3.3.1 Changing attitudes to marriage, divorce, fam

How attitudes changed: 

  • Most people have sex before marriage
  • Many couples rather cohabit than marry - More children are being brought up this way
  • Average age for marraige has increased
  • Most marriages do not take place in church
  • Divorce is accepted as a normal part of life - Leads to more single-parent and re-constituted families
  • More extended families, more women arein work and grandparents look after the children
  • Society treats homosexual sex and heterosexual sex the same way
  • Homosexual couples are now given the same legal rights as husband and wife

Reasons for Change:

Homosexuality: Changes in laws made it easier and society more aware of homosexuality. Medical research shows homosexuality as normal leading to equal rights for homosexuals. Homosexual celebritieslead to greater acceptance. Work of gay rights organisations led greater acceptance of equal rights for homosexuals.

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3.3.1 Changing attitudes to marriage, divorce, fam

Reasons for change:

Cohabitation and marriage: Effect contraception has made it safer to have sex before marriage. Less people go church therefore not encouraged to keep sex untl marriage. Celebrities make cohabition look respectable so it becomes more popular. Media shows sexual relationships outside marriage as the norm so more people are though to have sex outside marriage is acceptable.

Divorce: New laws made divorce cheaer and easier for people. Increased equality for women means women no longer accept unequal treatment from men, if treated badly they will divorce. Women can now financially support themselves after divorce and not depend on their husbands. Change in how long people are married for (10 years which 100 years ag was how long people were married)

Family Life: Popularity of cohabition so most parents are married. Increase in divorce leads to inceases in re-marriage and re-constitued families. More mums work so older relatives look after the children. Increase and acceptance of unmarried and divorced mothers means there are no single-parent families.

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3.3.2 Christian attitudes to sex outside marriage

Main Points:

Most Christians believe sex outside marriage is wrong because:

  • God gave new for procreation for children to be brought up in a christian family. Sex should only happen in marrige
  • Bible says sex outside marriage is sinful and the catechism says pre-material sex is wrong Christians should follow Bible teachings and Catechism
  • All Christians are against adultery because it breaks thw edding vows
  • Adultery is banned in the 10 Commandments which all Christians should follow
  • Adultery is condemned by Jesus and all Christians should follow the teachings of Jesus

Christians accept couples cohabiting but in long-term leading to marriage.

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3.3.3 The purpose of marriage in Catholic Christia

Love and Faithfulness: Vows- Couple promises to be faithful and only have sex with eachother. Rings- Is a circle so it is everlasting and cannot be broken. Priests intro- Emphaises that marriage is a special sacrament that cannot be broken. Readings- Give nature of christian marriage, relationship of love and being faithful is life-long.

Support and Comfort: Prepares couple before the wedding, it is between the bride, groom and priest to help understand why commfort and support is important before they make their vows

Procreation of Children: Catholics must say they are going to have children because the bible says to go and multiply. Children must be accepted as an essential feature of a catholic marriage.

Bringing up a Christian family: They must bring up their children in a catholic way eg sacraments and going to church and must accept them from God and bring them up lovingly.

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3.3.4 Christian Attitudes to divorce


  • If you get a legal divorce and you re-marry then you are committing adultery. 
  • Catechism states a religious divorce is impossible - you will always be married in God's eyes 
  • During marriage the couple have made a covenant with God and it cannot be broken
  • Jesus taught that divorce is wrong in Mark's Gospel
  • Annulmeny is acceptable if it can be proven tha the marriage was never consummated (the couple have not had sex)- Never a valid marriage
  • The only way a marriage can be dissolves is if one of the couple dies.
  • Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery (Mark 10:10-12)


  • A Christian is allowed forgiveness and if they repent for their sins then they should be allowed to re-marry. 
  • A divorced person can remarry as long as they talk to the priest about why their first marriage failed.
  • Jesus allowed in the Gospel of Matthew when adultery was committed
  • If a marriage has broken down and the couple stay togeter it will cause more pain and suffering than if they get divorced
  • In Matthew Gospel people can only re-marry if their partner was unfaithul
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3.3.5 Why family life is important for Catholics

  • Having children is an expected outcome of a catholic marriage
  • Bringing to and havign children is one ofthe main purposes of a catholic marriage. Being brought up in a secure and loving catholic environment they will love God and follow Jesus
  • Created by God as the basic unit of society. Is the only place children should be brought up in or family society would collapse
  • Catholic teaching states divorce is wrong and whatever the circumstances the couple should stay togther
  • Where children learn from right and wrong, without family there would be much more evil in the world.
  • Christian children are expected to care for their parents were they are unable to and follow the fourth commandment
  • Children are introduced to the faith through baptism, Mass and First Communion. Christianity should continue to grow through each generation
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