  And in this case those assumptions do not correspond to the theological and canonical tradition.

Actually, this has been a revelation to me.  Appreciating where the Westian interpretation of TOB is going gives a whole new meaning to the assertion of West that God wants to “impregnate us with grace”:

The Song of Songs teaches us—as does the spousal imagery throughout all of Scripture—that God wants to “marry” us. Furthermore, through this mystical marriage, the divine Bridegroom wants to fill us, “impregnate” us with divine life.

And in reference to thoroughly debunked phallic candle myth:

The high point of the Church’s liturgical year is the Easter Vigil, and perhaps the high point of the Easter Vigil—next of course to the Eucharist itself—is the blessing of the baptismal font. And in this ritual the priest takes the Christ candle and plunges the Christ candle into the baptismal font. What is happening here? The baptismal font is the womb of the Church, from which many children will be born again. And the symbolism of that candle, that Christ candle being plunged into this baptismal font, is Christ the Bridegroom impregnating virginally, mystically of course, impregnating the Church, the Bride, from which these children will be born again.

This is not “sacralizing” sex.  The Church has always considered sex sacred. Prudery has always been a problem, but now it is being made the bogeyman in the attempt to baptize the modern obsession with sex—one that seems to get more and more bizarre by the minute.

Special thanks for the suggestions, contributions and corrections from Father Peter Damian Felhner, Dawn Eden and Steve Kellmeyer.

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32 thoughts on “Sexing up Canon Law

  1. I am grateful for your willingness to dialogue. I am also pleased that you have inclued my entire post. I have read one of West’s books, but I prefer Waldstein’s work, and was first introduced to TOB by Fr. Richard Hogan’s work.

    Since what I wrote is, as you say, interesting and crucial to the argument at hand, I am a bit disappointed that your shorthand summary of my argument is very much an overstatement of what I actually wrote. I would like you to understand my actual thoughts and the argument that comes from them, rather than a caricature of them. So I will offer my own summary of the thoughts I intended to convey. Perhaps that will help the dialogue be as fruitful as possible. While our views may differ, I am not sure they differ as much as or as significantly as you have presumed. To the extent my own shorthand and my own style contributed to any misunderstanding, I apologize.

    A.

    Your summary of my argument:
    ==================================================
    He (or she) also claims that sacramental grace is also conferred every and each time the spouses engage conjugal act “in a human fashion.”
    ==================================================

    But I intentionally wrote something quite different:
    ===================================================
    Given Jesus’ linkage of marriage to the beginning (to the Creation of bodily man and woman), it certainly seems that God continues to communicate grace to us in marriage, and in a particularly important way during each truly marital embrace (sexual union).
    ===================================================

    An accurate summary of my words and intent:
    ===================================================
    Every time a married couple is properly disposed and engages in sexual union is an occasion of sacramental grace.
    ===================================================

    As I mentioned on the other thread, sacralizing sex is not the same as sexualizing Chistitanity (as you claim it is).

    Do you accept that every sexual union should ideally be a pure act of conjugal love, holy and sacral, AMDG, especially when it results in the creation of a new person? That seems to be a proper sacralization of sex, rooted in the very thorough papal TOB catechesis on marriage and creation and redemption – which is rooted in Thomism and the scriptures.

    B.

    Your summary of my argument:
    ===================================================
    …the sacramental grace proper to marriage is not confered through the wedding vows but through the act of the consummation of the marriage, so that no sacramental marriage really exists until the spouses engage for the first time in the marital embrace
    ===================================================

    But I intentionally wrote something quite different:
    ===================================================
    The sacrament of matrimony is conferred by the spouses unto one another (CCC 1623). That conferral seems to have full effect only after it has been consummated by the marital embrace itself (sexual union). The conjugal marital act brings a “ratum tantum” (ratum = ratified; tantum = only, just) marriage (Canon 1061), which can be annulled even if it is otherwise completely proper (Canon 1697, et seq), into a state where even the pope cannot annull it.
    ====================================================

    An accurate summary of my words and intent:
    ====================================================
    Given the severe distinction made in canon law between ratum and consumatum marriages, and in light of the theology presented in TOB, it seems that the full effect of the sacramental grace in matrimony is not manifested until the actual one flesh union of the married couple.
    ====================================================

    If we interpret the canons to give each provision effect, we have to conclude that lack of consumation turns the character of an otherwise proper marriage upside down such that it can be found that there is no marriage at all – no sacramental grace at all – simply because there was no sexual union, though every other aspect of a valid and licit marriage is present. If the couple in the exact same marriage finally engage in a sexual union and word reaches the pope the day before the scheduled papal declaration of nullity, the pope would be unable to nullify the marriage under the canons.

    The fact that the canons presume consummation is a practical provision that assumes what is almost always the case (that married couples engage in sexual union). Lack of consummation is thought to be an extrememly rare occurance, and thus something that would have to be proven in order to annul. The canons generally presume the validity of a marriage until invalidity is proven.

    But the canon law is not really the main point. The point is that the canon law acknowledges that consummation is extremely significant as to the existence of a sacrament.

    Finally, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the idea that conjugal union is necessary and proper in a sacral way to infant baptism, that adult baptism presumes the good and sacral nature of conjugal union, and that by extension conjugal union is necessary and proper in a sacral way to the Church itself since it is constituted of the baptised.

    Again, thanks for helping me and your readers wrestle with these important ideas.

  2. BTW, I have not commented on candles or the Song of Songs.

    Perhaps you can explain the meaning of the excerpt you used: “without this consummation the marriage is not yet constituted in its full reality”.

    I understand “constituted” to mean “set up or established according to law or provision”.

    This seems to support the notion that the effect of the sacrament is not [fully] manifested until the instance of copula conjugale. And the same excerpt seems to suuport my thought that the canons regarding consummation respect the theology regarding the same.

  3. Sacralization of Sex seems to be supported in these excerpts, as well:

    “…’So they are no longer two, but one flesh.’ They are in fact two different persons yet they are one in the conjugal union,…” – CCC 796 citing Augustine’s dicussion of Ep & Mt

    “…The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever-available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.” – CCC 1624

    “…This [verbal] consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two ‘becoming one flesh.’ ” – CCC 1627

    ” ‘The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself. From their covenant arises “an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society.’ The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God’s covenant with man: ‘Authentic married love is caught up into divine love.’ ” – CCC 1639

    “Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God’s fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.” – CCC 1640

    “The intimate partnership of married life and love has been established by the Creator and qualified by His laws, and is rooted in the jugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent…By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown. Thus a man and a woman, who by their compact of conjugal love ‘are no longer two, but one flesh’, render mutual help and service to each other through an intimate union of their persons and of their actions…By virtue of this sacrament, as spouses fulfil their conjugal and family obligation, they are penetrated with the spirit of Christ, which suffuses their whole lives with faith, hope and charity. Thus they increasingly advance the perfection of their own personalities, as well as their mutual sanctification, and hence contribute jointly to the glory of God.” – GS 48

    “This love God has judged worthy of special gifts, healing, perfecting and exalting gifts of grace and of charity. Such love, merging the human with the divine, leads the spouses to a free and mutual gift of themselves, a gift providing itself by gentle affection and by deed, such love pervades the whole of their lives: indeed by its busy generosity it grows better and grows greater. Therefore it far excels mere erotic inclination, which, selfishly pursued, soon enough fades wretchedly away.” – GS 49

  4. Thank you for the engaging and polite exchange. While I a the precise meaning of your words, my concern is not assuaged since you continue to refer to the process by which the pope may dispense from a ratified but not consummated marriage as an annulment (“annulled,” nullity”):

    The sacrament of matrimony is conferred by the spouses unto one another (CCC 1623). That conferral seems to have full effect only after it has been consummated by the marital embrace itself (sexual union). The conjugal marital act brings a “ratum tantum” (ratum = ratified; tantum = only, just) marriage (Canon 1061), which can be annulled even if it is otherwise completely proper (Canon 1697, et seq), into a state where even the pope cannot annull

    And

    If we interpret the canons to give each provision effect, we have to conclude that lack of consumation turns the character of an otherwise proper marriage upside down such that it can be found that there is no marriage at all – no sacramental grace at all – simply because there was no sexual union, though every other aspect of a valid and licit marriage is present. If the couple in the exact same marriage finally engage in a sexual union and word reaches the pope the day before the scheduled papal declaration of nullity, the pope would be unable to nullify the marriage under the canons.

    But the respective canons do not describe an annulment, that is, a judicial process by which a non-existent marriage is declared to be so, but an administrative process reserved to the pope by which a sacramental marriage is dissolved. In the quote immediately above, you seem to reject this, and to assert that without consummation there is “no marriage at all—no sacramental grace at all.” This being the case, I do not understand why you are so concerned that my interpretation of your words is imprecise. You seem to be saying exactly what I asserted.

    Just in passing a thought comes to me: if there is no sacrament before consummation, what gives the spouses the right to the use of marriage? [Dumb question.]

    This is not a semantic argument, please do not deny the spouses sacramental grace before consummation and at the same affirm that there is a sacrament. In any case, I really am not sure what your position is.

    Perhaps you can explain the meaning of the excerpt you used: “without this consummation the marriage is not yet constituted in its full reality”.

    I understand “constituted” to mean “set up or established according to law or provision”.

    This seems to support the notion that the effect of the sacrament is not manifested until the instance of copula conjugale. And the same excerpt seems to suuport my thought that the canons regarding consummation respect the theology regarding the same.

    Clearly, there is a difference between a ratified but non-consummated marriage and one that is both ratified and consummated, but it is not the difference between the sacrament with its proper grace and “no marriage at all—no sacramental grace at all.” With consummation the sacramental marriage is invested with the character of indissolubility.

    Relative to the few isolated quotes that can be stripped out of the corpus of TOB, there is the fact of the ordinary magisterium, which I referred to above in the quote from Fr. Fehlner. I am sure you are able to research this question, so I won’t belabor the point. Sufficient are several instances of evidence which, unlike the inference you make on the basis of the quote you marshal, are consistent with canonical dissolution as opposed to nullification:

    By the very fact, therefore, that the faithful with sincere mind give such consent, they open up for themselves a treasure of sacramental grace from which they draw supernatural power for the fulfilling of their rights and duties faithfully, holily, perseveringly even unto death. (Pius XII, Casti Connubii, 40).

    And

    According to the law, let the consent alone of those suffice concerning whose union there is a question; and if by chance this consent alone be lacking in the marriage, all other things, even when solemnized with intercourse itself, are in vain (Nicholas I 858-867).

    But perhaps strongest of all is this particular quote from Casti Connubii:

    By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God’s decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises (7).

    Thus the sacramental bond, sacramental grace, indeed the sacrament itself arises from consent, that is, from the vows.

    Do you accept that every sexual union should ideally be a pure act of conjugal love, holy and sacral, AMDG, especially when it results in the creation of a new person? That seems to be a proper sacralization of sex, rooted in the very thorough papal TOB catechesis on marriage and creation and redemption – which is rooted in Thomism and the scriptures.

    Nothing I said should suggest otherwise. The sacralization of sex is not the same as pansexualism. The theology of the body is not a theory of everything, that is, sacred sex is not the lens through which everything needs to be seen in order to arrive at the truth. In my estimation, I can think of no one who, like John Paul II, would be more in favor of both a sacred view of sex and the exaltation of married love, more than Dietrich von Hildebrand. However he would surely be horrified by all this holy sex talk.

    Finally, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the idea that conjugal union is necessary and proper in a sacral way to infant baptism, that adult baptism presumes the good and sacral nature of conjugal union, and that by extension conjugal union is necessary and proper in a sacral way to the Church itself since it is constituted of the baptised.

    I am not sure where you are going with this. Is conjugal union “necessary” for infant baptism or for constitution of the Church? Normative, yes; necessary, no. Is the conjugal union part of God’s plan for all this? Of course. But what is truly necessary is the Christ the Bridegroom and His union with the Church His Bride, which is the the foundational reason that marriage is the great sign.

    I don’t have a problem with the Theology of the Body, I have a problem with the pansexualism—the litigimizaion of sex obsession—that has become the product of certain interpretations of Theology of the Body.

  5. Sacralization of Sex seems to be supported in these excerpts, as well:

    Sex is sacred. It does not need to be sacralized. It just needs to be treated reverently. The veil of wholesome modesty is the reverence that is appropriate to the respect of its mystery.

  6. My insertion of the word fully in my one-line correction above is important (this correction confoms to the same qualification that was always present in my initial discussion, as well). My intent was never to imply that there is no grace prior to consummation – but that the grace is specially manifested in consummation.

    It is the canons themselves that imply grace is not present. Surely even the pope could never bring himself to tear assunder what God has actually joined together as one flesh since Christ himself was so adamant on this point while on earth. You seem to be saying that the consummation canon means to allow the pope to grant a divorce of a truly sacramental marriage rather than to allow him to declare a nullity.

    The pope taught, in the TOB citation we have both cited, that without consummation, the full reality of marriage is absent. The verbal promises during the rite of marriage cannot be fulfille dany other way, according to the excerpt you cited. As CCC 1627 cited above states, the verbal binding consent of the parties (during the rite) is fulfilled in their one flesh consummation. Have you really addressed that?

    Sure, you have cited your views on the theology within the canons, but not convincingly.

    The issue seems to be similar to how I understand the grace received in the sacrament of penance: if I am properly disposed, confess all my sins contritely to a priest, and receive absolution, I do not receive the full benefit of the sacrament until I perform the assigned peneance. Doing the assigned penance can be seen as the fulfillment of the absolution.

    Do you agree that the word “tantum” must be given effect in the canon? It means “only, just, merely” in this context, as in “This marriage has only been ratified [it lacks consummation].”

    What does it mean when canon law makes such a clear distinctiobn between a “ratified and consummated” marriage and a “merely ratified” marriage?

    Does it mean that what God has joined together [in one flesh union], the pope can tear assunder?

    No. It means that what God has NOT joined together [in one flesh union], the pope can intervene because the spouses have a right to fulfill their consent and make their in consummation

    Regarding pan-sexualism: we have pan-hedonism and are hypersexualized. There is no such thing as modesty in our culture. To evangelize that culture, it is prudent to use its language so long as the truth is not betrayed in doing so.

    As you know, the hermeneutic of Trinitarian TOB is about so much more than sex. As I mentioned previously, the body is how we manifest ourselves in this world. It is how we manifest all of our good works. It is the only means by which we can do anything AMDG. The body is the means by which the Incarnate Word communicated most directly to us and still does in the Eucharist.

    But in a culture that oozes sex, of course anyone living in that culture will have to face it and witness to it with a hermeneutic that is effective. Modesty is a great thing. But if you define modesty as to disallow candid discussion with vicitms of the sexual pathologies that almost everyone in our culture suffers from, then your definition disallows evangelization.

    West described the paschal candle as a symbolic divine phallus? Well, that is not how I would do it. But I am not sure it is as sinful or imprudent as you make it out to be.

    We won’t ever get to the wholesome modesty you rightly desire for all if we can’t approach people in their own language. This is not pansexualism.

    And if sexual union is a symbol or sign of God, it seems hard to make a credible argument against a respectful discovery of that sign where we encounter it. If you see the David in Florience, one could become aroused, or one could become amazed at the near perfect protrayal in marble by the artist of man as an image of God and at the goodness of the body and the rest of creation on so many levels. If a married man is having sexual thoughts more frequently than is practical or healthy, you could tell him to pray, or you could tell him to dwell on the amazing mystery of the body and of sexual union and start to see it is a prayerful act – and at some point the selfish erotic thoughts might be replaced by a selfless prayerful notion of the goodness of God, the holiness of sexual union, and the promise of redemption.

    I understand you to be saying that you would eschew that approach. Perhaps I am wrong.

  7. The canons themselves do not imply that grace is not present. Again:

    Before the dispensation can be granted the bishop must “prepare a votum on the veracity of the fact of the non-consummation, the just cause for the dispensation, and the suitability of the favor” (Canon 1704 §1).

    Non-consummation is not sufficient ground in se for the dispensation, and nowhere do the canons refer to annulment. Read any decent commentary on the canons and you will see that when there is a just cause, the pope may dissolve a sacramental but non-consummated marriage.

    I also urge you to check any decent manual of Catholic theology on the question as well, and you will see that the point I have been making is not even under dispute. I will just give two examples:

    [T]he pope, being the vice-gerent of Christ on earth, exercises his primatial power in the name of God, and the Church not merely tolerates this practice, but expressly approves of it. Surely the episcopate would have protested had the Holy See usurped a power to which the Church’s infallibility to assume that the entire Church, both docens and discens, grievously erred in such an important question of faith and morals, and hence we must conclude that the Supreme Pontiff actually has the power to dissolve unconsummated marriages between Christians (Pohle-Preuss, volume 4, The Sacraments. St. Louis: Herder, 1917. 203.)

    And this is from is from the 1917 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia. I include it to indicate simply to indicate that this question is not under debate, not has it been:

    And yet it has always been a principle with theologians that a matrimonium ratum et consummatum (i.e. a marriage that bears the sacramental character and is afterwards consummated) is by Divine Law absolutely indissoluble, so that not even the Holy See can on any grounds whatsoever dissolve it (bold mine).

    Since, as you say, you have not been convinced by my citations, I urge you to do your own research on this question, because, quite frankly and with all due respect, you are wrong. These are not my views but the teaching of the Church, and I assure you that you will find that to be true if you do your research.

    Regarding pansexualism:

    But in a culture that oozes sex, of course anyone living in that culture will have to face it and witness to it with a hermeneutic that is effective. Modesty is a great thing. But if you define modesty as to disallow candid discussion with vicitms of the sexual pathologies that almost everyone in our culture suffers from, then your definition disallows evangelization.

    I have written many times on this subject and have reiterated over and over that sometimes frank talk is necessary. However, that is not what this is all about. The crusade against prudery is not about making sure that hyper-sexed people understand the Church’s teaching. Christopher West promotes a “holy fascination” with the body and sex. His advanced classes (such as Heaven’s Song) are more explicit and more daring, not less.

    What I believe many of you really need to think about is that holy modesty is not an option to be only taught to the sheltered and overly pious. It is part and parcel of the virtue of chastity. It is reverence for a mystery. And if a mystery is not treated with the appropriate reverence it is profaned. This is not an abstract argument. The culture needs to be evangelized, but we should be careful not to confuse enthusiasm, as valuable as it may be, with deep transformation. Until many in the TOB crowd learn this, they will continue to undermine the very values that in others ways they so strenuously attempt to defend.

    We won’t ever get to the wholesome modesty you rightly desire for all if we can’t approach people in their own language. This is not pansexualism.

    You cannot teach chastity, without showing people how to be modest. Without modesty, education in matters of sexuality is something other than the teaching of chastity. Furthermore, it is not just that hyper-sexed persons are being spoken to in their own language. Whenever anyone with a sense of modesty objects they are told they are prudes. This is West’s long standing practice. It is just shear baloney.

    West described the paschal candle as a symbolic divine phallus? Well, that is not how I would do it. But I am not sure it is as sinful or imprudent as you make it out to be.

    I never said it was a sin. I said the whole thing is made up, West following a myth created by others. And what is worse is that the contention that this is a patristic idea is baseless and theologically incoherent. It does not square with the liturgical meaning of the paschal candle, no matter how you try to square it. I just refuse to try to see what is not there.

    If a married man is having sexual thoughts more frequently than is practical or healthy, you could tell him to pray, or you could tell him to dwell on the amazing mystery of the body and of sexual union and start to see it is a prayerful act – and at some point the selfish erotic thoughts might be replaced by a selfless prayerful notion of the goodness of God, the holiness of sexual union, and the promise of redemption.

    I would urge a balanced approach of a sacramental life, prayer, mortification, devotion to the Blessed Mother, love for his wife, occasional continence, expressing his love for his wife in other ways than sex, and yes education in the exalted view of holy mother Church on marriage and sexuality.

    Would I encourage him to “dwell” or meditate on the body and sex? Men do that enough already. Would I encourage him to become agitated because he was not fully in control of his impulses? Of course not. Would I encourage him to get agitated about the immodesty of others. No.

    In fact, I don’t think that most Catholic men think that the body is bad or that sex is evil. They know it is good and they have a hard not thinking of it. A positive education in love and sexuality is very important in order to inform our consciousness, but do men need to meditate on sex? Absolutely not.

    Lastly, I will be frank once again, and say that much of this is a bill of goods being foisted on women. Most of this is just more men talking about their favorite subject and finding new ways to convince their wives that better and more frequent sex is the answer to our prayers, literally—perhaps, better, it is prayer. This is just plain old pagan pansexualism dressed up in liturgical garb. It has all the glitz to make an impact because in the end its all about sex. How can it go wrong?

  8. Well, if after all of this you still think a) I am a student or even a fan of West, and b) I think TOB is all about sex, then either I am a terrible communicator or you are a poor reader.

    TOB does not hinge on canon law, as I have said. But despite your protestations, canon law does lend support to the notion that a marriage that is not consummated is less of a marriage than one that is consummated. Which was my point.

    In any event, the passages you yourself cited, and that I added, state unequivocally that the conjugal act is the only way the promises made during the rite can be fulfilled and the only way the reality of the sacrament can fully exist.

    If you want to claim that the all the sacramental grace of marriage is fully realized prior to the fulfillment of the wedding promises and prior to the existence of the full reality of the sacrament, then so be it.

    TOB allows us to understand why the body is part and parcel of being made in His image and why we ought to endeavor to make every act of our body – our only means to communicate with the world – worthy of the body. It allows us to more fully comprehend love as the self-gift that allows us to find ourself.

    You seem to have a preoccupation with sex.

  9. BTW, I neve mentioned meditation on the body.
    I used the word “dwell” on the mystery of the body – and for me that usually takes the form of theological reading and prayer – but not meditation.

    Now that you have repeatedly assigned the worst meaning to my words (or made up a meaning that is not even present), I will stop.

  10. You seem to have a preoccupation with sex.

    Up until this point it has been a charitable exchange. I’m also not sure how “theological reading and prayer” is not meditation. If it isn’t, a split hair could bridge the gap.

    Father, thanks for these posts. This latest exchange has been especially insightful.

  11. [I accidentally deleted portions of this comment while trying to update it on the basis of the JP2 Catholics later comment. I will try to recreate it as accurately as possible.

    I stated that the commenters position is equivocal because he changed his position, noting that he stated the following:]

    …the sacramental grace proper to marriage is not confered through the wedding vows but through the act of the consummation of the marriage, so that no sacramental marriage really exists until the spouses engage for the first time in the marital embrace.

    [But this last quote is not his but my reprisal of his position to which he objects and which he quoted in a later comment. However the following quote is his, and there he does seem to deny the sacramental quality of a non-consummated marriage:]

    And this:

    If we interpret the canons to give each provision effect, we have to conclude that lack of consumation turns the character of an otherwise proper marriage upside down such that it can be found that there is no marriage at all – no sacramental grace at all – simply because there was no sexual union, though every other aspect of a valid and licit marriage is present. If the couple in the exact same marriage finally engage in a sexual union and word reaches the pope the day before the scheduled papal declaration of nullity, the pope would be unable to nullify the marriage under the canons.

    But now you say:

    If you want to claim that the all the sacramental grace of marriage is fully realized prior to the fulfillment of the wedding promises and prior to the existence of the full reality of the sacrament, then so be it.

    Thus implying that you accept that a ratified marriage is sacramental before consummation.

    . . . Which is fine, if you changed your mind. But please don’t put words in my mouth. I have been very clear.

    I merely have said what the Church has always taught, and I said it unequivocally: a ratified but non-consummated marriage is a sacramental marriage. Period. I said no more no less.

    And I obviously do not deny the difference between marriages ratum et non consummatum and those ratum et consummatum. But the difference is not what you previously said it was, and the Church has never taught what you suggested.

  12. Frangelo,

    The very first passage you highlight and attribute to me (in launching your most recent critique of my argument) is absolutely not what I wrote – you have criticized a strawman you created because that passage is one that YOU wrote.

    In fact, I previously highlighted that passage as an incorrect summary of the content and intent of my original reply, I provided my actual original words, and I provided a more accurate summary of my view.

    I painstakingly clarified my view (step by step) as soon as I say that you had misunderstood it. I wish you would go back and read that. You are now claiming that I have suddenly changed my argument, when in fact I have not. You have consistently ignored carefully selected qualifiers that I have included, and you have consistently interpreted everything I have said in a one-sided manner to falsely paint me as a fan of Dr. Ruth.

    In the end, the Church unequivocally teaches in TOB, GS and the CCC that sexual intercourse is an essential part of a sacramental marriage and an extraordinary occasion of sacramental grace.

    [Edited by blogger].

    While the Church presumes that married couples are having sex and thus treats a “merely ratified” marriage as if it were also consummated, it is hard to argue that it does so for any reasons other than modesty, pragmatism, and stability.

  13. Steve,

    Frangelo certainly understands the very different connotations of the following two phrases.

    To “DWELL on the MYSTERY of the body and of sexual union and see it as a prayerful act” (what I wrote)

    is far different than

    to “meditate on the body and sex” (how frangelo spun my words).

    But such spin is useful when trying to discredit someone as “sexed up” (frangelo’s label for my views).

    As delivered and issued by JP2, TOB is, among other things, most unequivocally a papal invitation to “DWELL on the MYSTERY of the body and of sexual union and see it as a prayerful act”. I hope you don’t think JP2 is “sexed up”, but if you do, then I will consider that description to be a badge of honor.

    I appreciate your passion. I appreciate your efforts to take life seriously and help people understand who we are in light of the Gospel.

  14. JP2 Catholic,

    I apologize for my erroneous attribution of my summary of your ideas to you. However that summary was corrected by you to the following (your words, not mine):

    The sacrament of matrimony is conferred by the spouses unto one another (CCC 1623). That conferral seems to have full effect only after it has been consummated by the marital embrace itself (sexual union). The conjugal marital act brings a “ratum tantum” (ratum = ratified; tantum = only, just) marriage (Canon 1061), which can be annulled even if it is otherwise completely proper (Canon 1697, et seq), into a state where even the pope cannot annull it.

    Do you believe that a marriage ratum et non consummatum is a sacramental marriage in which sacramental grace is confered at the time of the vows? Yes or no? It is very simple.

    And why do the canons never speak of annulment of marriages ratum et non consummatum? No canonist will call it an annulment. So do you believe that such a marriage is sacramental or not? Why are such marriages dissolved, not annulled?

    If you think the answer is no to the first question, then you need to do some more reading of Church teaching. I would be happy to talk to you some more after you have done that.

    Thank you for the sometimes fruitful discussion.

  15. Above all I appreciate your the gift that is your priesthood.

    My answer has consistently been that the grace already present by virtue of the spoken rite is not fully available until consummation. I would think it is a pregnant grace. I previously offered a rough analogy to the grace of sacramental confession being present as soon as the priest pronounces the words of absolution, but unavailable until one performs the assigned penance. I certainly understand the analogy fails in some ways (I am not an theologian or canonist), but I think it can be useful.

    Another rough and perhaps imperfect analogy: A well-disposed copula conjugale breaks the water, so to speak, and gives birth to the previously gestating grace.

    Do you agree with me (see the penultimate paragraph of my last post) about the unequivocal invitation issued by JP2?

    Cheers.

  16. I will just clarify my position so for posterity:

    A ratified but unconsummated marriage is a sacramental marriage in which the grace of the sacrament is conferred through the vows. This is the teaching of the Church. Such marriages because they are non-consummated, may be dissolved, not annulled, in the presence of a just cause, but the the prerogative to so dissolve such a marriage belongs to the pope alone, because he alone is entrusted with the power of binding and loosing. Once a ratified marriage is consummated, not even the pope can dissolve it.

  17. Pingback: Father Peter Damian Fehlner on Ratified, Non-Consummated Marriages « Mary Victrix

  18. There are dangers when one implies that the grace of maariage is not “active” until consumated by intercourse or is somehow not a ture marriage in light of Mary and Joseph

  19. There is no “danger” whatsoever – though there is much to think about and explain regarding the special marriage of the Blessed Mother and her most chaste spouse Joseph.

    To suggest there is danger in this, is to suggest there is danger in teaching that Mary was always without sin.

    In both cases, there is certainly a concern that some will misunderstand the implications of the uniqueness of Mary’s life as compared to other created persons. But the Church knows how to explain that uniqueness.

  20. Frangelo,

    I am with you and I am a former Catholic who defected from the faith over divorce and annulments.

  21. By the way, most all non-consummation cases are annulled on the grounds that the party was unable physically or psycologically to bind themselves to the obligation to copulate. In other words, where there is no consummation, the actual practice of the Church is to nullify the marriage – to declare that no marriage ever existed because the fulfillment of the marriage was made impossible by consensual incapacity.

    But again, these are canons, not theological doctrines.

    The important theological point is that a marriage is not fulfilled and is devoid of its fullest reality until the fundamental sign of marriage has been manifested: the one-flesh sexual union.

    Papal teaching is expressly that a marriage without sexual union is a sacrament that is not fulfilled, a sacrament that is devoid of its full reality, and is a sacrament not fully constituted.

    It is absurd to argue that the grace conferred at the exchange of vows is fully realized in such a marriage that is not fulfilled, not its full reality, and not fully constituted.

  22. JP2 Catholic,

    I have deleted some of your more superfluous comments. You have made your point.

    However, it becomes ever more clear that you have not read the commentaries on canon law and are speaking off the top of your head.

    ratum et non consummatum marrriages are not annulled but dissolved (and only in very, very restricted circumstances). Read the canons. Please learn the distinction between annulment and dissolution.

    I have to ask you to stop the repetitive comments on canon law. You have not done the research.

    The fact that a marriage is jurdically contracted but not consummated (ratum, non consummatum) corresponds to the observation that it has not been fully constituted as a marriage.

    The above statement of John Paul II clearly delineates the non-consummated marriage from one that is. However, it simply does not say that sacramental grace is withheld until consummation. I am not aware of anywhere else, either, where this alleged teaching is to be found in the magisterium.

    What is clear that in sacramental theology is that when matter and form come together the sacrament is confected, hence the Roman Catechism states:

    Hence pastors should teach the faithful that the nature and force of marriage consists in the tie and obligation; and that, without consummation, the consent of the parties, expressed in the manner already explained, is sufficient to constitute a true marriage. It is certain that our first parents before their fall, when, according to the holy Fathers, no consummation took place, were really united in marriage. Hence the Fathers say that marriage consists not in its use but in the consent. This doctrine is repeated by St. Ambrose in his book On Virgins.

    Likewise the analogy you used concerning the sacrament of penance is invalid. The graces of sacramental absolution are immediately conferred upon the penitent as long as the person is properly disposed, and that disposition includes the intention to do the penance. Satisfaction is not completed with the assigned penance. We have much satisfaction to do for our sins. But the sacramental grace is not withheld until the penance is completed. If after being validly absolved the penitent decides not to do the penance he commits a separate sin.

    I have consulted with theologians and a canonist on this marriage question before and during the writing of the posts and comments. Please do not add anymore superfluous comments, or ones that have not been adequately researched.

  23. JP2 Catholic’s comment,

    As a practical matter, most all non-consummated marriages that are brought to the Church for resolution are annulled for lack of proper consent (mental or physical incapacity or prior refusal to perform the duties of marriage).

    Perhaps the only cases where dissolution would be considered are those wherein a spouse becomes incapable or unwilling to copulate after the vows are ratified. This seems a rather rare instance.

    My reply:

    You are obfuscating. Any marriage that lacks consent is null by the very fact. Consent has no relevance to marriages that are dispensed from on the condition of non-consummation.

    I deleted the rest of your comment. Please follow my advice.

  24. This is your blog and if canonists and theologians are the only ones allowed to speculate and opine here about the meaning of
    Church documents on
    matters that are imprecise and open to nuances of meaning, then that is good to know.

    You won’t answer my sincere and reasonably posed questipons and have censored my reasonable speculations on the implications of matters that the magisterium has not defined absolutely.

    So be it.

  25. Are you really saying that lack of consent to consummate the marriage is irrelevant to the discussion of the canons regarding consummation?

    I am truly surprised at your tactics in this dialogue. Had any of my comments been suggestive of disrespect for the magisterium or for your office then I would understand your extreme censorship. But that is not the case: you are censoring valid and reasonable points that would require an intellectually honest man to address rather an erase, as you have done.

    In light of your approach and the inherent misrepresentation of my arguments due to your editing and deleting of my arguments, I kindly ask you to remove all of my comments and any references to them. Your excerpting and censoring is an unjust misrepresentation which I suspect you don’t actually feel good about.

  26. I did not delete anything but your etymologies until you disregarded my warning. The last comment I edited, where there was a substantial deletion did not bring anything new to your argument. You have been given ample room to make your point, and your assertions that I have misrepresented you, which I have answered, remain for all to see.

    My editorial policies are in the side bar:

    Comments here are unmoderated (for the time being), that is, comments are are not approved by me before they are posted. This may change if need be. I reserve the absolute right to edit or delete any and all comments; however, I will make note of such alterations and deletions and my reason for them.

    Good day to you.

  27. In my view your actions are objectively dishonest and uncharitable.

    As part of my argument I posed several well-reasoned respectful questions directly to you which you have erased without answering.

    The only reasonable conclusion an objective observer can draw is that you find that the censored arguments I made undercut your argument and support mine. If my posts were simply weak and meritless you would leave them for people to see and refute them.

    Since much of what you censored were questions I posed to you, I am quite surprised that you are so swift to duck them.

    As I stated, it is your blog and if you choose to hide dialogue that undercuts the weight or rationale of your point of view then so be it.

  28. Here is your comment restored:

    Your questions have been answered in principle already, and your continued comments bring nothing new to the argument.

    I don’t have anything to add to this conversation at this time. I have nothing to hide. I don’t believe anything is to be gained by continuing this discussion.

    I will let the readers be the judge.

    Comments Closed.

    JP2 Guy’s comment:

    For the record, I myself suggested my analogies to penance and the breaking of water were rough.

    As a practical matter, most all non-consummated marriages that are brought to the Church for resolution are annulled for lack of proper consent (mental or physical incapacity or prior refusal to perform the duties of marriage).

    Perhaps the only cases where dissolution would be considered are those wherein a spouse becomes incapable or unwilling to copulate after the vows are ratified. This seems a rather rare instance.

    The vows presuppose and incorporate the oneflesh sexual union they represent. Is it the pratical impropriety of copulating during the rite itself that is the basis for the ratification prior to copulation?

    1. I will or can never copulate even after we get married. Annulment. Common.

    2. I know our marriage was ratified, but I will or can never copulate. Dissolution.
    Rare.

    Please tell me: do you think that a ratified marriage experiences additional benefit of its sacramental grace by virtue of its full constitution and fulfillment (which doctrinally can only occur via consummation)?

    You have avoided answering that question, I believe. But that is the only pertinent point I was making. The canon law discussion, I hope you will agree, was our attempt to find support for the theological answer to the very question posed above.

    I also think it is significant to understand the word consummate (make perfect or whole) as having a far different meaning and latin root than the word consume (use). I hope you will address that, also. Consummation is a “making whole with” (com + sum).

    I am convinced that the Church does not doctrinally refute that the sufficient grace conferred during the rite is unleashed (so as to be superabundant in its effect) only when the marriage is consummated, and each subsequent consummation only adds to that superabundant effect).(If your re-read my comments, that has been my precise point.)

    Do you disagree with this point?

    what is the precise doctrinal argument against my married-with-7-children layman’s formulation?

    This is very important to me.

    What say you regarding my analogy that the grace that is present by virtue of ratification is, so to speak, gestating (by analogy, the marriage being impregnated by the Holy Spirit via ratification) and consummation breaks the water (breaking the physical “barrier” between the man and woman so they can enjoy the fullness if the great and mysterious sign) which births the child, grace, that has been present the whole time?

    As to Mary and Joseph’s marriage, the gestation and birth of Jesus can be seen as proof of the perfection of their marriage, with human consummation being absolutely unnecessary, superfluous and contrary to perfect obedience to God’s will.

    I don’t believe I have ever stated that there is unequivocally no grace prior to consummation. As a lawyer, I use words carefully and believe I have been careful to phrase things so as to avoid making definitive declarations while speculating.

    My main and repeated point is that properly disposed copulation is an occasion of sacramental grace (flowing directly from the ratified vows, of course, since without those vows the union is not sacramental). The physical one-flesh union allows the couple to receive the benefit of grace in a way that is perfect. Couples that do not copulate will not have this normative benefit. While they may be able to encounter that perfect matrimonial grace in some other way, that way is hardly something one can know definitively.

  29. Pingback: Compendium of TOB Posts « Mary Victrix

  30. Pingback: Celibate Marriage: Validity and Consummation

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