Sterility before marriage

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Barbara_Rice

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I tried to find in the Catechism the answer to the question, "If a woman wishes to marry and the woman is beyond usual child-bearing age, plus has had a complete hysterectory, can she marry since the purpose of marriage is procreation? If yes, what is the explanation. The same question applies to a 35 year old woman who has had the same surgery?

I did find something in Canon Law that indicates marriage would be acceptable for and including the 35 year old as long as there was no intent to hide or refuse to disclose this information. I believe it was Canon Law 1083 & 1125.

Thank you.
 
Why do you say “the purpose of marriage is procreation”? Were that the case, if a woman were past child-bearing age, she would be barred from marriage, hysterectomy or no. To my knowledge, this is not the case. Moreover, many marriages would need to be dissolved, one or both parties having proven infertile, no? I have never heard of a fecundity test requirement (for man nor woman) before marriage. (The parties to a marriage must be capable of consumating it, but there is no guarantee of children)

Regarding hysterectomy at an earlier age, it may have to do with the reason for such. If the woman had undergone this procedure as treatment for, eg, uterine cancer, I would presume the principal of double-effect comes into play (The same if a man has been rendered infertile by testicular cancer). If for other (contraceptive) reason, I really do not know.
 
Procreation is one of the purposes of Marriage. As long as both are physically capable of normal intercourse and are open to the possibility of children that would not invalidate the Marriage.
 
I would not even say that procreation is “one of the purposes” of marriage. Marriage is ordered toward procreation, but that is not the purpose of it. Even the catechism recognizes the health and goodness of those marriages to which God has not granted children (#1654)

The purpose of marriage is to perfect the coupe’s love, to strengthen their unity, and to let them help one another attain holiness.
 
We had this discussion on another thread yesterday. Impotency is an impediment to marriage and it must be complete and irreversible. As I discovered, this has more to do with being able to complete the act of intercourse than fertility. However, both a vasectomy and hysterectomy, performed solely for the purpose of contraception, are gravely disordered and sinful in nature. Marriage must be open to life, but physical inablilty to conceive, such as age is not disordered. Heck, we all know of cases were a woman conceived well past the point she thought she could! Hope this helps!

God bless!
 
If a marriage of this type has no possibility of producing children, what is its value to society? Does it have any value?
 
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Ken:
If a marriage of this type has no possibility of producing children, what is its value to society? Does it have any value?
Does it *need * to have value “to society”? (Do any of the other sacraments?) Isn’t it enough that it has value to couple?
 
I just read a really great article in May-June 2004 Liguorian magazine that had a section that addressed this. The article is titled “The Sacrament of Marriage: Three Dimensions of a Daring Vocation” and it is by Richard R. Gaillardetz, Ph.D.

The section reads, " The married couple’s relationship is sacramental because, in their commitment to each other, they are now living within the Christian community in a new and public way. They are now charged to offer the fruit of their love to the community and in service of God’s reign. For many married couples, the fruit of their love will be the children they will bear and raise. But it is important that we not focus too narrowly on childbearing and childrearing, for such a focus offers little to couples who are infertile an/or post-menopausal.
Perhaps Catholicism needs to assert the importance not only of couple’s openess to the procreative dimension of their marriage but also of the broader generative aspect of their shared love. Certainly couples are generative in bringing children into the world and caring for them, but their love is also generative when they adopt a child or allow an unwed teenage mother to stay with them for an extended period of time. They are generative with their love when they take in an extended family member who requires assistance because of age or infirmity. Their love is generative when they volunteer time together at the local soup kitchen or mentor a young engaged couple. In all of these ways, the generativeness of a married couple’s love binds them to the larger community they serve."

This is one of the best articles on the sacrament of marriage I have read.
 
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Beverly:
  • their love is also generative when they adopt a child or allow an unwed teenage mother to stay with them for an extended period of time. They are generative with their love when they take in an extended family member who requires assistance because of age or infirmity. Their love is generative when they volunteer time together at the local soup kitchen or mentor a young engaged couple. In all of these ways, the generativeness of a married couple’s love binds them to the larger community they serve."*
I have sparred with Richard R. Gaillardetz before. Alas, this is another example of a tendency to empty words of their meaning.

If “generation” means all these things, then it means nothing, because any good deed done by a married couple becomes generative.

One then can go a step further and note that these things can be done by an unmarried person, so is the unmarried person acting “generatively” when working at the soup kitchen?
 
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Ken:
If a marriage of this type has no possibility of producing children, what is its value to society? Does it have any value?
If it has benefit for the man and the woman (i.e., makes them better people), then it has value to society.

DaveBj
 
So, Karl, do you believe that someone who is past child bearing age or someone who is infertile should not marry? The Catholic Church does not teach that as far as I can tell from the Catechism.

The point of Gaillardetz’s article was that the Catholic view of marriage is distinctive in that it is not a private compact made between a man and a woman, but rather a covenant between the couple and God before the Christian community. They, therefore, are charged to offer the fruit of their love to the community and in service of God’s reign. This doesn’t mean just children. Couples who cannot have children can still generate fruit. I don’t know if I like everything Gaillardetz has to say but that doesn’t mean I cannot appreciate when he gets it right and I think he did a very good job on this article. In fact, I was given the article by my mother and father (married for 46 years) who made copies of it for her children and grandchildren. Yes, I do understand what you are saying about empty words, but I don’t think that is the case here. I think he is saying if you cannot produce fruit as in offspring, produce some spiritual fruit and offer that to the community.

In fact, the CCC says that couples who are infertile “can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.” (2379)
 
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