Catholic Weddings

S/O Discussion below...

I think we can have a decent discussion/friendly debate about how this can be interpreted.
The following are passages from the Book of Genesis. I feel they explain pretty plainly that God created Man and created Woman to be Man's partner and their job is to be "one flesh" with each other, and to be "fruitful and multiply". So, let's discuss how my interpretation might be incorrect and for those that believe God intended to create us for both heterosexual and homosexual relations - where do you see this based on Scripture? Why wouldn't He have created a single human being that could reproduce itself without needing another human being?

**** Please be careful, thoughtful and polite. There is no point in harsh words and nasty comments. ****


[2:7] then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

[2:15] The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

[2:18] Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner."

[2:19] So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
[2:20] The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.
[2:21] So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
[2:22] And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
[2:23] Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken."
[2:24] Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.




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Re: S/O Discussion below...

  • If I were to play Devil's Advocate, I'd say that while those verses are in support of the idea of heterosexual relations, that does not make them necessarily against homosexual relations. 

    Also, Genesis is written in a very stylistic way, so it cannot be taken 100% literally.  For instance, it suggests that God created animals to be Adam's partners, and then He realized the animals weren't realy suitable, and so then He created woman.  Well, we all know that as much as a great story as that is, God doesn't create via trial and error; He knew all along He would create woman, and He never thought animals would fill that void.  So because Genesis is written in such a way, people often will often say "well, it's not literal, it's just a cute story."  Not that I'm saying that -- I believe there are elements that must be taken literally.  And I believe that because of the Church's interpretation.  But if I do not believe the Church has the authority to infallibly teach, then "the Church saying so" in this particular instance won't convince me. 

    Basically, I think that Agape is VERY right in saying that you can't pick and choose, because all the teachings are so integrally connected.  If you don't believe in Church authority, then you won' t believe tons of stuff that follows.  If you don't believe in sex as being for marriage, and marriage as being essentially procreative, then certainly you won't see a problem with homosexual relations.

    I'm super interested to see what others say!

     

  • I agree with you Riss, obviously, but I would also add that those verses also need to be placed in their context of the ENTIRE Bible--Song of Songs and Hosea both analogize God and Israel as bridegroom/bride and foreshadow the fuller revelation of this mystery between Christ & the Church, Jesus' citing of Genesis in the Gospels (see Matthew chapter 19 for example)  when talking about divorce "Have you not read that in the beginning God created them male and female?" In addition to Ephesians 5 (marriage is a great mystery referring to Christ and the Church) the Church as Bride of Christ, and essentially the entire book of Revelation, especially the last few chapters--agape is right, that what the Church AND the Bible both teach about what marriage is are truly foundational to the Faith. It's the thread that runs through the entire story.

    But as Resa implied above, a deeper issue to trying to parse all these verses is that of private interpretation (condemned in 1 Peter, ironically enough.) We don't believe that an individual has the authority to interpret Scripture for themselves, but that it must be read in the context of Sacred Tradition--that is, the teaching of the Church. Private interpretation has led to over 30,000 denominations with wildly differing views on just about every  issue.
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  • Riss91Riss91 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited September 2012
    That makes sense...

    But I'd counter by saying

    "If God was wanting us to engage in homosexual acts, why wouldn't He be more explicit about it? He is pretty explicit about heterosexual acts and their purpose. Why not include something about homosexual acts and their purpose?"
  • But then couldn't you argue that God doesn't say for us to use medicine for curing illness, either, so doesn't that mean we should all just let infections and illness go and die? (playing devil's advocate here) And on that same vein, if medicine is ok for correcting illness, then why isn't alright to use in-vitro fertilization?

    the same sideways logic can be applied to homosexuality. Couldn't we also say that there are numerous examples in the bible of saying to love one another, and it's not limited to "brotherly love"? Jesus loved John more than all the others, but there's nothing to say in what way he loved him (pretty screwed up argument I've actually heard).

    I think it's so difficult because there are parts of the bible that are purely illustrative, and parts that are literal. When do you know the difference? And how do you make a convincing argument to someone who has zero belief in it?
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  • Hmmm... let me think about that some more... my initial response is that this is pretty specific "God created man and woman for each other, to be partners and to be fruitful and multiply", so you can't erase that partnership or erase the purpose of the partnership... but let me think more about that...

    What is mentioned about curing illness? Obviously, illness is not created by God, so it isn't something He set out for us to encounter. We brought it upon ourselves, through sin. Though I'm not sure what is mentioned specifically about curing illness. Anyone have any ideas?
  • I think the argument about in-vitro being ok b/c it's (sort of) helping an unhealthy body part to function *sort of* is going somewhere, BUT this is where you can't separate things; you have to take the whole Bible and the Church's teachings as a whole b/c otherwise they don't make sense. There's nowhere near space to explain it here, and even if there was I'm sure I couldn't do it justice, but basically you can't separate sex from babies. That's why it's wrong to have babies without sex (in vitro) and sex without babies (contraception.) 
    So that seems like a good argument, but just b/c in-vitro seems "helpful," you have to remember the end does NOT justify the means! (But many people do not believe that, and if they don't, then you have to take the argument back even further.)
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  • The thing is, God made it clear that man and woman were created for a partnership of procreation.  That same passage could be used to say that sterile couples shouldn't marry. 

     

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_so-discussion-below?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:2342e20a-20cc-4afe-9e48-e3461d850632Post:4a0076cc-0fd5-4d9a-890d-8cd225e3db4e">Re: S/O Discussion below...</a>:
    [QUOTE]The thing is, God made it clear that man and woman were created for a partnership of procreation.  That same passage could be used to say that sterile couples shouldn't marry. 
    Posted by Resa77[/QUOTE]

    Good point. I think a counterpoint to that is a naturally "sterile" couple is still able to follow the purpose, even if they fail. A fertile couple could follow the purpose set out for them and never get pregnant, even if they are trying. The odds are low that they would never get pregnant, but the two couples could still have the same intent and same plan.

    Also - being sterile isn't completely in our hands, He has the final say. This is why abstaining from sex, and only having sex during "infertile" periods is still following God's plan...
  • lalaith50lalaith50 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited September 2012
    Up until relatively extremely recently (in the course of human history) how would anyone have known prior to getting married that they were "sterile?" 

    Even in the Old Testament, (I think it's the story of Rebekah? Rachel?) Where she was like 100 years old and laughed b/c she heard the visitor say she would get pregnant... and she did. It may have *seemed* biologically impossible based on her age (and assumed "sterility") for her to get pregnant... but God still worked a miracle and she got pregnant through normal human relations. 

    Although God can do anything, I believe it would one of those "can God make a rock so big he can't lift it" kind of impossibilities for two gay men who have sex with each other to get pregnant. (Or any man for that matter. Or even two lesbian women who don't resort to any fertility treatments or obviously put sperm in their body in any other way.)

    Even with someone for whom modern medical science has deemed "sterile," it is not impossible for them to get pregnant, whether through a miracle from God (as I'm sure has happened,) or simply a medical/scientific/biological fluke.
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  • MedStudent13MedStudent13 member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited September 2012
    Whenever I'm trying to explain the Church's teachings to a non-Catholic, or non-Christian for that matter, I ask them this simple question: "What do you think empirically, secularly, is the reason for sexual relations between human beings?" The answer is always two-fold, for procreation and recreation/bonding. It's important to realize that this is not a 'Catholic" idea, it's reality. I then procede to explain to them that this is how the Catholics view sex, and the core of our teachings is that to divorce the two elements of sex is immoral and deprives the two people involved of fully experiencing all that sex is supposed to be. This not only means that to divorce the sex act from procreation is wrong in the case of artificial birth control, but in the cases of other sex acts that can never be procreative in nature, such as homosexual encounters. 
    I think that this is the simplest, most logical way of arguing the Church's stance on sexual ethics, that involves no quotations or outside sources
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    [QUOTE]Whenever I'm trying to explain the Church's teachings to a non-Catholic, or non-Christian for that matter, I ask them this simple question: "What do you think empirically, secularly, is the reason for sexual relations between human beings?" The answer is always two-fold, for procreation and recreation/bonding. It's important to realize that this is not a 'Catholic" idea, it's reality. I then procede to explain to them that this is how the Catholics view sex, and the core of our teachings is that to divorce the two elements of sex is immoral and deprives the two people involved of fully experiencing all that sex is supposed to be. This not only means that to divorce the sex act from procreation is wrong in the case of artificial birth control, but in the cases of other sex acts that can never be procreative in nature, such as homosexual encounters.  I think that this is the simplest, most logical way of arguing the Church's stance on sexual ethics, that involves no quotations or outside sources
    Posted by MedStudent13[/QUOTE]

    Agreed....I was going to respond with something similar to a few of the points above, re: how do you explain things to people who either don't accept the Bible at all or feel free to interpret it to say whatever they want it to. Don't forget that we also have natural law. Like the above--we can discern a thing's purpose by observing it and how it works. For example, eating. EVERYBODY knows the purpose of eating is (primarily) for nutrition though it also enhances fellowship, provides sensory pleasure, etc. Nobody in the secular world has any problem with the notion that eating ONLY for pleasure is disordered, or eating far beyond what's necessary and then purging is disordered. In fact, we call these behaviors "eating disorders." They take a healthy and proper action and use it to an improper end--in a disordered way. That is to say, not only "disordered" in the sense of an illness or disease, but in the sense of a lack of ordered-toward-ness--that is, not toward the purpose for which it is meant.

    Two men or two women cannot engage in the sexual (marital) act at all. And I think it's also important to point out that the Church is completely consistent here--the alternative acts in question are just as immoral for a man and a woman as for two men because they frustrate the purpose of sex. It has nothing to do with an unfair bias towards homosexual persons; those acts are immoral for everybody.

    We have no problem seeing this when it comes to food/exercise/health but sex is a whole other story.
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  • But it's the logical result of the "contraceptive mentality." (I think this has been pointed out on here recently, sorry to be repetitive! I just think this is the key that is going to stop fruitful discussion at this point in any argument about this topic.) 
    Most people in the secular world have NO problem saying that "yes, sex might have some purpose of procreation, but unlike the eating-only-for-pleasure analogy, sex is fine ONLY for pleasure."
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  • edited September 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_so-discussion-below?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural Wedding BoardsForum:615Discussion:2342e20a-20cc-4afe-9e48-e3461d850632Post:b8eabbba-8139-4d05-a850-3539a366fbe1">Re: S/O Discussion below...</a>:
    [QUOTE]But it's the logical result of the "contraceptive mentality." (I think this has been pointed out on here recently, sorry to be repetitive! I just think this is the key that is going to stop fruitful discussion at this point in any argument about this topic.)  Most people in the secular world have NO problem saying that "yes, sex might have some purpose of procreation, but unlike the eating-only-for-pleasure analogy, sex is fine ONLY for pleasure."
    Posted by lalaith50[/QUOTE]

    Exactly. Playing Devil's Advocate again, let's consider a scenario.

    Man and woman meet. Both are fertile. They marry. Wife becomes ill and measures to treat her makes her infertile. Do they then abstain forever because they can no longer procreate? Or are they still allowed the bonding aspect of the act? A lot of people would say it'd be heartless to deny them physical closeness. And if their intimacy is allowed afterward, then why aren't homosexuals allowed that same intimacy?

    People don't get married solely for their joint procreative possibilities. They marry for love.
    Because of that, you cannot separate love from the act of sex- procreative or not. Then why can't a chaste man marry another chaste man out of love, and then enjoy the bonding of the sexual act? If the answer is strictly because it's not procreative, then that seriously undermines MANY marriages. Afterall, most sex acts between married couples - even those usiing NFP- do not result in a child. Doesn't that then make them just as sinful as the gay couple? Or at least makes the infertile couple just as sinful?

    Love is the recurrent theme, then. Love brings couple together, brings them to marry, and brings them to the sex act that might miraculously create new life. Love is a basic human right. If marriage becomes only for the non-sinful ability to have sex and procreate, then where is the required testing of all couples to ensure fertility prior to marriage? Where is the law that says an infertile person can't marry? there isn't one, because it would be cruel. so then to deny marriage to two men on the basis of lack of procreative ability is also cruel.
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    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: S/O Discussion below... : Exactly. Playing Devil's Advocate again, let's consider a scenario. Man and woman meet. Both are fertile. They marry. Wife becomes ill and measures to treat her makes her infertile. Do they then abstain forever because they can no longer procreate? Or are they still allowed the bonding aspect of the act? A lot of people would say it'd be heartless to deny them physical closeness. And if their intimacy is allowed afterward, then why aren't homosexuals allowed that same intimacy? People don't get married solely for their joint procreative possibilities. They marry for love. Because of that, you cannot separate love from the act of sex- procreative or not. Then why can't a chaste man marry another chaste man out of love, and then enjoy the bonding of the sexual act? If the answer is strictly because it's not procreative, then that seriously undermines MANY marriages. Afterall, most sex acts between married couples - even those usiing NFP- do not result in a child. Doesn't that then make them just as sinful as the gay couple? Or at least makes the infertile couple just as sinful? Love is the recurrent theme, then. Love brings couple together, brings them to marry, and brings them to the sex act that might miraculously create new life. Love is a basic human right. If marriage becomes only for the non-sinful ability to have sex and procreate, then where is the required testing of all couples to ensure fertility prior to marriage? Where is the law that says an infertile person can't marry? there isn't one, because it would be cruel. so then to deny marriage to two men on the basis of lack of procreative ability is also cruel.
    Posted by lv2011[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>This is analyzing the wrong thing.</div><div>
    </div><div>2 men and 2 women cannot, by definition, by biology, actually engage in a sexual act. THey can engage in mutual masterbation in some form, but not the actual sexual act.</div><div>
    </div><div>A man cannot be married if he is permanently impotent. In order to have a marriage, the 2 people must be capable of THE sexual act.</div><div>
    </div><div>This is about the actual sexual act taking place, and not desecrating the act itself. Not about the actual outcome of children. If the act is not desecrated, then it IS fruitful, even if only spiritually. </div><div>
    </div><div>

    </div>
  • lalaith50lalaith50 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited September 2012
    [QUOTE]People don't get married solely for their joint procreative possibilities. They marry for love
    Posted by lv2011[/QUOTE]
    Is this a good thing? Is our current society (and family life- think of all the divorced families,) now more or less stable *because* we have made marriage something based on love, and NOT <em>mainly</em> to bring about children. (Think about all the societies in the course of human history; most have functioned with arranged marriages of some sort.)<div>
    <div>The whole problem IS that we are redefining marriage. But once we've gone down the slippery slope of "marriage is <em>mainly</em> about love, and it's fine for it to <em>exclusively</em> be about love," then it's hard to argue. There's a TON of sociology to be studied/analyzed here, and of course it's a lot of "which came first the chicken or the egg..." But even if you say people were unhappy and just didn't get divorced years ago, well, are children better off now with "happy" but divorced parents? (ETA: I'm not saying we need to go back to arranged marriages! I'm saying maybe our society - both individuals and society as a whole - should look at more than just "love" in determining marriage.)</div><div>
    </div><div>If marriage IS just about love, then sure, let anybody or their dog or sister get married. But I (and the Catholic Church) certainly don't believe it's JUST about love. It's detrimental to society to deliberately remove the <em>expectation</em> for children to come from a marriage. But we went down that road long ago when people "sterilized" the sex act with contraception, and got rid of the understanding that with every act a child <em>could</em> result... </div></div><div>
    </div><div>And like Agape said, impotence (or doing things that are not actual PIV sexual intercourse) and sterility are two different things. Maybe I'm not saying this right, but what makes the marriage act "legitimate" is not the physical possibility of getting pregnant, but the openness to it. That's why the Catholic Church allows 2 very old people to get married.</div>
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  • Like I said, I was playing devil's advocate.
     
    I've heard those same arguments many times, and I wasn't sure how to properly word a response. You did so quite well. With everything, there is a line to be drawn. Even if we can't convince others of the Catholic way, then hopefully we can still explain things in a way that encourages polite disagreement based on a complete knowledge of how each side thinks and believes. It's a way of bridging the gap and the hostility through polite discussion- like this thread has intended. Through continued efforts on our parts, perhaps we can better hone that argument and be more effective to more people- a sort of quiet evangelism.
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  • lv, oh I knew you were playing devil's advocate, but you were really good at it, I had to remind myself of that a few times as I was writing my response, lol!
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  • Ha! You did pretty well, too!
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  • Good points all around!  I definitely feel like I've learned a lot from this thread :)  

     

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_so-discussion-below?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:2342e20a-20cc-4afe-9e48-e3461d850632Post:70f024ee-abf9-4f92-a832-8035ace5fd77">Re: S/O Discussion below...</a>:
    [QUOTE]  And like Agape said, impotence (or doing things that are not actual PIV sexual intercourse) and sterility are two different things. Maybe I'm not saying this right, but what makes the marriage act "legitimate" is not the physical possibility of getting pregnant, but the openness to it. That's why the Catholic Church allows 2 very old people to get married.
    Posted by lalaith50[/QUOTE]

    YES! But physical possibility does come into play.... which is why homosexual acts cannot be the same as the "marital" act... and why completely "impotent" people aren't able to be married. However, there is a huge large asterisk on that as the definition of what is considered impotent is pretty restrictive.
  • Hmmm...so does that mean if a man was paralyzed and it made him impotent....he can't get married in a catholic church....I guess I missed this in the readings I read.
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    [QUOTE]Hmmm...so does that mean if a man was paralyzed and it made him impotent....he can't get married in a catholic church....I guess I missed this in the readings I read.
    Posted by pretzelgrrl[/QUOTE]

    <div>Yes because he would be unable to engage in the marital act, making the marriage invalid.</div>
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  • What about a woman who has had a hysterectomy?  She is able to have sex but cannot have a baby.
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  • edited September 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_so-discussion-below?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:2342e20a-20cc-4afe-9e48-e3461d850632Post:56f16d15-e660-4fc6-a001-de8dbe1a18a9">Re: S/O Discussion below...</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hmmm...so does that mean if a man was paralyzed and it made him impotent....he can't get married in a catholic church....I guess I missed this in the readings I read.
    Posted by pretzelgrrl[/QUOTE]

    <div>I am fairly certain this would fall under the category of natural sterility.  As has already been mentioned, a couple who is sterile can still marry because they are not putting any artificial barriers to conception up.</div><div>
    </div><div>Your second example (the hysterectomy) also falls in this category if the hysterectomy was for a life-saving medical reason (cancer, etc.).</div><div>
    </div><div>And I have to say that I get tired of hearing this argument.  It's about being OPEN to children and leaving your combined fertility in God's hands.</div><div>
    </div><div>ETA: I'm sorry.  The more I think about it, the harsher I think that sounded.  :/  I just don't know any other way to say it.</div>
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  • In Response to Re:S/O Discussion below...:[QUOTE]In Response to Re: S/O Discussion below...:Hmmm...so does that mean if a man was paralyzed and it made him impotent....he can't get married in a catholic church....I guess I missed this in the readings I read.Posted by pretzelgrrlI am fairly certain this would fall under the category of natural sterility. nbsp;As has already been mentioned, a couple who is sterile can still marry because they are not putting any artificial barriers to conception up.Your second example the hysterectomy also falls in this category if the hysterectomy was for a lifesaving medical reason cancer, etc..And I have to say that I get tired of hearing this argument. nbsp;It's about being OPEN to children and leaving your combined fertility in God's hands.ETA: I'm sorry. nbsp;The more I think about it, the harsher I think that sounded. nbsp;:/ nbsp;I just don't know any other way to say it. Posted by professorscience[/QUOTE]

    I don't think you sounded harsh and just to be clear I was not arguing...I was confused because I agree with you that these two types of people would be allowed to marry in the eyes of the church but some posters said they think they fall under not being free to marry in the catholic church
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  • As I understand it, if the man is perpetually impotent (there is absolutely no way for him to complete the marital act), he cannot be married in the Church. This falls into the hard-line no category along with being related or forced into marriage.

    If he is mostly impotent, but could complete the marital act, even once, say with medical help, he falls into the sterile, but as long as you're open to life, you're okay category.
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  • [QUOTE]Hmmm...so does that mean if a man was paralyzed and it made him impotent....he can't get married in a catholic church....I guess I missed this in the readings I read.
    Posted by pretzelgrrl[/QUOTE]
    That is why "non-consumato" is one of the possible reasons for getting an annulment. If PIV sex never occurred, whether through the choice of one or both of the people, or through pysical inability, then there was no marriage.<div>
    </div>
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/cultural-wedding-boards_catholic-weddings_so-discussion-below?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Cultural%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:615Discussion:2342e20a-20cc-4afe-9e48-e3461d850632Post:16716694-40a4-4e65-8441-a7c5f258e5c5">Re: S/O Discussion below...</a>:
    [QUOTE]That is why "non-consumato" is one of the possible reasons for getting an annulment. If PIV sex never occurred, whether through the choice of one or both of the people, or through pysical inability, then there was no marriage.
    Posted by lalaith50[/QUOTE]

    <div>This isn't quite true.</div><div>
    </div><div>A marriage is valid from the time vows are exchanged. Consumation makes a marriage indisoluable. So a marriage that isn't consumated can be disolved by the pope, but it still is a valid marriage. </div>
  • ive always interpreted "open to life" to also be inclusive of open to adoption.  this probably isnt the catholic teaching on it, but in the example of the person in the wheelchair, he can still be open to life through adoption with his spouse.
  • Here is the related Canon Law:

    Canon 1084.1 Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have sexual intercourse, whether on the part of the man or on that of the woman, whether absolute or relative, by its very nature invalidates marriage.

    Canon 1084.2 If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether the doubt be one of law or one of fact, the marriage is not to be prevented nor, while the doubt persists, is it to be declared null.

    Canon 1084.3 Without prejudice to the provisions of canon 1098, sterility neither forbids nor invalidates a marriage.

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