Finality and marriage
Moral philosophy within the ethical institution that is Roman Catholicism is witnessing in this century, with increasing intransigence, the debate regarding the meaning and the appropriate means of accomplishing the Biblical injunctions, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it." (Gn 1:27-28) and, "For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." (Gn 2:18, 22-24). The issues within the debate include: (1) the delineation of the essential nature of marriage, (2) the specification and valuation of the ends of marriage, and (3) the examination of the implications in regard to the regulation of the reproductive finality brought about by the transition in the understanding of the nature of marriage and the ends of marriage. This work attempts to contribute to that ongoing discussion with an examination of the position of the tradition as enunciated in the documents of the tradition. It begins with a study of the documents of the immediate past. These documents are CASTI CONNUBII and the Allocutions of Pope Pius XII. It continues with an examination of the position of the tradition as found in the documents of the present. These documents are GAUDIUM ET SPES, HUMANAE VITAE, and DONUM VITAE. The work, then, delineates an emerging position regarding the essential nature of marriage, the ordering of the several finalities to be accomplished in marriage, and the implications of this position on the regulation of reproduction. The account of the emergent position provides the framework for the examination of significant contemporary positions within the tradition, and a framework for the evaluation of the position of the tradition. In this new profile, marriage is characterized as a special kind of human relationship. It is an intimate personal union which is to supply the matrix of conditions for procreation and the perfection of the partners. Marriage has three ends: (1) personal union--intrinsic necessary end, (2) procreation--intrinsic contingent end, (3) personalist--intrinsic contingent end. These ends press for actualization on three distinct interrelated levels: horizontal, vertical, and transcendental. Governance of the reproductive finality is directed from within the marital matrix.
Margaret Monahan Hogan,
"Finality and marriage"
(January 1, 1991).
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