As I indicated in my last post, I believe that Christian disunity is a huge enabler of the “Churchian” cancer which is infecting most Christian sects. As I explained:
“Churchianity” is not merely some modern contrivance that resulted from the emergence of feminism. Instead, Churchianity is a natural and logical outgrowth of Christianity when there is no longer a single scriptural authority for the Church.
However, my admonition against Christian disunity was not meant to be a denominational attack. Far from it. As I said earlier, nearly all, if not all, Christian sects in the West have fallen under the spell of Feminism, whether they realize it or not. I happen to be a Catholic, but the Catholic Church, whether Latin or Eastern Rite, has not escaped the pull of feminism. Since I don’t believe that those who live in glass houses should throw stones, I decided to read up on official Catholic teaching with regards to marriage, especially sex inside marriage and the role of the husband and wife. That official teaching is found within the Catechism of the Catholic Church, found here. The section for marriage is somewhat lengthy, and the introduction can be found here.
So what did I find? To the best of my abilities I couldn’t find any direct reference to the role of sex in the marriage. Only a few oblique references to consummation effecting the marriage, and the importance of fertility to marriage. A lot of time was spent covering consent, and the indissolubility of marriage, and the role of God in the sacrament of marriage. But nothing concerning sex. Certainly no mention of 1 Corinthians 7.
Ok, so nothing about sex… but what about the roles of men and women in marriage? Well, Genesis and the concept of a helpmate does warrant a mention. That’s something. What about Ephesians 5, does that show up anywhere? Why yes it does. But what actually makes it into the document? This:
This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her,” adding at once: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.
Something seems a little off, doesn’t it? Oh wait, that’s because there are huge chunks of scripture missing here. Here is the full language of Ephesians 5, beginning with Eph 5:22 and ending with 5:33:
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. 33 Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
I have bolded everything that was not included in the abridged version. Notice what got left out of the Catechism? That’s right, everything which referenced how wives were supposed to act in marriage. Interestingly enough, the command for men to love their wives as Christ loved the church still found it’s way in though. Well, maybe they included that rather important information in the conclusion or brief summary at the bottom…:
1659 St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church…. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:25, 32).
1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1).
1661 The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).
1662 Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.
1663 Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.
1664 Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its “supreme gift,” the child (GS 50 §1).
1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.
1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.
Nope, not there either. But the command for husbands to love their wives showed up again.
So how is it that the command for men to love their wives appears twice, but the command for women to be subject to their husbands, or to respect their husbands, can’t even make a single appearance? The catechism is a lengthy summary of critical beliefs of the Church. There was plenty of room for a few more lines concerning the duties of wives within marriage. What I think is happening here is that the Catholic Church is acting just like the pastor from Church B in my previous post:
[The pastor of Church B] comes to understand that if the subject of Ephesians 5 and wifely submission, or something like it, comes up in church he will be forced to either support the biblical command and risk losing membership, or toss out parts of scripture in order to keep his pews and coffers full. Not wanting to lose members, but also not wanting to jettison scripture, he decides to play the role of King Solomon and split the baby by simply ignoring the parts of scripture which his members oppose.
The Catholic Church appears to have decided to follow this path, by pretending that certain parts of scripture don’t exist. There is no other logical explanation for the disparity in the Catechism concerning the duties of the spouses in marriage. This is very disheartening. In many respects it had appeared to me that the Catholic Church had done a better job than other denominations of resisting feminist pressure. That belief was clearly mistaken. Now I will have to devote some more effort in the future to investigating how far the feminist rot has infected the Church.
Of course, the Catholic Church has more teachings than what shows up in the Catechism. The US Conference of Bishops has created an initiative called For Your Marriage, which might contain a more detailed explanation of Church doctrine when it comes to marriage. In part 2 of this series, likely out Thursday, I will review this website and see if it provides a clearer picture of how the Church addresses some of the big issues inside marriage.
Update: It occurred to me that I might be expecting more of the Catechism than I should, so I decided to compare this latest version with older versions. I started with the 1884 US Catechism, known as the Baltimore Catechism (The link goes to the expanded version). Interestingly enough, it also didn’t cover sex or the roles of husband and wife in marriage. Given the time it was written, before First Wave (Modern) Feminism, that was somewhat reassuring. Perhaps I was simply expecting too much. Then I found the 1941 Revised Edition of the Baltimore Catechism. The section on marriage can be found here. It is set up in a question and answer format, and one of the questions was this: What are the chief duties of husband and wife in the married state? The answer:
The chief duties of husband and wife in the married state are to be faithful to each other, and to provide in every way for the welfare of the children God may give them.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is becoming in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter towards them. (Colossians 3:18-19)
So the official answer is simplistic, but then it cites Colossians for support. And here at last we get both sides of the story… the commands for both husbands and wives are mentioned. The new Catechism dates from 1992, which means that in the space of fifty years the leaders of the Catholic Church decided that mentioning the duties of wives in the state of matrimony in the official teaching of the Church didn’t warrant mentioning.