I really love when people ask thoughtful, piercing questions about the Catholic Faith. Today the question was True or False, the Catholic Church will not marry a couple when one of the people is impotent?
I'm linking a great article about the subject. Before commenting read it please. When I think of the reality for a person on this teaching, I can understand how it feels unfair. After all, this teaching, all the teachings on marriage have an actual effect on a real thinking, feeling person who wants to be married.
The Church, and myself personally am not without compassion for the hardship and the pain this might well cause. I promise, I get it. As someone who was not allowed to marry in the Catholic Church for 5 long years as I awaited a verdict on my annulment I have experienced the anger, frustration and the sense of injustice and judgment, this causes.
What I had to begin to process is why the Church teaches this? I can't begin to do this process for you, and I will not spoon feed it to you either. But here are some things to question and consider.
Why is it even necessary for a Church to teach anything, why not just allow people to figure it out and live according to their own conscience?
If a Church professes the Bible as an authority, and belief in God and His Word as truth, then it must teach about how those truths call us to live. The Bible calls us to Holiness, and to live justly. There is nothing we will encounter in life that is not addressed in the Bible and by the Catholic Church. Christ did not come and die for us, only to abandon us to our understandings and our own judgment. He did not die in vain. The Church carries the burden of imparting all these teachings so that we might live in accordance with God's plan, Christ's teachings, and the teachings of the Apostles He gave us to lead until He returns.
Why does the Church have to teach about marriage?
If marriage were not important then what the Church teaches about it, wouldn't cause so much uproar. It causes an uproar because it matters. It is precisely because it IS so important the Church must teach about what it is, and what it is not.
Marriage can not be undervalued. It cannot be redefined, because it has been defined already by God. Marriage is indisoluble. A valid, sacramental marriage can never be divorced. A marriage exist between a man and a woman, and among other things, the marriage must be consummated. Consummated by the physical act of intercourse. Note that this is not any ol' sexual action, it is not about gratification, it is about intercourse that exists in the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman. It is an act, a physical act of sacrifice. It is life giving.
So much about the Church teaching is misunderstood as being mean or hateful. It is simply not true. It isn't about one person, it's about the Sacrament, a sacrament which requires a physical act of self giving love to be valid and sealed.
Marriage, is the cornerstone of all society. Marriage protects women, children and calls men and women to love, sacrifice and fidelity. Children raised in faithful, intact, happy families have the very best chance of finding Christ and eternal life through Him.
Our feelings are not the goal. Our emotions are not the goal. Political agendas are not the goal. The only goal must be eternal life in Christ. If you are a Christian, this defines how you live your life, and it is your only hope.
A Church that does not hold firm to the truth, and teach it in it's fullness and wholeness, in compassion but compassion does not change the truth. It can impact how it is communicated, and conveyed but it can never alter was is.
Consistency is important to consider when you are discerning a church in my opinion. If a Church picks and chooses what it likes from the Bible, it is not teaching the fullness of truth, it may well be teaching a portion of it but we need the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Lies of omission are still lies when your children fails to tell you something, yes? We must require this of our Church as well.
The Church teaches about how we are called to prepare for marriage, and how we are to live within marriage in grave detail. Why grave detail? Because we are fallen human beings. We do everything we can to excuse the sin in our lives. We cut ourselves so much slack to our demise. Those who want to live righteous lives and grow in Holiness need direction. The Church is there to provide it.
What if as people we were more concerned about Holiness than our feelings? What if we were more concerned with rooting sin (as it is defined by God through His Word and the teachings of the Church) and less concerned with finding ways around truth to get what we want?
What would this world look like?
Here is the link I promised. So much to ponder and consider as we journey toward Holiness in Truth.