MARRIAGE, POLYGAMY, AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH October 20, 2010 Grade 9 Open Religion HRE 10 Making Connections: Why Polygamy? • As part of the grade nine religion curriculum, we learn about the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. • Polygamy is associated with the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. • Today we will answer the questions: • What is Polygamy? • What is Holy Matrimony according to the Catholic Church? • Why is the Catholic Church opposed to Polygamy? Polygamy vs. Monogamy • Polygamy is a form of marriage in which a person has more than one spouse at a time. • Greek: Poly (many) + Gamos (marriage) • Monogamy is a form of marriage in which a person only has one spouse at a time. All Catholic marriages are monogamous. • Greek: Monos (one) + Gamos (marriage) Forms of Polygamy Polygyny is a when a man is married to more than one wife. This form of polygamy is most common. Polyandry is when a woman is married to more than one husband at a time. A Group Marriage is when a marriage includes multiple wives and husbands. Polygamy and Other Religions Religion Belief of Polygamy Islam •Males are permitted to have 4 wives and must love them each equally •Permitted to practice in India •3% of Indian population Hinduism •Practiced in ancient times (except for Brahmins) •Modern Indian law prohibits Hindus from being polygamous •4% of Indian population Judaism •Permitted at one time but is now forbidden by Rabbinic Judaism Mormonism • 1830’s: belief of the LDS Church under leadership of Joseph Smith Jr. • “Second Manifesto”: prohibited Mormons from practicing polygamy •Fundamentalist groups broke off and still practice (Utah, BC, Montana, Mexico etc.) •200,00 to 500,000 Americans are polygamous Mormon fundamentalists Polygamy and the Legal System The Crime of Bigamy Polygamy in the Old Testament “So Sarai, Abrams’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife” Genesis 16: 3 (Abraham had three wives: Sarai, Hagar, and Keturah) “Lamech married two women – Adah and Zillah” Genesis 4: 19 About Solomon: “He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. And sure enough , they led his heart away from the Lord” 1 Kings 11:3 God to King David: “I will give your wives to another man, and he will go to bed with them in public view.” 2 Samuel 8:11 Roman Catholic Church: What is Marriage? Catechism of the Catholic Church Marriage is… • A covenant whereby a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love. (1660) • Based on consent of contracting parties. (1662) • The perfect image of God’s unfailing love for man (1604) • Valid only if the following components exist: (1643) • Unity and Indissolubility • Faithfulness • Openness to having children Importance in Catholic Marriage Why Polygamy Contradicts It Unity & Indissolubility • The union of marriage requires spouses to give themselves fully and love each other. •What God unifies cannot be separated (internal indissolubility). • Polygamy is “contrary to conjugal love which is divided and exclusive.” (CCC 1645) •Polygamy does not honour exclusively one indissoluble union. Faithfulness •Marriage “requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses.” (CCC 1646) •The union of marriage is only a “mutual giving of two persons.” (CCC 1646) •Polygamists are not being faithful to one spouse. •Polygamist unions are not the mutual giving of two beings. Sex/ Openness •Sex is intended to be (1)procreative to Children and (2)unite two people together. • Sex should only be shared within a monogamous marital union – not outside of it. •Many are open to children. •However, having multiple sex partners denies the exclusivity intended for marriage. Roman Catholic Church: What is Marriage? New Testament Scripture “He made them male and female. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together” Mark 10: 6-9 “Each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband” 1 Corinthians 7: 2 Catholic Opposition to Polygamy Catholic Catechism • Polygamy is “not in accord with the moral law” (2387). • Polygamy is “contrary to the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive” (2387). • Polygamy directly “negates the plan of God which was revealed from the beginning” (2387). (I.e. Adam and Eve) • “Adultery, divorce, polygamy, and free union are grave offenses against the dignity of marriage” (2400). Catholic Opposition to Polygamy Other Sources • On November 11, 1563 The Council of Trent condemned anyone who said that Christians were allowed to have several wives simultaneously. The Council believed that such a practice was forbidden by divine law. • In the Papal Encyclical Casti Connubii of December 1932, Pope Pius XI states that “Christ Our Lord wish only to condemn any form of polygamy or polyandry, as they are called, whether successive or simultaneous, and every other external dishonorable act…in order that the sacred bonds of marriage may be guarded absolutely inviolate” (21). Questions to Consider… • Important figures such as Abraham, Jacob, and Solomon practiced polygamy in the Old Testament. Why does God “allow” it for them and not for us? • What if I convert to Christianity but am currently l in a polygamous marriage or have previously been in one? • The Catholic Church believes that marriage is forever indissoluble. If I divorce and remarry, then is that polygamy?