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Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Public Letter to Janet Smith


Dr. Smith,

Mark Shea, Carl Olsen, Dr. Ed Peters, and others have felt that I have treated you scurrilously on my blog.

So, in the interests of fair play, let me explain precisely where the problems lie.

1) For over a year now,
you have defended or allowed to stand your defense of Chris West’s erroneous understanding that anal sex foreplay is morally permissible. You have publicly and privately held that such foreplay is permitted by the moral manuals. However, neither you nor other Chris West defenders nor Chris West himself have produced any evidence of this assertion – the best anyone has been able to do is provide a discussion of oral sex foreplay from a single manual published in the 1950s, and pretend that this discussion extends to anal sex foreplay. It doesn’t, as that same manual attests.

So, now that you’ve had a year to find it, you must produce the documentation you obviously have in hand from Catholic moral manuals produced prior to Vatican II directly on point concerning anal sex being permissible as foreplay by September 11, 2010 or publicly withdraw your support for this position and apologize for having held it.

Furthermore, you must publicly ask Chris West to produce his documentation within a deadline chosen by you, or you must publicly withdraw your support of Chris West’s teachings on this point. If you would like to ask him or his minions for a private or public apology for having deliberately misled you, that is certainly understandable.

For my part, if you produce the documentation, I will publicly apologize for having ever doubted you.

2) For over a year now, you have publicly and privately supported Chris West in his erroneous position that the Easter Candle is really a phallic symbol. You have claimed that this interpretation is supported in the typology of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

So, you must produce the documentation you obviously have in hand from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church; direct quotes, with the sources cited, demonstrating what you say is true, by September 11, 2010 or publicly withdraw your support for this position and publicly apologize for having held it.

Furthermore, you must publicly ask Chris West to produce his documentation within a deadline chosen by you, or you must publicly withdraw your support of Chris West’s teachings on this point. If you would like to ask him or his minions for a private or public apology for having deliberately misled you, that is certainly understandable.

For my part, if you produce the documentation, I will publicly apologize for having ever doubted you.

3) You must publicly ask Chris West to attest and affirm that continence is a virtue, as Pope John Paul II, Thomas Aquinas and the Magisterium of the Church have already affirmed.

If he refuses to do so, you must publicly withdraw your support of Chris West’s teachings on this point.

4) According to Chris West’s own words, "If you could not be alone together the day before you got married and not sin, there is no magic trick, there is no waving at the wand at the altar, that suddenly makes your sexual behavior beautiful, true, good, lovely, and pure.” You must publicly ask Chris West to explain exactly when the sacrament of marriage is conferred.

If he says anything other than “the sacrament of marriage, together with its sanctifying graces, are conferred upon the couple when they publicly exchange marriage vows before a deacon, priest, bishop or appropriate delegate in the manner and with the intention required by the Church”, you must publicly repudiate his teachings and publicly call upon his bishops to correct his teaching.

5) You must also publicly state, and call upon Chris West to publicly state, that the sacrament of marriage has three purposes, one of which is a remedy for concupiscence, that the Church does not expect those who enter into marriage to have conquered concupiscence and that we are not to expect those who enter into marriage to have done so. Further, you must publicly call upon West to make these points in future teachings.

6) You have publicly taught people by saying, “God is a pathological stalker.” You must withdraw this statement and make an equally public apology for having made this scandalous assertion.

Dr. Smith, for years you were a lion defending the Catholic teaching on contraception. All I’m asking is that you show the same attitude of fervor and respect towards Her other teachings.

If you do these things, I will treat you with the deference and respect I accord all true teachers of the Catholic Faith.

If you cannot do these things, then I’m afraid I can’t show you any more deference than I showed Nancy Pelosi when she continuously mis-quoted and mis-applied Aquinas and the Fathers.

After all, if you can’t document what you say, you and Chris West are making precisely the same error Pelosi made, and for precisely Pelosi’s own reason: you have your own agenda, and it is not the agenda of the Church.

77 comments:

Sean said...

Mr. K

What do you care what the likes of Messrs. Olsen, Shea, Peters, etc have to say. You're right on target. They have been, are and will remain (short of an overwhelming grace) be defenders of the post-conciliar revolution (mostly under their false conception of obedience).

Don't waste your time; many others have tried.

Sean

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Sean,

I'm not a rad-trad.
I'm not an SSPX'r.
I'm not a sede.
I don't see the "post-conciliar" debate as particularly important or relevant.

What I see is a wonderful woman who was once a staunch defender of Catholic Faith descend into being a cultist.

It happened to Tertullian, it's happened to her.

I'm asking her, begging her, to come to her senses, turn away from the Westian cult and return to teaching the Faith.

Sean said...

One word, Steve:

PASCENDI!!!

It's nothing to do with labels. The infection is deep and metastasizing.
It's called "Modernism."

Sean

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ah, I can't disagree with you there, Sean...

Ben said...

"The principle generally invoked is that consensual actions that culminate in intercourse are morally permissible."

Really? So bondage, S&M, asphyxiation...all permissible so long as the these acts culminate in intercourse?

How about the principle of "the end doesn't justify the means"?

An act is judged on it's own merit.

Following the logic above, a morally impermissible act during intercourse may become permissible so long as the culmination is intercourse. Rubbish!

Let us pray that those who would obfuscate moral principles will allow the grace of the Holy Spirit into their lives so that they may, once again, stand united with their Catholic brothers and sisters. Amen.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Hey, I'm waiting for the Famous Canon Lawyer, Dr. Ed Peters, to weigh in and discuss West's TOB Institute teaching on exactly when marriage becomes a sacrament.

A lot of people coming out of Westian TOB have been arguing the sacrament of marriage only comes into existence when the couple has sex, NOT when they exchange vows.

This is a pure denial of the sacrament of marriage, but somehow, Dr. Ed Peters seems at a loss for words when it comes to investigating and outing this heresy.

But then again, he would lose his carpool ride to work with Janet if he did, so you can't blame him too much.

Right, Ed?

Sigh...

Ben said...

Steve,

"When marriage becomes a sacrament" or when a marriage becomes indissoluble? I would argue marriage is always and will always be a sacrament. The sacramental action occurs during the marriage ceremony following the proper form as expressed in the Catechism (1621).

Now, from what I've read, this marriage is then "virtually indissoluble" and can only be dissolved by the Pope until consummation occurs, after which it is indissoluble in fact.

See Art. 67 here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_19880628_pastor-bonus-roman-curia_en.html

Thoughts?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ben,

You are correct. The sacrament of marriage is conferred when the vows are exchanged before a witness of the Church (form) between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman (matter) who have the proper intentions.

The sacrament of marriage becomes indissoluble upon the consummation of the marriage.

Unfortunately, Westians are known to argue that the sacrament of marriage is actually conferred at the consummation of the marriage, not at the altar.

To what extent priestly formation (at places like Sacred Heart Seminary, for instance) is being affected by these errors and more like them is unknown.

Annie Anomous said...

You are failing to see that the Church has always taught that the marital act is means of which to receive grace. It is the "enactment" of the sacrament. We receive the sacraments over and over not just once and marriage is no exception.

As for West's statement that marriage is not magic wand he is correct. A Man can lust in his heart for his fiance and be just as guilty in the eyes of lust as a husband who lusts and desires his wife's body. The opposite of love is use and a married couple can use each other and in doing so be judged by God for this "sin" of failing to love the way God has called them. West never teaches sex between married persons is sin, rather he says sex between married couples, when the purpose of sex is use for one's own personal desire for pleasure or otherwise, is wrong because it'd purpose is to use the other as an object. Perhaps you should read St. Thomas;

“My Way of Life”, A Pocket Edition of St Thomas – The Summa Simplified for Everyone, by Walter Farrel, O.P., S.T.M. and Martin J. Healy, S.T.D., Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1952, p. 579:

“Marriage is a divine command, for God told Adam and Eve to ‘increase and multiply’. Once the contract of marriage is made, it is a matter of justice for the husband and the wife to give each other the use of their bodies for the purposes of marriage.  In marriage, then, the sexual act can be an act of virtue. When married people perform this act with one another as a payment of their marital debt to each other, it is an act of justice. When they perform it in order to procreate children to worship God, it is an act of religion. Because this act can be virtuous, it can also be meritorious or grace and glory.”

Here is the original text from the Summa of St. Thomas:
Question 41, Article 4. Whether the marriage act is meritorious?
St Thomas teaches: “For if the motive for the marriage act be a virtue, whether of justice that they may render the debt, or of religion, that they may beget children for the worship of God, it is meritorious.”
Catholic Encyclopaedia (entry on ‘Merit’):
“By merit (meritum) in general is understood that property of a good work which entitles the doer to receive a reward (prœmium, merces) from Him in whose service the work is done. By antonomasia, the word has come to designate also the good work itself, in so far as it deserves a reward from the Person in whose service it was performed.
In the theological sense, a supernatural merit can only be a salutary act (actus salutaris), to which God in consequence of his infallible promise owes a supernatural reward, consisting ultimately in eternal life, which is the beatific vision in heaven. “
Is the Marital Act one of a salutary act?

Annie Anomous said...

You are failing to see that the Church has always taught that the marital act is means of which to receive grace. It is the "enactment" of the sacrament. We receive the sacraments over and over not just once and marriage is no exception.

As for West's statement that marriage is not magic wand he is correct. A Man can lust in his heart for his fiance and be just as guilty in the eyes of lust as a husband who lusts and desires his wife's body. The opposite of love is use and a married couple can use each other and in doing so be judged by God for this "sin" of failing to love the way God has called them. West never teaches sex between married persons is sin, rather he says sex between married couples, when the purpose of sex is use for one's own personal desire for pleasure or otherwise, is wrong because it'd purpose is to use the other as an object. Perhaps you should read St. Thomas;

“My Way of Life”, A Pocket Edition of St Thomas – The Summa Simplified for Everyone, by Walter Farrel, O.P., S.T.M. and Martin J. Healy, S.T.D., Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1952, p. 579:

“Marriage is a divine command, for God told Adam and Eve to ‘increase and multiply’. Once the contract of marriage is made, it is a matter of justice for the husband and the wife to give each other the use of their bodies for the purposes of marriage.  In marriage, then, the sexual act can be an act of virtue. When married people perform this act with one another as a payment of their marital debt to each other, it is an act of justice. When they perform it in order to procreate children to worship God, it is an act of religion. Because this act can be virtuous, it can also be meritorious or grace and glory.”

Here is the original text from the Summa of St. Thomas:
Question 41, Article 4. Whether the marriage act is meritorious?
St Thomas teaches: “For if the motive for the marriage act be a virtue, whether of justice that they may render the debt, or of religion, that they may beget children for the worship of God, it is meritorious.”
Catholic Encyclopaedia (entry on ‘Merit’):
“By merit (meritum) in general is understood that property of a good work which entitles the doer to receive a reward (prœmium, merces) from Him in whose service the work is done. By antonomasia, the word has come to designate also the good work itself, in so far as it deserves a reward from the Person in whose service it was performed.
In the theological sense, a supernatural merit can only be a salutary act (actus salutaris), to which God in consequence of his infallible promise owes a supernatural reward, consisting ultimately in eternal life, which is the beatific vision in heaven. “
Is the Marital Act one of a salutary act?

Annie Anomous said...

You are failing to see that the Church has always taught that the marital act is means of which to receive grace. It is the "enactment" of the sacrament. We receive the sacraments over and over not just once and marriage is no exception.

As for West's statement that marriage is not magic wand he is correct. A Man can lust in his heart for his fiance and be just as guilty in the eyes of lust as a husband who lusts and desires his wife's body. The opposite of love is use and a married couple can use each other and in doing so be judged by God for this "sin" of failing to love the way God has called them. West never teaches sex between married persons is sin, rather he says sex between married couples, when the purpose of sex is use for one's own personal desire for pleasure or otherwise, is wrong because it'd purpose is to use the other as an object. Perhaps you should read St. Thomas which I will provide in the next comment box.

Annie Anomous said...

“My Way of Life”, A Pocket Edition of St Thomas – The Summa Simplified for Everyone, by Walter Farrel, O.P., S.T.M. and Martin J. Healy, S.T.D., Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1952, p. 579:

“Marriage is a divine command, for God told Adam and Eve to ‘increase and multiply’. Once the contract of marriage is made, it is a matter of justice for the husband and the wife to give each other the use of their bodies for the purposes of marriage.  In marriage, then, the sexual act can be an act of virtue. When married people perform this act with one another as a payment of their marital debt to each other, it is an act of justice. When they perform it in order to procreate children to worship God, it is an act of religion. Because this act can be virtuous, it can also be meritorious or grace and glory.”

Here is the original text from the Summa of St. Thomas:
Question 41, Article 4. Whether the marriage act is meritorious?
St Thomas teaches: “For if the motive for the marriage act be a virtue, whether of justice that they may render the debt, or of religion, that they may beget children for the worship of God, it is meritorious.”
Catholic Encyclopaedia (entry on ‘Merit’):
“By merit (meritum) in general is understood that property of a good work which entitles the doer to receive a reward (prœmium, merces) from Him in whose service the work is done. By antonomasia, the word has come to designate also the good work itself, in so far as it deserves a reward from the Person in whose service it was performed.
In the theological sense, a supernatural merit can only be a salutary act (actus salutaris), to which God in consequence of his infallible promise owes a supernatural reward, consisting ultimately in eternal life, which is the beatific vision in heaven. “
Is the Marital Act one of a salutary act?

Consider the following;

In a critical passage in section 21, which is worth quoting at length, Paul VI expresses something of the true and complete dimensions of this act of love:

The right and lawful ordering of birth demands, first of all, that spouses fully recognize and value the true blessings of family life and that they acquire complete mastery over themselves and their emotions. For if with the aid of reason and of free will they are to control their natural drives, there can be no doubt at all of the need for self-denial. Only then will the expression of love, essential to married life, conform to right order. This is especially clear in the practice of periodic continence. Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms it by giving it a more truly human character. And if this self-discipline does demand that they persevere in their purpose and efforts, it has at the same time the salutary effect of enabling husband and wife to develop their personalities and to be enriched with spiritual blessings. For it brings to family life abundant fruits of tranquility and peace. It helps in solving difficulties of other kinds. It fosters in husband and wife thoughtfulness and loving consideration for one another. It helps them to repel inordinate self-love, which is the opposite of charity. It arouses in them a consciousness of their responsibilities. And finally, it confers upon parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children. As their children grow up, they develop a right sense of values and achieve a serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers. (Humane Vitae Section 21).

Annie Anomous said...

PART ONE

“My Way of Life”, A Pocket Edition of St Thomas – The Summa Simplified for Everyone, by Walter Farrel, O.P., S.T.M. and Martin J. Healy, S.T.D., Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 1952, p. 579:

“Marriage is a divine command, for God told Adam and Eve to ‘increase and multiply’. Once the contract of marriage is made, it is a matter of justice for the husband and the wife to give each other the use of their bodies for the purposes of marriage.  In marriage, then, the sexual act can be an act of virtue. When married people perform this act with one another as a payment of their marital debt to each other, it is an act of justice. When they perform it in order to procreate children to worship God, it is an act of religion. Because this act can be virtuous, it can also be meritorious or grace and glory.”

Annie Anomous said...

Here is the original text from the Summa of St. Thomas:
Question 41, Article 4. Whether the marriage act is meritorious?
St Thomas teaches: “For if the motive for the marriage act be a virtue, whether of justice that they may render the debt, or of religion, that they may beget children for the worship of God, it is meritorious.”
Catholic Encyclopaedia (entry on ‘Merit’):
“By merit (meritum) in general is understood that property of a good work which entitles the doer to receive a reward (prœmium, merces) from Him in whose service the work is done. By antonomasia, the word has come to designate also the good work itself, in so far as it deserves a reward from the Person in whose service it was performed.
In the theological sense, a supernatural merit can only be a salutary act (actus salutaris), to which God in consequence of his infallible promise owes a supernatural reward, consisting ultimately in eternal life, which is the beatific vision in heaven. “

Annie Anomous said...

Is the Marital Act one of a salutary act?

Consider the following;

In a critical passage in section 21, which is worth quoting at length, Paul VI expresses something of the true and complete dimensions of this act of love:

The right and lawful ordering of birth demands, first of all, that spouses fully recognize and value the true blessings of family life and that they acquire complete mastery over themselves and their emotions. For if with the aid of reason and of free will they are to control their natural drives, there can be no doubt at all of the need for self-denial. Only then will the expression of love, essential to married life, conform to right order. This is especially clear in the practice of periodic continence. Self-discipline of this kind is a shining witness to the chastity of husband and wife and, far from being a hindrance to their love of one another, transforms it by giving it a more truly human character. And if this self-discipline does demand that they persevere in their purpose and efforts, it has at the same time the salutary effect of enabling husband and wife to develop their personalities and to be enriched with spiritual blessings. For it brings to family life abundant fruits of tranquility and peace. It helps in solving difficulties of other kinds. It fosters in husband and wife thoughtfulness and loving consideration for one another. It helps them to repel inordinate self-love, which is the opposite of charity. It arouses in them a consciousness of their responsibilities. And finally, it confers upon parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children. As their children grow up, they develop a right sense of values and achieve a serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers. (Humane Vitae Section 21).

Steve Kellmeyer said...

First, Annie Anomous, while I normally just call anonymous Westians cowards, I won't do that in this case because you are doing something unique - you are actually trying to address the theology!

That's almost shocking.
I really do applaud you for going where most Westians fear to tread. I wish more people would follow your example.

Now, that having been said, let's examine your first statement:

"We receive the sacraments over and over not just once and marriage is no exception"

That would be incorrect.

Baptism - only received once.
Confirmation - only received once.
Holy Orders - only received once.
Marriage - only received once, unless your spouse dies, in which case you can get remarried.

The sacraments of healing and the Eucharist are typically received multiple times, but even with Anointing of the Sick, it may work out that you only receive it once in a lifetime.

Now, you receive the GRACES of baptism, confirmation and marriage every day, but you don't get the SACRAMENT every day. Big difference.

As for the rest of your many posts, I am NOT saying sex is not important, I'm just pointing out that it is not the case that sex is what creates the marriage.

A couple can be validly, truly, sacramentally married even if they never have sex.

The difference between an engaged man who lusts for his fiancee and a married man who lusts for his wife is two-fold:

(1) since one purpose of the marital act is to remedy concupiscence, while the act can be sinful, it would not be sinful to the same degree that it would be for the unmarried man, if only because marriage does give each spouse certain rights towards the other (yes, there are degrees of mortal sin, just like there are degrees of venial sin).

(2) the graces of marriage are available to the married man to help remedy his weaknesses in a way that they are not available to the unmarried man.

This is why Paul says, "It is better to be married than to burn."

Finally, while the marital act CAN be an act of virtue and CAN bring grace into a marriage, it is not the ONLY act by which grace enters a marriage, nor even necessarily the most important act.

Spouses aren't required to have sex in order to have a valid marriage. To argue that they are is to commit the error of sexualism that Dawn Eden reminds us John Paul II had condemned.

Ben said...

Annie, you wrote: "You are failing to see that the Church has always taught that the marital act is means of which to receive grace. It is the "enactment" of the sacrament. We receive the sacraments over and over not just once and marriage is no exception."

You are either being unintentionally sloppy or intentionally equivocating by using "grace" in your first statement, and then "sacrament" in your conclusion.

As Steve also pointed out, you are incorrect in that we receive the sacraments over and over again, specifically citing marriage.

This is your lead-off statement in your rebuttal. And you are wrong. Suffice to say that what you accuse Steve of failing to see is prima facie incorrect. So, in essence, you accuse Steve of failing to see something that is not true. In a more basic form, you accuse Steve of failing to see the truth in something that is not true. Sooooo....where do we go from here?

Truth be told, no pun intended, I know very little of Chris West and his theology. I don't know if he's in it to make a living, if his views are Catholic, if he's playing "loose" with the rules in order to cast a wider net...I have some research to do, assuming it's worth my time. That said, my backdrop will be, as always, what the Church teaches and what the Magisterium has taught throughout the centuries in order to determine whether West is worth studying.

Ben said...

Annie, I suppose the question could be as simple as this (and this ties in with your seamless transition from West to Aquinas): Is West's theology a logical extension of Aquinas/Paul VI/Church teaching or is it something different?

THAT is the question. If it is not an extension of Church teaching, then it is not true.

Aquinas had quite a bit to say about people who taught untrue things as well.

Annie Anomous said...

I have a number of objections but I want to look up some text to back up my understanding. Is it true that if a marriage is not consummated the marriage can be annulled?

Also, when I referred to the sacraments being something we participate more than once, I was referring to this:

We renew our baptismal promises and we also bless ourselves with Holy Water as we enter the church. Although baptism is only received once the graces of our baptism are conferred many times after.
Holy Orders is made manifest again and again as a priest celebrates the mass. Many graces flow this outward living out of the sacrament in the role.

As for Confirmation, this is when we receive the Holy Spirit so that we may evangelize and share the faith. Through the gifts and charisms such as speaking in tongues or discernment of spirits etc..we receive the Holy Spirit so that we may evangelize others many times after confirmation and it is experienced physically through the above examples.

If we are physical, spiritual and intellectual(the will) beings then we are to have a physical relationship, a spiritual relation ship and an intellectual (submit our will to that of Gods) relationship with God.

Marriage is no exception. If a person withholds themselves from their new spouse the church can declare their marriage annulled. For instance, if a person denies their spouse children and withholds their fertility this is grounds for annulment. Doesn't this mean that it is as if they were never married in God's eyes?

Thanks for the clarification..I do want to understand this. My desire is not to propogate MY beliefs but to understand Church teachings better.

Annie Anomous said...

One more thing I would like you to clarify. If Jesus said to lust in your heart is the same as adultery couldn't a man also commit adultery even in his own marriage?

If marriage is the remedy for concupiscence, and you say that is to allow a man to have sex without sinning, then hating someone is not a sin against the commandment "thou shalt not kill".

As for degrees of mortal sin, you only need one to go to hell so does varying degrees of mortal sin really matter?

Divorced was allowed because there was lust in a mans heart (the answer Jesus gives in the new testament) so how can marriage be the new remedy?

Are you saying that men being allowed to lust after their wives and have sex for pleasure only, is their right, since marriage is the remedy of concupiscence? Or do you believe that a man, could be judged by God as sinning against his wife for using her as an object for his lusts, and in this failure to love be held accountable? It would seem that your argument that marriage's first purpose is to remedy concupiscence so it appears you are minimalizing a man using his spouse, cause after all...it is better to marry than to burn...

Ben said...

Annie,
To clean up your position, you are basically stating that we do not receive certain sacraments (like matrimony) more than once, but only the graces these sacraments confer. This is an important difference, lest you leave the reader thinking that certain sacraments are in fact received more than once.

A marriage can be annulled whether or not it was consumated. If a marriage is not consumated it can be annulled. If consumation took place a marriage could still be annulled.

An anullment is not necessarily contingent upon whether or not consumation took place.

By the way you phrased your question, it's almost as if you are referring to a dissolution, which cannot take place after consumation, but apparently can take place prior to consumation.

Of two main purposes of matrimony, according to Aquinas, the first is reproduction.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Yes, Annie, there are certain conditions under which even a sacramental marriage can be annulled.

One of those conditions is if the marriage is not consummated. But that lack of sex does NOT mean it is not a sacramental marriage.

If you want to verify that this is the case, go ask Dr. Ed Peters, canon lawyer extraordinarie, and personal friend of Janet Smith.

He carries no water for me.

He'll be happy to give you the straight scoop on sacramental marriage and sex.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ben,

Actually, a sacramental marriage that has been consummated cannot be annulled at all. Even the Pope has not the power to annul it.

A civil marriage can be annulled if it was not sacramental - that's what the annulment process does, is look at the marriage and determine whether or not it was sacramental.

If it wasn't sacramental, then the Church can declare it void by the power of the keys. If it WAS sacramental, She can't touch it.

Annulments are not infallible declarations.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Annie,

You are wrong on a number of counts.
There are three purposes to marriage:
1) Procreation
2) Union of Spouses
3) Remedy for concupiscence

We can renew our baptismal vows, via holy water and other means, but the graces of baptism flow regardless of whether we do that. That's one way they flow, but not the only way.

Similarly, a priest's graces flow not only every time he celebrates Mass, but every day of his life, regardless of whether or not he had a chance to celebrate Mass that day. Those graces express themselves in a special way during the confection of a sacrament, but it isn't the only way.

A man can fornicate with a woman before they are married, but cannot fornicate with her AFTER the two are married. The vows at the altar change the ontology of the couple so that the sin of fornication is no longer possible between them. They can commit adultery, lust, etc., but not fornication.

In the same way, a man can lust after his wife and sin thereby, but he CANNOT commit adultery with his own wife. That is why a husband's sin against his wife (or a wife's against her husband) can never rise to the level of fornication or adultery - he has a relationship with her that he has with no other woman, so certain sins are now impossible with her.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Here's what JP II said about sex in marriage in Love and Responsibility, p 66, and he's just drawing on the writings of the Fathers:

"The Church, as has been mentioned previously, teaches, and has always taught, that the primary end of marriage is procreatio, but that it has a secondary end, defined in Latin terminology as mutuum adiutorium. Apart from these a tertiary aim is mentioned - remedium concupiscentiae. Marriage, objectively considered, must provide first of all the means of continuing existence, secondly a conjugal life for man and woman, and thirdly a legitimate orientation for desire."

He goes on to point out that the ends are attained on the basis of a personalistic norm, that is, the ends all flow from love, but he specifically says that the ends themselves are not subjective, i.e., not personalistic.

Indeed, he goes on to say, "By reason of the fact that they are persons a man and a woman must consciously seek to realize the aims of marriage according to the priority given above, because this order is objective, accessible to reason, and therefore binding on human persons." (p. 67, emphasis added)

He continues by pointing out, "The personalistic norm itself is not, of course, to be identified with any one of the aims of marriage: a norm is never an end, nor is an end a norm." (p. 68)

I recommend you read the whole section very closely, because Chris West apparently doesn't understand this passage at all.

You can find it here.

Ben said...

Steve,

I see what you are saying and I probably should have been more clear. A sacramental marriage cannot be annulled by the very fact that it was sacramental. If it was sacramental, then it was, by definition, valid. So the Church is looking to see whether the form was valid. If it was valid, then the sacrament took place. If it wasn't valid, then there was no sacrament.

What is the difference between an annulment and a dissolution?

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Not really jumping in here, Steve, but I like your very clear explanation of why a husband and wife can't fornicate or commit adultery with each other. It's common sense, yes, but it's nice to see someone bring all the way to the QED like that, too. =)

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ben,

An annullment is a declaration that no sacrament ever took place. There may have been a civil marriage (contract), but the Church doesn't care about those, so that's a separate issue that belongs to the state.

A dissolution is the declaration that a valid natural union, or a valid but unconsummated supernatural union (read "sacrament), is declared void by the Church.

Two unbaptized people or an unbaptized and a baptized person can enter a natural union that the Church has the power to dissolve in favor of the Faith. Two baptized people who have exchanged vows but have not consummated their supernatural union can, under certain circumstances, also have their union dissolved.

A consummated union between two baptized persons cannot be dissolved except by death of one of the spouses.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Thanks, Enbrethiliel. The laws on marriage are complex and it's easy to mess them up. RCIA directors (I was one) have to have a relatively good handle on them for their job, but even so, we regularly talk with canon lawyers to clear up specific situations.

What I'm relating is the understanding of marriage that I've gained after formal training and several years of on-the-job experience.

Due to marriage law complexity, there's always the possibility that I'm mis-speaking, but to the best of my knowledge, this is an accurate summary of what the Church teaches.

Ben said...

Well said. Thanks Steve.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

You're quite welcome, Ben.

Now, if Annie is on the ball, she'll go to the 8 October 1980 TOB audience, "Interpreting the Concept of Concupiscence" in which JP II says:

"Adultery in the heart is committed not only because man looks in this way at a woman who is not his wife, but precisely because he looks at a woman in this way. Even if he looked in this way at the woman who is his wife, he could likewise commit adultery in his heart."

The problem here is that in the immediately previous audience, JP II said:

"But even apart from casuistry, it seems clear that adultery can be identified only in the flesh, that is, when the two, the man and the woman who unite with each other in such a way as to become one flesh (cf. Gn 2:24), are not legal spouses, husband and wife. What meaning, then, can adultery committed in the heart have? Is it not perhaps just a metaphorical expression the Master used to highlight the sinfulness of lust?"

He then goes on to answer that question in the affirmative: it is a metaphorical expression used to highlight the sinfulness of lust.

So, when a man lusts after his wife, we can call that lust "adultery of the heart" in a metaphorical sense, but not in a fully correct legal sense, precisely because it would be nonsensical in an such a legal sense.

Just as "fornication" refers to sex between two unmarried people, "adultery of the heart" refers to lust. "Adultery" itself refers to the sexual act consummated between two persons (1) at least one of whom is married and (2) the two are not married to each other.

But while the two terms, "adultery" and "adultery of the heart" may co-travel, the two are separate issues and cannot be conflated to mean the same thing.

They don't.

Ben said...

Steve,

Would it be proper to state then:

Adultery =
1)desiring sexual acts from another person so as to use the person as a sexual object AND
2)physically committing these acts

while

Adultery in the heart =
1)desiring sexual acts from another person so as to use the person as a sexual object

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ben,

Exactly. With the proviso that at least one of the parties is married but is not married to the partner in the sexual act.

If neither partner is married, it would simply be called lust and fornication.

Now, to expand on that last sentence, I guess you could ask the question whether lust is "adultery in the heart" against the Bridegroom in every sin. I would say "no" because:

1) the filial relationship is superior to the nuptial relationship - we are logically sons and daughters of God before we are espoused to Him, so using that phrase about every sin would give logical pre-eminence to a relationship that is not logically pre-eminent,

2) if it were true, ANY sin can be referred to as loving something or someone more than God, thus ANY sin could be called "adultery in the heart" against the Bridegroom, not just lust.

But JP II limited that phrase just to lust, so (assuming he is correct), we don't have an example of a formal teaching using that kind of phrasing apart from the sin of lust.

Annie Anomous said...

I think I need some clarification. If a disollution of marriage can be granted if the marriage is not consummated, then it says that a sacrament never took place. If the marriage is consummated, then the church takes this marriage more seriously in a sense and a couple would then need to prove that the marriage was never a sacramental one if it is to be annulled. It seems that the sexual union is indeed a way in which the sacrament is made physical. All fo the sacraments are an outward sign of an inward grace received. The words spoken as they exchange vows are an outward and physical sign of intent (the submission of the will) however, the ACTION of consummation is the physical outward sign and demonstration of their receptivity of the sacrament.

When we are baptized, it is not enough that the words are spoken and the parents and Godparents speak the words of their submission of will (the words are physically expressed but they are not a physical reception). The sacraments are a reception and participation of the intellect/will, the soul and the body. The body must participate in the reception of the sacraments. In baptism, the body experiences the washing waters of baptism, the sould receives the grace, the words of the parents and Godparents are the submission of will and discernment of intellect.

In reconcilliation, the participant speaks the words of his sins and receives the words of being absolves but it is only when the penitent carries out the penance and makes a move to "amend his life" that he can be forgiven. The action is the demonstration of desire of the heart to do the will. If a penitent does not do his penance and goes home to continue sinning then the confession is not valid. Yes?

Then there is communion. We speak the words "Amen" or we submit our will by kneeling before our one True God truly present in the Eucharist, we then receive, bodily this sacrament.
Confirmation, the will is submitted as well as physical reception.
Holy Orders, the body is prostrated...there is a physicallization of all of the sacraments and not just by the words, but by a physical action following the words.

In marriage, the physicalization is the sexual union that takes place after the words of intention are spoken. The proof that the marriage is not a sacrament until the sexual union or the physicalization of the vows are made flesh is proven when we see the church can disolve the marriage if the sexual union does not take place. Not an annulment which has a whole process that must investigate the hearts of the couple to know their intents and to validate it with witnesses but by NOT physicalizing their vows, their intent is demonstrated as proof that no union existed. Thus, no sacrament.

Annie Anomous said...

Q. How does the Tribunal assist divorced persons?
A. When a divorced person has remarried, or wishes to remarry in the Catholic Church, the Tribunal assists in preparing a case for the Church annulment or dissolution of that person’s previous marriage, or in determining whether a former spouse has died.

Q. What is a Church annulment?
A. Unlike a divorce, which states that a marriage that once existed no longer does, an annulment is a declaration by the Catholic Church that the prior union never had the binding force that characterizes marriage. An annulment does not deny the reality of the wedding or the experience of the spouses during married life, but rather says that because something was seriously defective when the bride and groom spoke their wedding vows, the marriage lacked the binding force that Jesus taught. (Mk 10:7-12; Mt 5:31-32; Lk 16:18)

Q. What is a dissolution of marriage?
A. When two people enter a marriage and one or both are not baptized, or when the marriage is not consummated after the wedding ceremony, the Pope may grant a dissolution of that union. Requests for dissolutions are prepared by a Tribunal and then sent to Rome for action by offices designated for that purpose.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

If a disollution of marriage can be granted if the marriage is not consummated, then it says that a sacrament never took place.

That is simply wrong.
"Dissolution" requires that something exists to be dissolved. The very word "dissolution" means there WAS a marriage there and it was dissolved.

If the Church used the word "annulment" to describe what happened, you would have a case. Unfortunately for the Westians, that is NOT the word that is used. The sacramental marriage is dissolved, it is not annulled.

You are simply wrong about what constitutes the outward sign, or form, of the sacrament of marriage. Read the CCC. The outward sign is the vow - not one of the many actions which fulfill the vow. With Christians, their word is their bond, so the word is sufficient.

In marriage, the presence of the two bodies at the altar before the priest is the bodily participation, just as in confession, the body is present in the confessional - you can't do confession by telephone. No further outward sign is necessary for these two sacraments.

It is NOT the case that penance is what creates the forgiveness of sins. Did Chris West teach that to you?

The words of absolution spoken by the priest are what forgives sins. The penance is not part of that - what you have just mentioned is part of the Da Vinci Code heresy.

And thank you for the quotes - the fact that the Church distinguishes between a declaration of nullity ("there was never a marriage here") and dissolution ("there was a marriage here, but via the power of the keys, we dissolve it") demonstrates my point and disproves yours.

Annie Anomous said...

Notice "binding force" is not described as the vows as you stated in previous posts. If that was the case then no marriage where the vows are spoken could be annulled. The binding force seems to point to the will and intellect being properly able to submit to the vows. If a person's intent can be proved to be one that was incompatible with church teachings, (open to children etc) then the marriage can be annulled. Likewise then if the two persons do not consummate and make flesh their original vows then once again the intent to enter into the sacrament is made know, no sexual union, no intent, no marriage. Are you following my line of thinking?

I also need you to cite and show where in the Catechism as well as tradion through writings of the church fathers it is stated implicitly that marriage is a remedy of concupiscence please. I would like to read this. I have never in my life heard this such thing and I want to read it for myself. Thank you.

Annie Anomous said...

Notice "binding force" is not described as the vows as you stated in previous posts. If that was the case then no marriage where the vows are spoken could be annulled. The binding force seems to point to the will and intellect being properly able to submit to the vows. If a person's intent can be proved to be one that was incompatible with church teachings, (open to children etc) then the marriage can be annulled. Likewise then if the two persons do not consummate and make flesh their original vows then once again the intent to enter into the sacrament is made know, no sexual union, no intent, no marriage. Are you following my line of thinking?

I also need you to cite and show where in the Catechism as well as tradion through writings of the church fathers it is stated implicitly that marriage is a remedy of concupiscence please. I would like to read this. I have never in my life heard this such thing and I want to read it for myself. Thank you.

Annie Anomous said...

Notice "binding force" is not described as the vows as you stated in previous posts. If that was the case then no marriage where the vows are spoken could be annulled. The binding force seems to point to the will and intellect being properly able to submit to the vows. If a person's intent can be proved to be one that was incompatible with church teachings, (open to children etc) then the marriage can be annulled. Likewise then if the two persons do not consummate and make flesh their original vows then once again the intent to enter into the sacrament is made know, no sexual union, no intent, no marriage. Are you following my line of thinking?

I also need you to cite and show where in the Catechism as well as tradion through writings of the church fathers it is stated implicitly that marriage is a remedy of concupiscence please. I would like to read this. I have never in my life heard this such thing and I want to read it for myself. Thank you.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

If a person's intent can be proved to be one that was incompatible with church teachings

Well, of course, Annie. I've pointed that out repeatedly in the replies I've made. The one time I leave it out, because I thought I mentioned "intent" often enough, you pounce on it as if I had never mentioned it.

Yes, both members of the couple must have the proper intents.

Notice that simply having sex is NOT evidence of proper intent. If it were no marriage that was consummated could be annulled: the simple act of having had sex would have been sufficient to prove proper intent.

The physical act doesn't prove anything one way or the other - that's why the Church doesn't treat the act of sex as conclusive evidence that the marriage is a sacrament, nor does lack of sex constitute conclusive evidence that there is no sacramental marriage.

Consummated unions are dissolved all the time. Marriages that are no longer able to be consummated cannot, for that reason alone, be dissolved or annulled. Sex proves nothing about the existence of the sacrament.

If the sacrament is determined to be present, then sex proves whether or not it can be dissolved. But that's a separate issue from whether or not it's a sacrament to begin with.

As for marriage being a remedy for concupiscence, you've never heard it because:
(a) American priests mostly don't even teach sin, much less concupiscence,
(b) Chris West teaches a theology of pleasure, not Christian theology
(c) I've already quoted JP II as referring to it and the ancient tradition it represents (are you throwing JP II under the bus in favor of Chris now?)
(d)Here's Thomas Aquinas who points out that mortification of the flesh is SUPERIOR to marriage and sex (You'll never hear THAT from Chris West, nor will you hear that JP II scourged himself)
(e)It's in the 1917 Code of Canon Law,
(f) You might also try Augustine's work "On Continence". Augustine teaches that human sexuality has been wounded, together with the whole of human nature, and requires redemption of Christ. That healing is a process realized in conjugal acts. The virtue of continence is achieved thanks to the grace of the sacrament of Christian marriage, which becomes therefore a remedium concupiscentiae - remedy of concupiscence - exactly the reverse of what Chris West teaches.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, and Annie?

You didn't answer my question.

Did Chris West teach you that confession does not absolve sins if you don't do the penance?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, you wanted a Catechism reference.

I forgot...

Here's the Catechism of the Council of Trent on Marriage:



"A third reason has been added, as a consequence of the fall of our first parents. On account of the loss of original innocence the passions began to rise in rebellion against right reason; and man, conscious of his own frailty and unwilling to fight the battles of the flesh, is supplied by marriage with an antidote by which to avoid sins of lust. For fear of fornication, says the Apostle, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband; and a little after, having recommended to married persons a temporary abstinence from the marriage debt, to give themselves to prayer, he adds: Return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency."

Ben said...

Annie stated: "If the two persons do not consummate,... no marriage".

Steve stated: "Sex proves nothing about the existence of the sacrament."

Annie, since you are making a positive statement, I'm requesting that you back this up with a CCC reference, DoC, encyclical, or otherwise some officially recognized document that this is what the Church teaches.

When I went through the Pre-Cana courses with my wife, we were never taught such a thing.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Annie,

According to West's handlers and West's own publicity, he catechizes people like you, energizes them about the Faith, etc. So, if you have studied West - and you say you have - then much of what you know should be influenced by him.

Now, either he taught you or he didn't. If he taught you, then this is his error. If he didn't, then his failure to make basic things like this clear to you about marriage is ALSO his error.

He can't claim to be doing WONDERFULLY with people like you and you still answer so atrociously about the sacrament of marriage, which is supposedly his speciality.

Now, you are actively defending West, to the extent that you've called two other West defenders at least incorrect, if not outright liars, for having witnessed to things that he said.

So, no, I don't think it unreasonable to presume that you've either learned your execrable sacramental theology from West or failed to learn decent sacramental theology from him precisely because he is a crappy instructor, contrary to his hype.

This problem, Annie, is called "the horns of a dilemma" and you've impaled yourself on either one or the other.

The only way out is to claim that you are NOT a student of West, in which case I wonder why you are here and anonymous? And why you didn't correct me at the beginning when I thanked you for being a Westian AND addressing the theology?

Sorry, honey, but you're hoist by your own petard on this one.

Now, in addition, you should be aware that the Catholic Church has produced TWO universal catechisms - one in the 1500's after the Council of Trent, another in the 1990's after Vatican II. Both are infallible expressions of the ordinary Magisterium.

Church teachings do not change.

The Trent translation I directed you to is the first catechism from the late 1500's, in which the various goods of marriage are listed explicitly. The new CCC, which you referenced, uses modern language, to wit "After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one's own pleasure..." (CCC 1609)

That is, instead of using the word "concupiscence," it describes the consequences in CCC 1609. But there is no difference between using the word and using the definition of the word.

You have now confirmed my point.

Both catechisms point out that marriage is a remedy for concupiscence.

Finally, we have already stipulated that intentions are necessary for the sacrament to take place, so you don't need to post to prove your point. We all know that already.

If you want to prove me wrong, you'll have to do a LOT better than you have so far. West is not teaching you very well, I'm afraid. Maybe you should find a priest who can do a better job.

Brendan said...

I am having trouble reconciling the following two quotes from Steve:

[T]here are certain conditions under which even a sacramental marriage can be annulled.

An annullment is a declaration that no sacrament ever took place.

How can a sacramental marriage be declared not to have been a sacrament? Am I missing something, or did you mean "even a sacramental marriage can be dissolved"?

Either way this may be causing "AA" some confusion as well.

Matheus F. Ticiani said...

Brendan

On that same comment from your second quote, Steve also wrote:

"A dissolution is the declaration that a valid natural union, or a valid but unconsummated supernatural union (read "sacrament), is declared void by the Church.

If I understood it correctly, it means that kind of sacramental marriage (valid unconsummated unuon between two baptized persons)can be dissolved, but that's a distinct concept from an annulment, which recognizes that no sacrament took place.

As Steve said, this is a complex issue that can be easily confused. Take a look at this post from Jimmy Akin that schematizes the concept mentioned here.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ben

Thanks for pointing that out. I should have written "there are certain conditions under which even a sacramental marriage can be dissolved."

Talking about marriage can be very confusing as there are three forms of marriage: civil, natural and supernatural. A civil marriage can co-exist with either a natural or a supernatural marriage, but a person cannot have both a natural and a supernatural relationship with his spouse at the same time - it's either one or the other.

There are also three ways of dealing with these three forms: divorce for civil, dissolution for natural, dissolution for supernatural if not consummated, and annulment for all three. That is, any of the three forms can be attempted but when the attempt fails, the result can be a declaration of nullity.

A marriage between an unbaptized and a baptized person would be a natural union that can be dissolved in favor of the Faith.

If both parties are unbaptized, the Pauline privilege is invoked - the marriage can be dissolved if one party is entering the Church and wants to sacramentally marry a Christian.

If one is baptized and the other not baptized, the Petrine privilege can be invoked. This allows either the baptized or the unbaptized spouse to marry again as long as the departure from the current natural union is being left in favor of baptism or in favor of marriage to a baptized Christian or both.

Only baptized persons can be sacramentally married, and a true marriage between two baptized persons is ALWAYS sacramental, so the union is dissolved in order to assist the one who is pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ through the sacraments.

So the whole thing is kind of complex, and I definitely was in error when I wrote "annulment" instead of "dissolution."

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Akin is somewhat imprecise in his wording, so he leaves an erroneous impression.

Neither the Petrine nor the Pauline privilege depend on consummation. Since both require at least one unbaptized party to operate, the ability to dissolve in both cases depends entirely on the baptismal status of the parties, not the consummation.

Ben said...

Steve,

Brendan made the point above; however, I'll admit that one of my original posts above should have been more precise when referring to "marriage" and anullments. You pointed that out immediately.

Your summation of the forms, and the clarification of anullment and dissolution, to me, is clear and sufficient.

I'm still waiting for Annie to provide some official teaching to support her claim regarding consumation and marriage.

Lastly, when are you going to be on Catholic Answers Live?

Ben said...

Annie,

You have yet to defend your statement that if there is no consummation there is no marriage.

I know all of this might be a bit overwhelming for you, but you really need to take time to defend your propositions, especially when their validity and veracity are called into question.

In your most recent post you make another proposition but I fail to see how you get from your major premise to your minor premise and eventually your conclusion.

You state: "AND HERE IS WHERE THE PROOF EXISTS THAT A HUSBAND CAN COMMIT ADULTERY WITH HIS OWN WIFE"
First, I think this is another case of sloppy verbiage. You state "adultery" but JP II uses the term "adultery in the heart" which we have already discussed and defined. Then you state: "THEREFORE MARRIAGE CANNOT BE A REMEDY FOR CONCUPISENCE". To me, this is non sequitur. Especially in light of this phrase from JP II GENERAL AUDIENCE OF WEDNESDAY, 1 DECEMBER [1982] (link is below)

"If this "world passes," and if with it the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life which come from the world also passes, marriage as a sacrament immutably ensures that man, male and female, by DOMINATING CONCUPISCENCE, does the will of the Father. And he "who does the will of God remains forever" (1 Jn 2:17)." (caps mine).

Remedy: to restore to the natural or proper condition; put right: to remedy a matter.
Dominate:to rule over; govern; control.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/jp2tb101.htm

Thoughts?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Excellent points, Ben.

I might also add that the link to Thomas I supplied DIRECTLY speaks about marriage as a remedy for concupiscence

AND

farther down the page, Aquinas makes the point that EVEN BETTER than marriage for the remedying concupiscence is celibacy and bodily mortification.

You supplied the necessary JP II quote from his TOB audiences, I had earlier supplied the quote directly from his Love and Responsibility book.

So, if West is right, then JPII not only contradicted Aquinas, but he also contradicted his own writings from just twenty years before AND he mis-spoke in the general audience that YOU quote, Ben.

Either JP II made all those errors, or West can't read.

I vote for West being illiterate.

Also, Annie, for someone who refuses to identify as a student of Chris West, you sure do sound like him.

I see no reason NOT to whale on West, given how accurately you represent his position, and how utterly wrong you are.

Ben said...

To me it is clear that:

1)Anal sex foreplay is morally reprehensible and not impermissible regardless if it ends in vaginal intercourse. Anyone who teaches otherwise, representing his affiliation with Catholicism, should be censured, simple as that.

2)The Easter Candle, and any and all Church candles for that matter, are NOT phallic symbols; to teach otherwise is a perversion of right-teaching, proper symbolism, and history.

3) The sacrament of marriage is conferred during the marriage ceremony following the proper form. Consummation is NOT a requisite for validation or conference.

4)One of the purposes of marriage is to remedy concupiscence.

5)God is NOT a pathological stalker. Thousands of years of right-thinking and theology do not culminate in describing God as such. Almost silly in it's connotation, the pop-culture "shock" of making such a statement is absurd. The negative perception alone, aside from the outright mis-description, is enough to make almost any person of the faith shudder while considering the lunacy of such a position.

I think that about sums it up.

Ben said...

1) should read *not permissible

Kevin said...

While I'm CERTAINLY late to this discussion, a few things:

Annie, you forget the fact that in Numbers 30, there is an understanding by which a husband and wife live a celibate marriage. (Jewish commentators agree that when the vow is for the woman to "afflict" herself, this is used in the context of abstaining from sex via a lifelong vow.) If both parties consent to this, it is no sin. This was actually how it is believed Joseph and Mary operated. (Hence the astonishment that she would conceive a son.)

Now for those instances in which both parties did not consent, or one wished to be released from it and was refused, yes, the Church could, after consideration of all the facts, declare a marriage null.

We also know that there were people in Judaism that practiced this. Whether or not Christ or His extended family were members of the Essenes (the scholarship is divided), we do know for a fact they enjoined each other to such celibate vows, even within marriage. We even have other historical examples such as St. Edward the Confessor, King of England. It is believed that he and his wife, Edith of Wessex, enjoined each other to such vows of chastity even within marriage, and he died without children. (The scholarship on this is divided as well, but such is never unheard of.)

As others pointed out, you are confusing the reception of the sacrament with the strengthening and in some cases renewal of the sacrament. It is true that, when co-operating with grace, enactment of the marital embrace strengths the grace received from the sacrament of marriage, just as the blessing of holy water strenghtens the presence of the grace of baptism, and the Eucharist strengthens the effect of all the other sacraments greatest.

Kevin said...

Worded things a little sloppy. take Steve's comments about "annull" and "dissolve" and apply to what I said. :)

Annie Anomous said...

You are correct that a man and woman can be validly married even if they never consummate the marriage. This is why Mary and Joseph had a valid marriage. However, the marriage is not perfected without consummation.


At the council of Trent, the Church declared that marriage can be a "remedy for concupiscence." Many are of the opinion that what the Church meant by "remedy" was outlet. The true definition is that "remedy" means "a way to heal." Thus, if the act is that of a sincere gift of self, the marital act is a way of actually healing for concupiscence. Although there will still be pushing toward selfishness, the Sacrament actually gives us grace to overcome.

This definition is very important, as St. Augustine has definitively said that the marital act is at least a venial sin. This statement is faulty, yet understandable, given his past involving a debaucherous lifestyle, and that he could not see that there is another way to perceive this act.

Annie Anomous said...

You are correct that a man and woman can be validly married even if they never consummate the marriage. This is why Mary and Joseph had a valid marriage. However, the marriage is not perfected without consummation.

At the council of Trent, the Church declared that marriage can be a "remedy for concupiscence." Many are of the opinion that what the Church meant by "remedy" was outlet. The true definition is that "remedy" means "a way to heal." Thus, if the act is that of a sincere gift of self, the marital act is a way of actually healing for concupiscence. Although there will still be pushing toward selfishness, the Sacrament actually gives us grace to overcome.

This definition is very important, as St. Augustine has definitively said that the marital act is at least a venial sin. This statement is faulty, yet understandable, given his past involving a debaucherous lifestyle, and that he could not see that there is another way to perceive this act.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Annie,

Provide Magisterial sources that say sacramental marriage is not perfect without sex.

If we take you at your word, then Mary and Joseph's marriage was imperfect. First I've heard of it.

Ben said...

Annie,

The intent isn't to pile on, but you are being evasive in your responses.

I repeat: you have yet to defend your position that if there is no consummation there is no marriage.

Steve walked your logic and you now have to defend the position that Mary and Joseph were in an imperfect marital union, which is also news to me.

"Healing", "making it right", bottom line: one of the purposes of marriage is a remedy for concupiscence. It appears, on the face, that you agree with Steve on this point. No?

Kevin said...

"However, the marriage is not perfected without consummation."

Yeah, what Steve said, but I'm going to be diplomatic. Would you so kindly point out some evidence for such a statement?

In all honesty, this is why people get skeptical about a lot of what West teaches about TOB. We claim he way over-emphasizes sex, his defenders deny it, then claim things like what you just said.

The marriage is not perfected unless people remain open to the sacramental vow and sanctifying grace renewing the marriage vow comes with. The marriage vow is renewed in about a billion different ways. Think of the old couple in their 80's. Chances are they are not engaging in the marital embrace often if ever, yet many of their marriages are the epitome of holiness.

Under your interpretation, something is lacking in that marriage. Defies common sense.

dcs said...

Steve Kellmeyer writes:
Now, in addition, you should be aware that the Catholic Church has produced TWO universal catechisms - one in the 1500's after the Council of Trent, another in the 1990's after Vatican II. Both are infallible expressions of the ordinary Magisterium.

Catechisms are authoritative, but not infallible. As then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his introduction to the modern Catechism, "the Catechism presents the teaching of the Church without elevating the doctrinal status of those teachings beyond what they otherwise have." So whether a teaching that appears in the Catechism is infallible depends on whether it was infallible to begin with.

Annie writes:
St. Augustine has definitively said that the marital act is at least a venial sin.

He did not. He says that "excesses of cohabitation [which] arise ... from an overbearing lust of pleasure" is a venial sin. But he says that the marriage act is "lawful and honorable" and is not a sin.

http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/source/aug-marr.html

Now I would say that St. Augustine has a rather restrictive view here but he does NOT say that the marriage act is "at least a venial sin." The very idea is illogical. There is no right to sin.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Actually, DCS, the second catechis was promulgated with an apostolic constitution, which is the highest expression of the ordinary infallible Magisterium.

So, yes, actually these two catechisms ARE infallible.

Ratzinger's comment is not a zinger against the infallibility of the doctrines presented, it's a reminder that their presence in the CCC does not render a doctrine into a dogma.

Everything the Church teaches is true (and therefore infallible, since the truth doesn't change), but not everything is taught with the same authority.

It's the difference between my mother calling me into the house as a boy by saying "Steve, could you come here a minute?" vs. "Steven Kellmeyer, you get in here RIGHT NOW."

The first is a doctrinal statement, the second a dogmatic statement. Both statements are true (both express the same idea, that I should relocate myself geographically), but the two statements definitely invoke different levels of authority.

Everything the CCC teaches is true, it is promulgated with the highest instrument and it is all infallible ordinary Magisterium. But not all of it has been formally dogmatized, and the CCC is not itself a dogmatizing instrument.

dcs said...

Steve,

If the Catechism is infallible, then why was the first edition revised when -- for example -- its definition of a lie (2483) was deemed to be incorrect? And this first version is the one promulgated by John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum.

Here is more of Cardinal Ratzinger's introduction:

"Consequently, one must look to other documents and to the tradition of the Church to establish the doctrinal weight of any particular point in the Catechism. Since the Catechism treats many things that not only have not been taught infallibly but which also have been proposed in the most tentative of fashions (esp. in the area of social teaching), there remains due liberty for theologians (and others) when they encounter something that has been proposed only tentatively. [emphasis mine]"

So again, the Catechism is not infallible in and of itself. It is authoritative but not infallible.

Hope this helps.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

The document is infallible, the doctrines contained within it are infallible, but not all the doctrines are made dogmas thereby.

Doctrines can be worded in confusing ways, which require them to be re-worded so as to be more clear.

This is what happened with the article numbers you refer to. The doctrines contained within those article numbers were true and infallibly promulgated doctrines (NOT dogmas), but they were not worded clearly and people were confused.

As a result, the articles were re-worded so as to more clearly express the infallible doctrines.

This can even happen with dogmas, by the way. You'll notice that the first several ecumenical councils all dealt with the humanity and divinity of Christ.

Every doctrine expressed by those councils was dogma, but even the dogmatic statements were refined and more clearly worded over the course of time as the common understanding of various words and phrases changed.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

DCS,

You CANNOT say simultaneously say (a) the CCC expresses the truth
AND
(b) the CCC is not infallible.

Those statements are contradictory.
If they were both true, we would have to conclude that the truth is not infallible, which is nonsense.

If we say parts of the CCC are not infallible, BY THAT STATEMENT, we are saying that parts of the CCC are not true.

So, if you want to say the CCC is not infallible, I want you to point out which teaching it is that you don't think is infallibly true.

dcs said...

It isn't enough that Card. Ratzinger wrote that the CCC isn't infallible? I mean, what more evidence do you need?

As far as what is not infallible in the CCC, I would say that the discussion of the death penalty in the CCC is not infallible as it incorporates Pope John Paul II's prudential judgments about when the death penalty might be used. Those prudential judgments are not infallible and their inclusion in the CCC, as then-Card. Ratzinger pointed out, does not raise the level of their authority at all.

dcs said...

Doctrines can be worded in confusing ways, which require them to be re-worded so as to be more clear.

The original definition of "lie" in the first edition of the Catechism was simply wrong. It was not "worded in confusing ways." It implied that the speaking of a falsehood to one who doesn't have the right to the truth is not a lie. That is wrong, plain and simple. And that is why the rider about those who have "a right to know the truth" was dropped from the revised edition.

dcs said...

As an aside, not everything taught by Ecumenical Councils is infallible either. For example, the Council of Florence taught that:

(1) the matter of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction is olive oil (Pope Paul VI contradicted this when he allowed for other vegetable oils);

(2) the form of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is the handing over of the instruments (Pope Pius XII contradicted this when he stated that the form is the words of the rite);

(3) that the three major Orders are subdeacon, deacon, and priest.

Obviously none of these teachings was infallible since all of them have been contradicted by subsequent teaching. These teachings were authoritative and Catholics were bound to hold them, but it does not follow that they are infallible. Still, they were "true" in the sense that they were not definitions of doctrine and the Church had not defined these teachings yet.

Similarly, the current Catechism contains teachings that are not defined, but only tentatively proposed as Card. Ratzinger stated. Those teachings do not become defined simply because they are included in the Catechism. It does not follow, of course, that those teachings can be ignored. They can, however, continue to be debated by theologians and even laymen.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

DCS,

The CCC is an infallible instrument of the ordinary infallible Magisterium, but it does NOT change the doctrinal value of the statements contained within.

So, doctrines are not raised to dogmas just because they are in the CCC, and - by extension - opinions are not raised to doctrines, just as Cardinal Ratzinger said.

However, that doesn't mean anything in the CCC is false, nor does it mean that the CCC is not an infallible teaching instrument of the Ordinary Magisterium. It is promulgated through an Apostolic Constitution. That's the highest teaching instrument of the OM.

The prudential criteria on the death penalty are TRUE criteria. When to apply them is a prudential judgement, but the criteria are true and valuable.

The Church has long taught that not everyone has a right to every fact - indeed, the sin of detraction is the sin of telling the full truth when it is not necessary to do so. It is the case that not everyone has the right to the full truth - that's still in the CCC, it's just listed under "detraction" now and described differently, but the teaching is still in there.

So, the pulling of the phrase from the CCC that you refer to was not a change in Church teaching, nor was it an error nor an admission of error. It was just a decision on the part of the Church that this was not going to be phrased this way in this article because another article covered it. That's all.

Finally, the conciliar decree concerning the validity of olive oil is NOT an error. Olive oil is valid. The decree was simply silent on the validity of other oils. That silence was spoken to by a later papal decree.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

As for the other decrees of the Council of Florence, I'd have to look at them and see their specific wording.

Florence started as a rump council in Basel that was NOT papally called or approved, was moved to Florence, then to Ferrara, and not everything decreed at the various locations was approved by the Pope.

So, there are twin problems here: what was the wording of the actual decrees and which decrees were confirmed?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

The "Explanation of the Seven Sacraments" is the second part of the treatise, "De fidei articulis et septem sacramentis," which St. Thomas wrote at the request of the Archbishop of Palermo in 1261-62. It is noteworthy that the famed "Decretum pro Armenis" (Instruction for the Armenians), issued by the authority of the Council of Florence, is taken almost verbatim from the second part of this "Opusculum" (i.e., the "Explanation of the Seven Sacraments"). It is not a definition of the Council, but a practical instruction, as Denzinger points out. (See here.

As for the rest of it, you don't appear to understand the difference between an instrument and its content or infallibility and truth.

dcs said...

I left a big comment which appears to have been lost in the aether. No matter, it was probably too long anyway. Each of the things I cited from the Council of Florence are taught in the Decretum pro Armenis. I made a mistake about the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the handing over of the instruments; Florence teaches that this is the matter of the Sacrament, not the form, while Pius XII teaches that the matter is the laying on of hands and that the handing over of the instruments is not necessary for validity. So Pius XII contradicts the Council of Florence here; so clearly the Council of Florence is not infallible in everything it taught.

I am aware that it is not a definition made by the Council. I never claimed that the Council of Florence defined the things that I listed. I claimed that the Council of Florence taught them.

The Church has long taught that not everyone has a right to every fact - indeed, the sin of detraction is the sin of telling the full truth when it is not necessary to do so. It is the case that not everyone has the right to the full truth - that's still in the CCC, it's just listed under "detraction" now and described differently, but the teaching is still in there.

You are obfuscating (out of ignorance, I trust, and not malice). The point isn't that everyone has a right to the truth; the point is that the first edition of the Catechism implied that one can speak falsehoods to those who have no right to the truth rather than equivocating or remaining silent. This is wrong. One can't knowingly say something that is false at all (of course one should make exceptions for jokes and such that won't be taken seriously by an audience ... but I digress). So the first edition of the Catechism was in error with respect to its definition of a lie.

The prudential criteria on the death penalty are TRUE criteria.

They are prudential criteria that have no precedent in the Catholic tradition. Again, whether or not they are true is not the point; they are not infallibly taught and theologians (and laymen) can freely debate them. If they were infallible then they would not be matter for debate.

As for the rest of it, you don't appear to understand the difference between an instrument and its content or infallibility and truth.

Mr. Kellmeyer, you stated that the Catechism is an "infallible expression of the Ordinary Magisterium." Does that mean that the Catechism (as a whole) is infallible or not? As far as the difference between infallibility and truth is concerned, it is you who have claimed that if the CCC is not infallible in some of its parts then it is not true. It is you, not I, who does not appear to understand the difference between infallibility and truth.

dcs said...

I left a big comment which appears to have been lost in the aether. No matter, it was probably too long anyway. Each of the things I cited from the Council of Florence are taught in the Decretum pro Armenis. I made a mistake about the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the handing over of the instruments; Florence teaches that this is the matter of the Sacrament, not the form, while Pius XII teaches that the matter is the laying on of hands and that the handing over of the instruments is not necessary for validity. So Pius XII contradicts the Council of Florence here; so clearly the Council of Florence is not infallible in everything it taught.

I am aware that it is not a definition made by the Council. I never claimed that the Council of Florence defined the things that I listed. I claimed that the Council of Florence taught them.

The Church has long taught that not everyone has a right to every fact - indeed, the sin of detraction is the sin of telling the full truth when it is not necessary to do so. It is the case that not everyone has the right to the full truth - that's still in the CCC, it's just listed under "detraction" now and described differently, but the teaching is still in there.

You are obfuscating (out of ignorance, I trust, and not malice). The point isn't that everyone has a right to the truth; the point is that the first edition of the Catechism implied that one can speak falsehoods to those who have no right to the truth rather than equivocating or remaining silent. This is wrong. One can't knowingly say something that is false at all (of course one should make exceptions for jokes and such that won't be taken seriously by an audience ... but I digress). So the first edition of the Catechism was in error with respect to its definition of a lie.

dcs said...

The prudential criteria on the death penalty are TRUE criteria.

They are prudential criteria that have no precedent in the Catholic tradition. Again, whether or not they are true is not the point; they are not infallibly taught and theologians (and laymen) can freely debate them. If they were infallible then they would not be matter for debate.

As for the rest of it, you don't appear to understand the difference between an instrument and its content or infallibility and truth.

Mr. Kellmeyer, you stated that the Catechism is an "infallible expression of the Ordinary Magisterium." Does that mean that the Catechism (as a whole) is infallible or not? As far as the difference between infallibility and truth is concerned, it is you who have claimed that if the CCC is not infallible in some of its parts then it is not true. It is you, not I, who does not appear to understand the difference between infallibility and truth.

dcs said...

I apologize for the duplicate post! I thought the same thing was happening with this post as happened with my previous one, so I broke it in two to avoid the "too long" error from Blogger.

I must admit that I think the "is the Catechism infallible?" debate to be something of a digression. Since it is authoritative, whether or not it is infallible is a bit beside the point. The fact that it is a "sure norm" means that one can follow it without falling into heresy; and it must be taken as a final answer in any debate unless there is a teaching that enjoys a higher authority.

I'm more interested in the idea that St. Augustine "definitively" taught that the marriage act is "at least a venial sin." Where do people learn such things? Is this part of the idea that the Church was prudish, Manichaean, and Jansenistic until TOB came along and rescued us from all of that?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

DCS,

I don't know why people attack Augustine like this either. I certainly haven't read everything he's written (that takes a LONG time), but the pieces I've read have never been as bad as his critics make out.

Apparently, people just don't like Church teaching, so they attack Augustine as a misogynistic "product of his times" in order to undermine the teaching.

Ben said...

Fascinating give-and-take about the Catechism; made me do some much needed research.