Section 3.3 - Marriage and the Family

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Key Words - Part 1

Adultery - A sexual act between a married person and someone other than their marriage partner

Civil Partnership - A legal ceremony giving a homosexual couple the same legal rights as a heterosexual married couple

Cohabitation - Living together without being married

Contraception - Intentionally preventing pregnancy from occurring

Faithfulness -Staying with your marriage partner and having sex only with them

Homosexuality - Sexual attraction to the same sex

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Key Word - Part 2

Nuclear Family - Mother, father and children living as a unit

Pre-marital Sex - Sex before marriage

Procreation - Making a new life 

Promiscuity - having sex with a number of partners without commitment

Re-constituted Family - Where two sets of step-sibling become one family after their divorced parents marry

Re-marriage - Marrying again after being divorced from a previous marriage   

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The Purposes of Marriage

  • A couple can have a life-long relationship of love and faithfulness
  • A couple can have the support and comfort of each other
  • They can have the gift of children
  • They can bring up a Christian family
  • They can receive God's grace and strength through the sacrament
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Mixed Marriages

  • Couples entering into a mixed marriage are usually allowed to marry in a Catholic church, provided they follow the principles below:
    • They have chosen to marry of their own accord, with no external pressure
    • They intend to remain together for life
    • They intend to be faithful to each other
    • They intend to have children, if the bride is of a child-bearing age
    • The Catholic must promise to do everything in their power to bring up any children of the marriage in the Catholic faith
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The Catholic Attitude to Divorce

  • The Catholic Church does not allow religious divorce or re-marriage
  • Even after a civil divorce, the couple are still married in the eyes of God, and so they cannot re-marry.
    • Jesus taught that divorce was wrong
    • The couple have made a covenant with God, which cannot be broken
    • The Catechism teaches that a marriage cannot be dissolved
    • Re-marriage after divorce is counted a bigamy and adultery in the eyes of the Catholic Church
  • If it can be proved that the marriage was not a true Christian marriage, Catholics can have an Annulment.
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Non-Catholic Christian Attitudes to Divorce

  • Most non-Catholic Churches think that divorce is wrong, but allow it if the marriage has broken down
  • For the most part, divorced people are allowed to re-marry, although they sometimes have to promise that this time their marriage will be for life
    • Jesus allowed divorce in Matthew 19:19 for a partner's adultery
    • Sometimes a broken marriage's effects is found to be a greater evil than the evil of divorce itself
    • If Christians repent and confess their sins, they can be forgiven
    • A couple should have another chance at marriage if they are keen to make it work this time
    • These Churches believe it is better to divorce than to live in hatred and quarrel all of the time
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Christian Attitudes to Promiscuity, Adultery and P

  • Christianity teaches that sex should only take place within a marriage between a man and a woman
  • Sex was given to humans by God for the purpose of having children, and children should only be produced within a marriage
  • The Bible teaches that fornication is wrong; Christians should follow the teachings of the Bible
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that pre-marital sex is wrong
  • Christians should not have sex outside of marriage because it breaks the marriage vow of being faithful to each other
  • Adultery is condemned in the Ten Commandments, which all Christians should follow
  • Adultery is condemned by Jesus in the Gospels; all Christians should follow the teachings of Jesus
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Why Family Life is Important for Catholics

  • One of the main purposes of Catholic marriage is to have children and bring them up as good Catholics
  • Catholicism teaches that the family was created by God, and is the only place for the up-bringing of children
  • Families are too important to be broken up by divorce
  • Without the family, children would not learn the difference between right and wrong, and about faith
  • The Church teaches that the Christian family is the most important family, which is why Catholic priests, nuns and monks leave their families so that they can serve God
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Catholic Parishes and Families

Up-bringing of Children

  • Catholic primary and secondary schools to teach right from wrong and help parents fulfill their promises to bring up their children as Catholics
  • Parishes run classes to prepare children for receiving the Sacraments, helping parents with their children's Catholic up-bringing
  • Some parishes run children's liturgies to give children an idea of the spiritual strength of Mass and raise them as good Catholics
  • Some parishes run youth clubs and activities to keep children off of the streets

Keeping Families Together

  • Catholic parishes offer lots of 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
  • The Church has a national programme for the support of marriage and family life
  • The Church has provided resources for parishes to be more family-friendly, as well as producing leaflets for families
  • Many parishes also provide financial support for families in need
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Christian Attitudes to Homosexuality

  • Being homosexual is not a sin, but homosexual sexual activity is
  • The Church believes that it is sinful to criticise homosexuals or attack their behaviour
  • The Bible condemns homosexual sexual activity, as sex should be for procreation only
  • The Church teaches that people cannot help their sexual orientation, but can control their sexual activity
  • Discriminating against people because of their sexual orientation is similar to racism, which is sinful
  • They believe that the salvation of Christ can remove all sins, including homosexuality
  • All the Churches have taught the homosexuality is wrong, even though some now say that it is not
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Liberal Protestant Attitude to Homosexuality

  • Many Liberal Protestants welcome homosexuals into the Church, and accept homosexual relationships
  • Some L.P.s provide blessings for civil partnerships
    • They believe that Bible texts condemning homosexuality show beliefs at the time rather than the true word of God
    • They feel that the major Christian belief in love and acceptance means that homosexuals must be accepted
    • Many believe that if homosexual Christians believe the Holy Spirit approves of their homosexuality, it must be true
    •  They believe that Christians should be open and honest, so gay Christians should not be forced to tell lies and pretend to be heterosexual
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Attitudes to Contraception

Catholic Attitude to Contraception

  • Couples should limit their family size through using natural family planning
  • Various Popes have both condemned all forms of artificial contraception, and permitted solely natural methods
  • The Church teaches that all sex should be unitive and creative
  • Some artificial contraceptives bring on early abortion, which the Church fully condemns

Non-Catholic Christian Attitudes to Contraception

  • Almost all non-Catholic Christians believe that all forms of contraception are permissible
  • They believe that contraception protects a woman's health and raises the standard of living
  • God created sex for enjoyment and to strengthen marriage, rather than solely to produce children
  • There is nothing in  Bible that condemns contraception
  • They say that Christians can use contraception to limit family size, as well as combat HIV/AIDS
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Methods of Contraception

Natural Methods

  • Natural Family Planning (NPF) - Planning sex around the times in the month when a woman is at her most infertile
  • Measuring the hormone levels in the urine - To find a woman's most infertile period

Artificial Methods

  • Condoms - Prevents the sperm from reaching the egg, also effective in preventing the spread of STD/Is and AIDS/HIV
  • The Pill - Prevents a woman from producing eggs
  • The Coil - Stops a fertilised egg from latching onto the womb
  • The Morning-after Pill - Brings about an early abortion if the egg becomes fertilised
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