3.3 Marriage and the Family

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  • Created by: emmacram
  • Created on: 20-03-16 16:17

Changing Attitudes to Marriage, Divorce, etc.

  • How they changed - Most people have sex before marriage.
  • Many couples live together (cohabit) rather than marry.
  • The average age for marrying has increased.
  • Most marriages do not take place in church.
  • Divorce is accepted as a normal part of life.
  • There is much more divorce so more single-parented and re-constituted families.
  • There are more extended families as more mothers are in paid employment and grandparents look after their grandchildren.
  • There are many more single-parented families as more couples divorce.
  • More children are being brought up by cohabiting parents.
  • Society treates homosexual sex the same way as heterosexual sex.
  • Homosexual couples can have a civil partnership, giving them the same rights as a marriage. 
  • Reasons for the changes - Cohabitation and marriage - Effective contraception made it safer to have sex before marriage.
  • Fewer people went to church and so were not encouraged to keep sex for after marriage.
  • The media and celebrities made cohabitation look respectable and so it became more popular. 
  • The media show sexual relationships outside marriage as the norm so it is seen as acceptable.
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Reasons for the Changes

  • Divorce - New laws made divorce much cheaper and easier for ordinary people.
  • Increased equality for women means that women are no longer prepared to accept unequal treatment from men, and if their husbands treat them badly, they will divorce them.
  • Most married women depended on the husband's wages, but now many women are financially independant and can support themselves after a divorce.
  • There has been a great change in how long people are likely to be married. Most divorces occur after ten years of marriage which was the average marriage length 100 years ago.
  • Family life - The popularity of cohabitation means there are more families where the parents are not married.
  • The increase in divorce has led to an increase in re-marriage and so there are now many more re-constituted families.
  • More mothers are in paid employment and use retired grandparents etc to look after children.
  • The increase in divorce and acceptance of unmarried mothers means more single-parent family
  • Homosexuality - Changes in the laws have made it easier to be openly homosexual and made society more aware of homosexuality.
  • Medical research shows homosexuality is natural so people accept equal status and rights.
  • Media coverage of gay celebrities has led to a greater acceptance of all gay people.
  • The work of gay rights organisations has led to a greater acceptance of equal rights for homosexuals.
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Christian Attitudes to Sex Outside Marriage

  • God gave sex for the procreation of children who should be brought up in a Christian family, so sex should only take place within marriage.
  • The Bible says that sex outside marriage is sinful and Christians should follow Bible teachings.
  • The Catechism says that pre-marital sex is wrong and Catholics should follow Catechism.
  • All Christians are against adultery because it breaks wedding vows and Ten Commandments.
  • Adultery is condemned by Jesus and all Christians should follow the teachings of Jesus.
  • For sex before marriage - Sex is a natural result of two people being in love and there is no reason for them waiting until they are married.
  • Modern contraception means that a couple can have sex without the risk of pregnancy so unwanted children are not likely to result from sex before marriage.
  • Sex before marriage is now accepted by society and very few people think it is wrong.
  • Marriage better than cohabitation - Marriage is God's gift, God says should have sex&family.
  • The Bible teaches that sex should only take place in marriage and that marriage is necessary for the upbringing of a Christian family.
  • The Church teaches that marriage is the basis of society and that living together without marriage is wrong.
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Purpose of Marriage

  • The life-long relationship of love and faithfulness is shown in: the exchange of vows where the couple promise to be faithful to each other until death.
  • the Bible readings and homily on the nature of Christian marriage as a life-long relationship of love and faithfulness.
  • The couple having the support and comfort of each other is shown in: a preparation course before the wedding ceremony takes place which helps the couple to understand the nature of Catholic marriage and how to provide support and comfort for each other.
  • the priest asking the couple before the marriage vows if they will love and support each other.
  • The procreation of children is shown in: the priest asking the couple if they will accept children from God lovingly.
  • the readings, homily and prayers all refer to the acceptance of children as a key part of Catholic marriage.
  • The bringing up of a Christian family is shown in: the preparation course, which involves discussion about how the couple should bring up their children.
  • the priest asking the couple if they will accept children and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church.
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Christian Attitudes to Divorce

  • Catholic Church does not allow religious divorce or re-marriage because - Jesus taught that divorce is wrong and Christians should follow his teachings.
  • The couple have made a covenant with God which 'cannot be broken by any earthly power'.
  • The Catechism teaches that a marriage cannot be dissolved and so religious divorce is impossible.
  • There can be no re-marriage as there can be no religious divorce, and it would be both bigamy and adultery.
  • Most non-Catholic Churches think that divorce is wrong, but allow it if the marriage has broken down and permit divorced people to remarry - Jesus allowed divorce in Matther 19:19 for a partner's adultery.
  • If a marriage has really broken down then the effects of the couple not divorcing would be a greater evil than the evil of divorce itself.
  • If Christians repent and confess their sins they can be forgiven. This means a couple should have another chance at marriage if they're keen to make it work this time.
  • These Churches believe it is better to divorce than to live in hatred and quarrel all the time.
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Importance of Family Life for Catholics

  • One of the main purposes of Catholic marriage is to have children and bring them up in a Catholic environment so that they become good Catholics.
  • Catholicism teaches that the family was created by God as the basis of society and the only place for the upbringing of children.
  • Catholic teaching on divorce shows that the family is too important to be broken up by divorce.
  • Without the family, children would not learn the difference between right and wrong.
  • The family is the place where children learn about the faith through baptism, First Communion, etc. So the family is very important for the faith to continue and grow as it is the family that brings children into the faith.
  • Against family life being more important for religious than non-religious people - Many non-religious people see their family as being the most important thing in their lives whereas many religious people see their religion as more important than their family.
  • Most non-religious people have just as good a family life as religious people.
  • Non-religious families can respect their children more because they do not have to force them to try to be religious.
  • Religion cannot make a difference to how much parents love their children and children love their parents.
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Catholic Parishes Help With Upbringing of Children

  • Most parishes have a local Catholic primary and secondary school connected to them. This Catholic education helps parents because it teaches children right from wrong and helps parents to fulfil their marriage and baptism promises to bring their children up as Catholics.
  • Parishes run classes to prepare children for First Confession, Communion and Confirmation, helping parents with the Catholic upbringing of their children.
  • Some parishes run children's liturgies which help parents to bring their children up as good Catholics and give parents and their children the spiritual strength of the Mass.
  • Some parishes also run youth clubs and youth activities so that children are kept off the streets and away from bad influences.
  • Against parishes not doing enough to help with the upbringing of children - not all parishes have children's liturgies.
  • not all parishes run youth activities.
  • some parishes make children and young people feel unwanted because they are thought to disturb the seriousness of worship.
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Catholic Parishes Help to Keep Families Together

  • During Mass the priest may remind parents of their marriage vows and other reasons not to divorce.
  • The parish priest has a duty to give help and advice to couples having family problems.
  • The Church has provided resources for parishes to be more family friendly so that family life can be strengthened by families celebrating Mass together.
  • The Church has produced a series of leaflets to help parishes understand and meet the needs of families facing challenges such as divorce and re-marriage, bereavement, disability and gay or lesbian family members.
  • Many parishes also provide financial support for families in need and have links to national Catholic charities such as Catholic Marriage Care.
  • Against - Statistics show that Catholic families are just as likely to break up as other families.
  • Not all parishes provide the support outlined above.
  • Some parishes would not provide support for families who had lapsed from the faith or who were having problems over issues such as needing infertility treatments which are banned by the Church.
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Christian Attitudes to Homosexuality

  • Catholic attitude is that being a homosexual is not a sin but that homosexual sexual activity is a sin - The Bible condemns homosexual sexual activity.
  • It is the tradition of the Church that any sexual activity should be able to create children.
  • It is the teaching of the Magisterium which Catholics should believe.
  • The Church teaches that people cannot help their sexual orientation but can control sexual activity. // Discriminating against people is similar to racism, which is sinful.
  • Evangelical Protestants believe that homosexuality is a sin - The BIble says that homosexuality is a sin and they believe that the Bible is the direct word of God.
  • They believe that the salvation of Christ can remove all sins, including homosexuality.
  • All the Churches have taught that homosexuality is wrong, even though some say it is not.
  • Liberal Protestants welcome homosexuals into the Church and accept homosexual relationships - They believe that the Bible texts condemning homosexuality show beliefs at that time rather than being the word of God.
  • They feel the major Christian belief is love and acceptance so homosexuality must be accepted
  • If homosexual Christians feel the Holy Spirit, it must be true.
  • Christians should be open and honest so gay Christians shouldn't be made to tell lies.
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Methods of Contraception

  • Natural methods - The most used natural method is known as natural family planning. It reduces the chance of becoming pregnant by planning sex around the times in the month when a women is at her most infertile. It works best if taught by an experienced NFP teacher.
  • Another method measures hormone levels in the urine. If used properly, these methods can be 94 per cent effective.
  • To be used properly, natural methods require a couple to be in a loving, stable relationship. They do not involve any drugs or any risk of an early abortion. Although they do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, this should not affec a married Catholic couple who are faithful.
  • Artifical methods - there are several types of artificial contraception: condoms prevent the sperm from reaching the egg; the pill stops a woman from producing eggs; the coil and the morning-after pill bring about an early abortion if the egg fertilises.
  • Artificial methods can be used in any form of sexual relatoonship., however casual. Condoms are also effective in preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
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Christian Attitudes to Contraception

  • Catholic Church says couples should limit family size through using NFP rather than artificial methods of contraception because - Pope Pius XI condemned all forms of artificial contraception.
  • Pope Pius XII declared that Catholics could use natural methods of contraception.
  • Pope Paul VI stated that the only allowable forms of contraception are natural methods and this teaching has been confirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • The Church teaches that all sex should be unitive (bringing the couple together) and creative (bringing new life).
  • Some artificial contraceptives bring about a very early abortion.
  • Almost all non-Catholic Christians believe all forms of contraception are permissible because - Christianity is about love and justice and contraception improves women's health and raises the standard of living.
  • God created sex for enjoyment and to strengthen marriage so there does not have to be the possibility of creation of children.
  • There is nothing in the Bible that forbids the use of contraception.
  • They believe that using condoms is the best way to combat HIV/ AIDS.
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Call the Midwife

  • Doctor Turner - miracle drug that will prevent illegitimate babies being born, could be prescribes to anyone, 100% effective.
  • Mr Herewood (vicar) - self-control as best form of contraception, hypocrite, St Paul - constant bond between man and wife.
  • Sister Julienne - promotes recreational intercourse, worried it would have moral implications (Church of England).
  • Nurse Mark (widwife) - agreed with the pill because times have changed.
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