INTAMS Symposium January 1994
Christian Marriage Today
The opening paper of this symposium is given
by the moral theologian Klaus Demmer. A co-initiator and member of
the Board of Trustees of INTAMS, he lectures in the Gregoriana in
Rome. In "The Origin of an Idea" he reflects on the initial
concepts, concerns, and development of INTAMS.
Jörg Splett, a philosophical anthropologist
from Sankt Georgen in Germany, brings forward the Christian understanding
of man and woman as human beings who themselves are searching for
meaning for their existence. Personal love preserves the distance
and the duality of I and Thou for the sake of the unity of love and
togetherness of a mutual I-am-Yours. This distinction between I and
Thou is the task of modest respecting the partner's mystery. It is
the only way in which freedom can really be free.
Michel Rouche, a historian from the Sorbonne
in Paris, describes the manifold concepts of marriage and family throughout
European history. He starts with the Roman Empire, continues through
the settlement of the Germanic tribes in the West up to the reign
of Charlemagne. Rouche then describes the influence of Christianity,
especially of the monks' views on marriage and the Church authorities
who began to create a new language of respect and esteem for the love
between man and woman. Finally he comments on the understanding of
marriage during the Renaissance and briefly considers the period after
the Council of Trent up to our century.
Ladislas Örsy, well-known professor of canon
law in the United States, speaks of the sacrament of marriage as a
sign with a special vocation. Man and woman in union reveal the image
of their Creator more perfectly together than one of them could alone.
Is God the initiator in this dramatic event? What does God think about
marriage, and how is He present throughout their lives, when husband
and wife promise life-long fidelity? How does He assist married life,
and what is thepractical outcome for marriage in spirituality, in
liturgy, and for the church law?
Carlo Rocchetta is professor of dogmatical theology
in Florence and in this article follows Vatican II's terminological
shift from marriage as a "contract" to marriage as a "covenant."
He traces three main guidelines for a new theological conceptualization
of marriage as a sacrament. With the conception of sacramental matrimony
in terms of vocation, consecration, and communion, the marital covenant
is understood consequently as a "real symbol" of an ecclesial
gesture and as a sign in history of the irrevocable love of God towards
Contributions are published in
INTAMS review vol. 1/1-2 (1995)
INTAMS review vol. 2/1 (spring 1996)
and in the book: Christian Marriage Today, ed. by K. Demmer and A. Brenninkmeijer-Werhahn, Washington, D.C. : The Catholic University of America Press, 1997