A comparison of the attitude to the institution of marriage in various countries

Introduction According to the Catholic doctrine, a consummated marriage between two baptized persons is absolutely indissoluble so long as both persons live. Neither the Church nor the State has the power to dissolve the marriage; only the death of one of the spouses dissolves the marriage. And because marriage is exclusive to only one other person at a time, no person who is presently married can marry another person.

A comparison of the attitude to the institution of marriage in various countries

The first is that the context of this article is sub-Sahara Africa. Within that context, I use "traditional" in the sense of what was customary up to the time of independence, i.

There are two further important points to be borne in mind: I think it can help clarity of exposition if we approach our subject from three angles. In the second place we can contrast these African attitudes with the sexual or marital and family "mores" that prevail in the western world.

Finally we can devote some consideration to factors that are currently undermining the stability of the African family. Augustine - the bonum prolis or offspring, the bonum fidei or unity, and the bonum sacramenti or indissolubility - we can immediately state that the first - the sense of children as a good: It is in this light that one should consider the phenomenon of polygamy which is of course the main point where traditional African marriage has most frequently departed from the norm of the natural law.

A comparison of the attitude to the institution of marriage in various countries

This can be seen, for instance, in the fact that the taking of a second wife is so often the simple consequence of the barrenness of the first.

Polygamy not only violates the divine design that marriage should be a communion of life between just one man and one woman who then become two in one flesh Gen. Although polygamy still has its defenders, the majority of Africans readily understand that the Christian and natural norm of monogamous marriage is essential for upholding the dignity of woman.

Given the rapid cultural changes operating in Africa, it seems likely that, within a decade or two, polygamy as a pastoral problem will be replaced by western style divorce and remarriage. In traditional African society, men guarded the home and the cattle, or went to war.

The women worked, caring for the house, the crops, the children. It could be remarked in passing that the tradition of women being much more industrious than men has accelerated the current process of equalization between the sexes, since the African woman in the modern working situation will generally outdo the man.

Just as polygamy has been fairly frequent in traditional African society, divorce has been extremely rare. An important point of difference between polygamy and divorce is not to be overlooked. In polygamy the first wife is not rejected or put away; the marriage bond is not considered broken.

What is violated is unity, but not indissolubility. One might say that, in African tradition, the indissolubility of marriage is conditioned to its fruitfulness.

Practically speaking, the birth of a child marked the "consummation" of the marriage. Once a child has been born the marriage is indissoluble.

As one African put it to me, "Children became a real external sign of this indissoluble unity. And if he choose to consider his marriage null and send her back to her family, society - and the woman herself - would agree. This African tradition, then, is unacceptable from a Christian standpoint.

Yet it is interesting to note it as a sign of something which we will examine in the second part of our study:In many countries in Europe and elsewhere, a couple goes to their city hall to have their relationship recognized as a marriage by the government.

They may then elect to follow this up with a religious marriage ceremony in a church, mosque, synagogue, etc. In North America, and elsewhere, the couple may elect to bypass a religious ceremony and have their marriage solemnized by a marriage .

But when the empire collapsed, in the 5th century, church courts took over and elevated marriage to a holy union. As the church's power grew through the Middle Ages, so did its influence over marriage.

In , marriage was declared one of the church's seven sacraments, alongside rites like baptism and penance. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY. FAMILY, MARRIAGE AND “DE FACTO” UNIONS.

Presentation. One very widespread phenomenon that calls strongly upon the conscience of the Christian community today is the growing number of de facto unions in society as a whole, with the disaffection for the stability of marriage that this entails. In short, across countries the findings for the core aspects of the marriage institution were, at best, mixed.

If marriage is viewed as a hegemonic institution defining appropriate behavior for both married and unmarried people, the growing acceptance of cohabitation and other marital alternatives offers solid support for the deinstitutionalization of marriage.

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A comparison of the attitude to the institution of marriage in various countries

After she managed to . weakening marriage institution, as well as at religiosities influence on marriage attitudes. Religiosity is the prominent drive in the results of this study, yet so little research has emphasized the major influence of religiosity on marriage attitudes.

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