Marriage
Part 1 Introduction

Chapter 12 Introduction

Rational

Reading Assignments

Writing Assignments in General

Posting on ANGEL

My Website

Catechism Survey

Code Survey

Beginning Essay

Exegesis of a Lectionary Reading

Wedding Script with Homily

C.S. Lewis Presentation

Gaillardetz presentation

Independent Study

Final examination

Concluding Essay

Notes on Grading and Evaluation

Rational

1.  This course, 12:535 Sacrament of Marriage, is being offered at Saint Meinrad School of Theology as a component of the Master of Divinity degree.  This context determines the basic orientation of the course:  the course is directed toward helping the participants become better ministers of the Sacrament. 

2.  In the Saint Meinrad School of Theology curriculum revision of the early 1980's, the Marriage course was designed to by taught jointly ("team taught") by the professors of moral theology, canon law, pastoral counseling, systematic theology and liturgical theology.  For various reasons, the "team" approach was gradually abandoned.  The canonical and legal aspects of the sacrament were returned to 46:540 Introduction to Canon Law and 26:630 Matrimonial Consent and Nullity.  The moral aspects went to 15:551 Sexual and Medical Ethics.  The pastoral aspects of the course are studied in 43:550 Ministry to Families and 43:614 The Hard Word of Marriage.  Presiding at weddings is taught in the liturgical practicum and preaching at weddings is taught in advanced homiletics. What is left for 12:535 Sacrament of Marriage?   This course studies marriage precisely as sacrament -- the history of the sacrament, its theology, its ritual and its spirituality.

3.  The sacrament of marriage is the primary "window" through which we view God.   As the Church moves to a more relational, dynamic understanding of our relation with God, the love between man and woman becomes a dominant metaphor in theology.   Each time I study this material, I find my understanding of God enriched.   The more we know about the theology, history, and liturgical rites of marriage, the more satisfactorily and fruitfully we can catechize about marriage,  prepare couples to celebrate their wedding, preach at weddings.  Each time study this material I find new and better ways to explain the sacrament to RCIA groups, Confirmation classes and adult faith formation.  I also find improved skills at helping couples plan their weddings and I gather new ideas which help me to preach at the Rite of Marriage.

4.  William James said "All learning is self-activity."  This course is basically a series of learning activities:  reading, class reports, liturgy planning, homilies, etc.   The course is designed to encourage personal research, practice in speaking about the sacrament, and working in groups.  These are skills that are important for successful ministry in the Church today.

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Notes on the Reading Assignments

1.  We will begin with a survey of the basic documents which contain the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the Sacrament of Marriage:  the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially  The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes), December 7, 1965, "The Dignity of Marriage and the Family" 47-52; and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "The Sacrament of Matrimony" 1601-1666; and the theological canons in the Code of Canon Law, "Marriage," 1055-1165.   As you know from your study of Canon Law, it is important to recognize and to distinguish the various literary forms in the Code because the nature of the text determines the method of interpretation.  As this is a course in sacramental/liturgical theology, we will not consider here those canons which are true legislative pieces (these canons will be treated in 46:540 Introduction to Canon Law and 26:630 Matrimonial Consent and Nullity) nor those canons which touch on issues of morality.  We will study here only those canons which contain statements of belief and theological statements.  However, most of these (as you can tell from the footnotes) have already been seen in the systematic and liturgical sources.

2.  All contemporary liturgical theologians place a high value on the ancient axiom Lex orandi legem credendi constituit.  Consequently, we will place considerable importance on the text and Praenotanda of the Rite of Marriage.   The ritual currently (that is, in January 2003) in use is the first edition of 1969.  In 1990 the Latin text of the Second Typical Edition was published.  However, because of publication of Liturgical authenticam, and the changes in personnel at ICEL, the BCL, and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, we do not yet have an English translation of the 1990 text.  The Latin editio typica is awaiting translation into English, approval of the USCCB, and the confirmatio of the Holy See.  In conjunction with the Rite of Marriage we will ready and study those passages of Sacred Scripture contained in the Lectionary for Weddings.  The scripture readings given in the 1990 Second Typical Edition have been published in the 2001 edition of the Lectionary (Volume IV, Ritual Masses) approved by the USCCB and are available in the study edition (the big blue book) published by LTP which each of you have.

3.  Perspectives on Marriage: A Reader edited by Kieran Scott and Michael Warren is a standard text book used in marriage courses in colleges and seminaries throughout the country.  It was recommended by several of my colleagues at NAAL.  Fr. Kurt and I have both used the book since it was revised in 2001.   [The text is designed for a comprehensive treatment of marriage; because of the way the curriculum here at Saint Meinrad is designed, we will not study those parts of the book which are directed to the pastoral, social, and sexual aspects of marriage.]

4.  One approach to studying a sacrament is to examine the "spirituality" of the sacrament -- or in more scholastic terms, its "effect" and its specific grace.  To this end, we will read C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves.  This classic treatment of love was formerly a staple in college and seminary courses.  While some elements of the work are dated, it remains an insightful and inspiring essay.  Together with Lewis, we will read a more modern treatment of the spirituality of marriage:  Richard R. Gaillardetz,  A Daring Promise.

5.  Each student has interests which are not contained in this list.  Time will be given during the course to explore books and topics of individual interest and to report on these to the group at large.  Additional reading on liturgy and sacramental theology can be found in the General Bibliography and other materials pertaining to Marriage can be found in the Marriage Bibliography

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Notes on the Writing Assignments in General

1.  The grade for written assignments is based on both content and style. Typing, grammar, spelling, sentence structure, readability, etc. are a part of the grade. A standard, accepted typing style [e.g. The Holt Guide to Documentation and Writing in the Disciplines by Kirszner and Mandell] is expected.

2.  When quoting someone give the source of the quote and indicate by quotation marks where the quotation begins and ends. [This is especially important when giving your permission to place something you have written on a public website.]  The "Statement on Plagiarism" in the Student Handbook is to be followed.

Saint Meinrad School of Theology is committed to creating an intellectual environment in which both faculty and students participate in the free and honorable pursuit of knowledge.  Therefore, all work submitted by students is presumed to be their own.  Any violation of academic integrity - cheating, plagiarism, or collusion - is considered a serious offense.

The penalty for cheating, plagiarism, or collusion will be an "F" for the test, paper, or assignment involved.  Multiple infractions may result in dismissal from the school.  Infractions are reported to the academic dean.  Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the section, "Avoiding Plagiarism," in the Holt Handbook. - Taken from Student Handbook, rule of Life, Intellectual Formation pg. 6.

3.  The "Statement on Non-discriminatory Language" in the Student Handbook is to be followed.

4.  With regard to style, the language used is to be that which could be used in a homily: see, Buttrick, Homiletic, pp 196-198, where he draws attention to racist prejudice [e.g. white / black], anti-Semitic language, sexist language, language referring to God.

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ANGEL

1.  Ordinarily all assignments are to be posted on ANGEL.  If for some reason ANGEL is not available to you, print out the assignment and bring a hard copy to class and post it on ANGEL later when you are able to do so.  When submitting a hard copy of an assignment, it is to be typed on 8 ½" x 11" white paper.  When assignments are more than one page long, the pages are to be numbered. Please turn in a copy that is dark enough to be read easily. All papers should be in a12 point font.

2.  Assignments are to be posted on ANGEL a minimum of 4 hours before the class period begins.  For example, if the class begins at 10:00 AM the homework is to be posted by 6:00 AM.   This will give me time to read the postings evaluate them and make adjustments in the class presentation as needed.

3.  I suggest that you compose your comment on your computer using your word processing program.  Spell check, grammar check, word count, etc.  Save the essay on your computer.  Then put a copy of the essay in your buffer [Ctrl + A (select all) Ctrl +C (copies selection to the buffer)].  Go to ANGEL at http://mysma.saintmeinrad.edu/mySMA/home.asp  Enter your password and select the Marriage course.  Click on LESSONS.  Click on the class number for which the assignment is due.  Click on "Post a Message" and a box will open.  Put your curser in the box and drop your essay from your buffer into the box (Ctrl +V).  Then click "Save" at the bottom of the page.

4.  You can read the responses of the other participants in the class and respond to them by clicking "Post a Reply."  When responding to another posting make it worthwhile to open it.   Don't just post "That's nice"  or "So?" or comments that do not move the discussion forward.

5.  While the postings of reflections, experiences, etc. may be "personal" they should not be so "personal" that you would not want them shared with the class.  All postings on ANGEL for this course are open to being read by the class and discussed during the class periods.  The same respect and  "confidentiality" is to be used regarding the postings on ANGEL as would be expected of experiences discussed in class. 

6.  I have posted discussion boxes for each of the assignments for the entire semester.  Do not get too far ahead in your postings.  Something may be said in class or something else may happen that would make you want to reword your posting and once they are posted they are dated in the system.

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Notes on My Website

1.  My website can be entered through ANGEL (at SYLLABUS) or directly at www.tomrichstatter.org  Only those who are registered for the course and have paid tuition have access to the ANGEL site through the Saint Meinrad registrar's office. 

2.  The system I use for organizing and mapping my website uses the letter d for the section on documents and introductory materials and g for Marriage.  Most of the notes for this course are in the g section except for those materials that pertain not only to the marriage but also to the other sacraments, e.g. music, environment, liturgical law, etc.  These topics are found in the d section of the notes.

3.  My website is not a finished product.  The hyperlinks in the syllabus, for the most part, will not be operational until the day of the class.  I am transferring my printed lecture notes to the electronic format on ANGEL and my web site and I will try to stay one period ahead, but can't promise that I will always be able to keep to this schedule.

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Catechism Survey

1.  Many students want to know "up front" what it is that we have to believe and teach.  The purpose of this assignment is simply to survey and list the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the Sacrament of Marriage.  (The remainder of the course will examine the history, context, and import of these teachings.) 

2.  The material has been divided among the members of the class.  Read the section assigned to you and in simple, declarative sentences, post on ANGEL listing of what we must believe about marriage.  You will be asked to make a 3 to 5 minute presentation to present this material during the class period. 

3.  Assignments for Spring 2003

1. Br. Marmion Barrera 1601-1605
2. Keith Bertram 1606-1611
3. Bruce DeRammelaere 1612-1620
4. Patrick Farley 1621-1629
5. Jason A. Gries 1630-1637
6. Michael Maples 1638-1642
7. Jeffrey McBeth 1643-1645
8. Valentine Ndebilie 1646-1651
9. Scott Nobbe 1652-1654
10. Carl Schmitt 1655-1658
11. Shaun Wesley 1659-1662
12. Alex Zenthoefer 1663-1666

 

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Code of Canon Law Survey

1.  The purpose of this second assignment is the same as the first:  know "up front" what it is that we have to believe and teach regarding the Sacrament of Marriage.  In contrast to the Catechism, the Code is not primarily a dogmatic text.  It is important to recognize and to distinguish the various literary forms in the Code because the nature of the text determines the method of interpretation.  As this is a course in sacramental/liturgical theology, we will not consider here those canons which are true legislative pieces, nor those canons which touch on issues of morality.  We will study here only those canons which contain statements of belief and theological statements.  However, most of these (as you can tell from the footnotes) have already been seen in the systematic and liturgical sources.

2.  We are also concerned with "ecclesial vocabulary" that you will need for your ministry.

3.  The material has been divided among the members of the class.  Read the section assigned to you.  Post on ANGEL in simple, declarative sentences, a list of what we must believe about marriage.  We are not concerned with legislation, but with statements of belief.  You will be asked to make a 3 to 5 minute presentation to present this material during the class period. 

4.  Assignments for Spring 2003:

1. Marmion Barrera 1055-1062
2. Keith Bertram 1063-1072
3. Bruce DeRammelaere 1073-1082
4. Patrick Farley 1083-1094
5. Jason A. Gries 1095-1107
6. Michael Maples 1108-1123
7. Jeffrey McBeth 1124-1129
8. Valentine Ndebilie 1130-1133
9. Scott Nobbe 1134-1140
10. Carl Schmitt 1141-1150
11. Shaun Wesley 1151-1155
12. Alex Zenthoefer 1156-1165

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Beginning Essay

1.  The purpose of this assignment is simply to give you an opportunity to make a statement to me and the other members of the class regarding what you have learned thus far in the course.  While the essay is entitled "Sacrament of Marriage Today" you can write on any aspect of the material that you wish.   Write on something that is useful for you and something that is of interest to the other members of the class.

2.  Post your essay on ANGEL.  Length 400-500 words.

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Exegesis of a Lectionary Reading

1.  A list of the scripture readings in the lecture for marriage will be circulated during class time.  Select one reading from each of the three categories:  Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel.  The readings can be found in your study edition of the Lectionary for Mass (the big blue book) pages 726-738, Lectionary Numbers 801, 802, and 805.

2.  Read an exegesis of the selected passages from one (or several) sources recommended to you during your scripture studies. 

3.  On ANGEL post a summary of the exegesis that would provide helpful background information for someone selecting the readings for their wedding and that would also be helpful for someone preaching on this text.  This is not the same as a formal exegesis paper for your scripture courses.  Here just post 2 or 3 paragraphs (and the source) that would be helpful to you or a classmate in future years when you want a quick background on what the reading means in itself and in its context..

4.  Then under "homily hints" make a few statements about how the text could be used in a wedding homily.  What homily themes are present?  What does the text say about marriage, the Sacrament of Marriage, and the nature of God.

5.  Be concise so that the information can be useful for a busy pastor who needs an idea quickly.

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Wedding Script with Homily

1.  Select one of each of the texts that would be required for the Rite for Celebrating Marriage Outside Mass (39-54).

2.  Make your selection in the light of some theme or unifying principle.  State this principle and explain a concrete pastoral situation for your text.  

3.  Compose a homily appropriate for the situation based on the readings and based on the theology you have learned during this course.  The homily is to be 400-500 words in length. 

Wedding Script with Homily Assignment for 2006

1.  Imagine a concrete situation:  Picture a specific time, place, circumstances of the couple, etc.  Describe the context of this wedding in a brief introductory paragraph.

2.  Select one of each of the texts that would be required for the Rite for Celebrating Marriage Outside Mass (39-54).  Make your selection in the light of some theme or unifying principle.  State this principle in your introductory paragraph. 

3.  Present an outline of the structure and the elements of the wedding rite outside of Mass.  You do not need to give the text of the prayers and readings in full, simply give a theological summary and the reference to the Rite or the Lectionary.  [The exercise uses the Rite for Celebrating Marriage Outside Mass (39-54) for the sake of simplicity.  You will study the structure and elements of the Rite of Celebrating the Eucharist during your Eucharist course.]  The exercise should give evidence that you understand the flow of the structure and elements of the rite.

4.  If you add cultural or local ceremonies or prayers not contained in the Rite, indicate where they fit in the outline of the Rite and explain their significance.

5.  Compose a homily appropriate for the situation based on the readings and based on the theology you have learned during this course.   Remember that the Introduction to the Rite (number 9) states:

Furthermore, priests should show special consideration for those who take part in liturgical celebrations or hear the Gospel only on the occasion of a wedding, either because they are not Catholics or because they are Catholics who rarely if ever take part in the eucharist or who apparently have lost their faith. Priests after all are ministers of Christ's Gospel to everyone.

6.  While the homilist may sometimes address the couple who are exchanging their vows, the homily is directed primarily to the entire congregation.  Use this occasion to give some solid theology about the Sacrament of Marriage.  Make this theology "stick" in their memory by the use of stories and examples to which they can relate. 

7.  The closing of the homily is the transition to invite the couple to come forward to confer the sacrament on one another.

8.  The homily is to be 400-500 words in length. 

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Transition

Where are we and where are we going?

During the first half of the course we have looked at the Sacrament of Marriage "from the outside" as it were – the rite itself, the history of the rite, the legislation regarding the rite, and what we have to believe about the sacrament. To this end we have read the Catechism, the Code, and the Rite.

During this next part of the course we will look at the Sacrament of Marriage "from the inside" as it were – What does it mean? What is its spirit and spirituality? What does it say about God? To this end we will read: C. S. Lewis' The Four Loves; Gaillardetz' A Daring Promise; and the spirituality section of Perspectives on Marriage.

As we begin this section, take 2-3 minutes and jot down a few of the questions you want to answer (and ask) during this next part of our "tour" through marriage. Then I will ask you to discuss your list with the people next to you at table. Then we (the whole class) will examine which of these questions are most important. And with these questions in mind, we turn to C. S. Lewis

The questions I want to ask about the Spirituality of Marriage are ...

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C.S. Lewis Presentation

1.  Four teams (of three students each) will each present one of the four chapter of C.S. Lewis's book The Four Loves.  A sign-up sheet for choosing the topic and the teams will be circulated in class.

2.  The team may present the material in any way they wish.  The presentation, or a summary of it is to be posted on ANGEL.

3.  The presentation should:  a) Summarize the chapter as presented by Lewis: b) add your own critique from your personal and pastoral experience and your reading or study: c) apply this type of love to marriage: d) apply this type of love to God.

4.  Each presentation (including time for discussion)  is scheduled to last approximately 30-35 minutes.

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Gaillardetz presentation

1.  Four teams (of three students each) will each present chapters 2,3,4, and 5 of Gaillardetz'  A Daring Promise.  A sign-up sheet for choosing the chapter and the teams will be circulated in class.

2.  The team may present the material in any way they wish.  The presentation, or a summary of it is to be posted on ANGEL.

3.  The presentation should:  a) Summarize the chapter as presented by Gaillardetz: b) add your own critique from your personal and pastoral experience and your reading or study.

4.  One half of one class period (approximately 35 minutes) is scheduled for each of the four presentations.

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Independent Study

1.  In one semester it is not possible to examine all the important issues regarding the Sacrament of Marriage.  The purpose of this exercise is to allow you to explore some aspect of Marriage that we have not had time to cover and which is of particular interest to you and important for your present and future ministry. 

2.  For the purposes of this assignment, choose a topic that is related to the goals and objectives of this course.  Methodologically, it might be best to leave moral questions for the sexual ethics course, psychological questions for the pastoral courses, and canonical questions for the canon law class.

3.  The topic you choose is to be submitted to the professor for approval.

4.   What question do you wish to answer?  (Many students have found this technique helpful in formulating the topic for their paper:  Imagine your paper to be the answer to a question.  If you can formulate that question clearly, you are well on your way.  For example:  What about weddings in the woods?  [poor question -- too broad, unfocused] -- Why does the Church require the Sacrament of Marriage to be celebrated in a Church? [more focused question]. 

5.  Post your essay on ANGEL.

6.  Make a 15 minute presentation of your topic during the assigned class time.

7.  Here are some possible topics.  I give them here only to help you think about a topic for your paper.  They are not "topics I'd like" or "pick one from this list" etc.

  1. The Code defines marriage in Canon 1055.  What are the theological sources of this definition?

  2. What is the relationship between the scripture passages given in the footnotes of the Catechism and the scripture passages given in the Lectionary for Marriage?

  3. We often think of Humani vitae as the "birth control encyclical."  What does Humani vitae teach about the Sacrament of Marriage?

  4. What are the ritual and theological differences between the English language Rite of Marriage in use in the Untied States and the Spanish language Rito del Matrimonio?

  5. Is there a progression of thought on the theology of the Sacrament of Marriage from the writings of Paul VI to the writings of John XXIII?

  6. How does one celebrate second marriages?

  7. How would one develop a theology of celibacy in the light of a theology of marriage?

  8. Is there a theological vocation to the single state? 

  9. What are the implications of calling marriage a "domestic Church"?

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Final examination

1.  During this period we will have a written examination on the course material, readings, assignments and lecture topics. 

2.  It will be a closed book examination.

3.  There will be both objective and essay questions.

Handout to students on April 1, 2003

The purposes of this examination are: 1) to encourage you to review and synthesize the material; 2) to give you a positive "sense of accomplishment" that you have learned some important things during the semester regarding the Sacrament of Marriage; and 3) to help both you and me to evaluate your learning in an objective manner.

The test is one tenth of your grade (as are the other nine graded assignments for the semester).

In preparation for this examination review the following ten questions. On May 2, I will give you seven of these ten questions and ask you to write an essay on your choice of any five of those seven.

Bring a pen. Paper will be provided.

For each question I am looking for an answer that is somewhere between half a page and one page written. Questions will be graded on accuracy of information and insight into the question.

The ten examination questions are:

1.  How would you define the Sacrament of Marriage and why is each elements of your definition important?

2.  What do you consider to be the major effect of Gaudium et spes (and the Second Vatican Council in general) on Church's understanding of Marriage?

3.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, what would you say are the five most important things a Catholic must believe about the Sacrament of Marriage?

4.  In your own words how would you explain the Church's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage?

5.  The first three chapters of Perspectives treat the history of marriage. What do you consider to be the four or five elements of this history that are most important for understanding the sacrament today?

6.  If you were helping a couple plan their wedding, how would you outline for them the "Rite for Celebrating Marriage During Mass" as given in chapter one of The Rite of Marriage.

7.  According to the ancient liturgical axiom Lex orandi, the way we pray reveals our belief. What would you consider to be the four or five most important "teachings" about marriage that are contained in the Rite of Marriage (the prayers, the ritual actions, and/or the Scripture readings)?

8.  In The Four Loves C. S. Lewis speaks of affection, friendship, eros, and charity. How would you describe the role that each of these four loves play in marriage?

9.  What would you say are the key elements of a "Spirituality of Marriage"?

10.  If you were asked to give a sixty-minute talk on the Sacrament of Marriage to a group of thirty Catholic high school seniors, what five points would you stress in your presentation?

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Concluding Essay

1.  The sacrament of marriage is the primary "window" through which we view God.  Throughout this course we have been studying Marriage precisely as a sacrament -- a window to the divine, a "door to the sacred."   In this concluding essay, express what you have learned about God from your study of the Sacrament of Marriage.

2.  This is the major, concluding, summarizing essay for the course.  Length 400 to1000 words.

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Grading and Evaluation

1.  I will read and grade each of the nine major postings/class presentations and the final examination within a week of the assignment and post your grade and a comment in your grade book in the "tools" section of ANGEL.  Your grade for the course will be the average of these ten grades.  I may raise [or lower] the average because of good [or poor] class participation.  

2.  The ANGEL system allows the professor to see when and how long each student logged onto the course.  When logged onto my website without going through ANGEL, the time on the site is not logged in ANGEL.

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© Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 03/20/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at tomrichs@psci.net.