Marriage and Moral Theology

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The reading has taught me some valuable things. For starters, moral theologians who attempted to explain marital sexuality were either rejected, ignored, or remained unrecognized, owing to church officials' refusal to abandon Augustine's belief that sexual pleasure sprang from concupiscence, which arose from Adam and Eve's transgression. For example, Richard Middleton was ignored when he stated that sexual intercourse between a husband and a wife was an act of chastity. Dennis, a Carthusian monk, went on to write The Praiseworthy Life of the Married, in which he gave an interpretation of marital interactions that went beyond the constraints imposed by the Stoic norm and Augustine's sexual pessimism. However, his writings did not change anything, and nobody noticed his argument. Similarly, La Maistre wrote the Moral Questions, but the book and his arguments did not make any dent on scholastic theology. John Major, a Scottish theologian, was also rejected.

Secondly, all moral theologians argued against the idea that acts of intimacy were pleasing to God since the churchmen had created a problem as they sought loopholes that would allow spouses to engage in marital intercourse without committing a sin. The other point is that the authors of Catechisms suggested that life of abstinence from sexual intercourse was a better life. Their lack of knowledge of the historical context in which St. Paul wrote to all pastors asking them to adopt his way of living led to a false impression of marriage. Catechists ignored the goodness that God intended with marital intercourse in which a man and a woman would become one flesh. On the other hand, Catechism presented reasons three reasons for marrying. People should marry for companionship, procreation and have a remedy for concupiscence. According to the Catechists, there is nothing like marrying for love.

Finally, Martin Luther caused the Catholics turn from Augustine's view of marital intercourse. Thomas Sanchez, an Italian theologian, proposed a different ground in his book The Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. Sanchez argued that married people in a state of grace could be presumed to have a virtual intention of referring their deeds to God. His conclusion was beyond the Stoic rule and Augustine’s pessimism towards marital intercourse. St Francis de Sales was the first most read author after he gave his opinion regarding marriage which he presented in Introduction to Devout Life. Although he added nothing to the traditional teaching, St. Frances proposal that Lay people could live a holy or devout life contributed significantly to Catholic church developing theology concerning marriage.

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May 10, 2023

Learning Books

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Reading Theology Augustine

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