chapter  Chapter 6
9 Pages

The Christian Doctrine of Marriage

Based on a Book by John T. Noonan*
WithJean-Louis Flandrin

The first Christian texts particularly cherished chastity and virginity, and it is thus that they are clearly distinguished from the ancient law. The personalist doctrine of marriage has continued to gain support. In 1956, Cardinal Suenens writes: "God's first requirement regarding lovemaking, is that it be based on love", and, in 1964, the Second Vatican Council bases marriage as much on love as on procreation. During the twentieth century love has become the basis for the sacrament of marriage and for the Christian model of married life. In 1925, Dietrich von Hildebrand writes that the marital act "does not have procreation alone as its goal", but that it "also has a meaning for the man as a human being — to be the expression and the fulfilment of married love and of life in a community — and that it is in some way part of the idea of the sacrament of marriage".