Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Religious Studies

First Advisor

Lysaught, Therese

Second Advisor

Barnes, Michel R.

Third Advisor

Doran, Robert M.


Beginning with Vatican II's call for constant renewal, in light of the council's universal call to holiness, I analyze and critique modern theologies of Christian marriage, especially those identifying marriage as a relationship or as practice. Herein, need emerges for a new, ecclesial, trinitarian, and christological paradigm to identify purposes, ends, and goods of Christian marriage. The dissertation's body develops the foundation and framework of this new paradigm: a Common Way in Christ. I find this paradigm by putting marriage in dialogue with an ecclesial practice already the subject of rich trinitarian, christological, ecclesial theological development: consecrated religious life.

Chapter one outlines two paradigms for marriage (relationship and practice), noting their strengths and weaknesses, particularly their need for ecclesial, trinitarian, and Christological grounding. Chapter two treats contemporary scholarship relating consecrated and conjugal life, finding therein an adversarial narrative and dichotomization of the two states. Chapter three counteracts and complicates the adversarial narrative by recovering an Augustinian approach to shared ecclesio- nuptial goods of virginal and matrimonial life. Chapter four encompasses scriptural consideration of Christian life as domestic, as householding with God; it studies principles of Christian householding in a variety of Christian householding forms. Chapter five develops the theological loci missing from the principles of Christian householding, namely the evangelical counsels, the Trinity, and Christology. The final chapter constructs a framework for the paradigm of marriage as Common Way in Christ by integrating previous chapters' insights that present marriage along with consecrated life as a practice, as ecclesial, as Christian householding, as trinitarian, and as lived according to a regula in Christ's own virtues of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The chapter provides examples for practicing these virtues and suggests a heuristic for marriage-preparation as novitiate.

Major interlocutors are Augustine, Vatican II, John Paul II, Margaret Hogan, Bernard Lonergan, Lisa Sowle Cahill, Michael Lawler, Julie Hanlon Rubio, Alasdair MacIntyre, David Matzko McCarthy, Jana M. Bennett, Thomas Breidenthal, Francis Moloney, Sandra Schneiders, Hans urs von Balthasar, and Marc Cardinal Oullet. Future directions would develop the paradigm with focus on "domestic church" and "parenthood as a church" in light of emerging householding forms.

Included in

Religion Commons