People today can decide on a variety of ways on how to consummate their relationships. People may opt to get married in the traditional and conventional way, via the church. Others may opt to get married via a civil arrangement, which allows them to terminate their marriage in an easier fashion if need be. Others may decide not to get married at all and just live together in a cohabitation arrangement.
Many do still opt today to get married via the church. There was a time where catholic marriage and children were very much intertwined. Even though people are having fewer children, it is still highly encouraged by the church for couples to have children. The bearing of children is listed as one of the primary objectives of catholic marriage. It is stated that marriage establishes a partnership which works towards the procreation of an offspring. If such a condition is deliberately dismissed, the function of a marriage is not fulfilled.
The church also preaches against artificial contraception. It does allow however for Natural Family Planning which caters for the fact that a child may bring about certain unmanageable difficulties. These may include physical, psychological or financial problems.
This naturally brings up for discussion the concept of infertility. What happens to those who cannot have children? Those who cannot bear children due to natural reasons such as physical issues or because they have surpassed the age of procreation can still get married via the church. Those however, who deliberately sterilise themselves before marriage for the sole intention of not having children invalidate the marriage. In some cases, a priest may decide against giving his blessing for a marriage where a couple do not have the intention of raising children. A tough decision, yet sometimes inevitable. It is the catholic church’s view that such a rule would only help in strengthening a family and that it exists for the couple’s own good.
Some members of the catholic church describe the decision by parents to not have children as a selfish choice. It is argued that a society which views children as a burden or an extra weight is a depressed one.
In a society where both spouses are driven by endless commitments, childbearing has become more of a struggle. Is it appropriate that the church still maintains the same conviction that married couples need to have children? Does this always conform to today’s lifestyle? Should those couples who do not intend to have children be denied church marriage? Is that fair? Let us know in the comments section below.