Archive for the ‘Marriage Covenant’ Category

The Covenant Theology of Marriage

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

My own remedy for a stop to abortion is ecclesial.  First, the titular leaders of the Catholic Church should stop being ashamed of its biblically-based teaching against all unnatural forms of birth control and against all forms of sexual intercourse outside of marriage.   They should have a campaign to educate and solicit cooperation from non-Catholic churches to spread the covenant theology of the marriage act.  Every sexual act ought be be exclusively a marriage act.  Within marriage, the marriage act ought to be a TRUE marriage act, a renewal of the faith and love and permanence of the marriage covenant, for better and for worse—including the imagined worse of possible pregnancy.

If this were taught loudly and widely to students beginning in their adolescence, they would see that there is real meaning in the human sexual act.  They would see that it is dishonest to engage in that act outside of marriage.  And they would also see that unnatural methods of birth control are essentially dishonest because the contradict the “for better and for worse” of the marriage covenant.

When the out-of-wedlock pregnancy rate drops to what it was in 1965 when Daniel Patrick Moynihan raised the issue of the black family that had an illegitimacy rate of 24%, eight times higher that the white rate of only 3%—when that happens, the repeal of Roe v Wade may be possible.  When the illegitimacy rate drops to what it was about 1940 or so when the black rate was lower than the white rate, then there would be no perceived “need” for abortion, and repeal of Roe v Wade would be certain, and state laws would become effective once again.  That, of course, would still leave New York, California, and Kansas with liberal abortion laws on the books, but those laws would soon be changed by a relatively chaste culture.

John Kippley
NFPI President and Volunteer


8. Holy Communion: Eucharistic and Marital

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

It is the task of anyone who hopes to shed light on a problem not to construct a theory to support his sympathies but rather to show by reason, example and analogy the inner unity of the entire Christian faith. Thus it is that this analogy between the Holy Communion of the Eucharist and the holy communion of married intercourse must reach its conclusion, namely, that in order for marital sexual intercourse to be a valid expression of marital love and thus a means toward growth in holiness, it must at least be free from abortive, sterilizing and contraceptive impediments to the transmission of life.

The comparison has been made that the two communions are similar because they are both the results of sacraments, both the result of sacrificial love, both an expression of bodily love, both a renewal of the covenant, both covenants sealed with a death to self.  Because of this, just as each reception of the Eucharist is in itself a sacred reality signifying complete acceptance of the covenant, likewise each act of married sexual love is a sacred reality. It entails a renewal of the marriage covenant, an acceptance of each other regardless of the circumstances, even if this renewal should lead to sickness or to poorness or even to death itself. That degree of self-giving is certainly going to require a supernatural faith, a deep and abiding realization that only he who loses his life for the sake of Christ will find it, and that he who seeks his life will lose it.

The Christian must come to realize that it is only through a constant, ever-increasing gift of himself to God and neighbor that he can arrive at the true development of himself.  The married couple must come to realize that their desire to increase their mutual love and self-development can be fulfilled only through the self-giving which they signified through their exchange of marriage promises.

In this manner, with every act of intercourse a renewal of the marriage covenant in which they pledged undying fidelity to each other regardless of the situation, the married couple enter into a truly holy communion, a true source of grace and the occasion of the fullness of married love.

[1] Pope Paul VI thoroughly rejected the totality thesis in Humanae Vitae. He concluded his argument against the “totality” argument in this way: “Consequently it is an error to think that a conjugal act which is deliberately made infecund and so is intrinsically dishonest could be made honest and right by the ensemble of a fecund conjugal life” (n.14).

This full article is available at with the introduction explaining why John wrote this article back in 1966.

7. Holy Communion: Eucharistic and Marital

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Conditions for validity (continued)

One of the current [mid-1960s] questions concerning marriage and sexual intercourse is whether it is not sufficient to have the marriage as a whole open to the service of life but permissible to exclude positively that openness to life in the expression of mutual love in sexual intercourse. It renews again the conflict between the purposes of marriage—procreation and mutual development. Or to state it positively, would it not be permissible to positively preclude the possibility of conception through direct contraception? According to some, a principle of totality, under which the marriage as a whole is open and generous in the service of life, would be sufficient; but it would not be necessary for each and every act of married sexual love to reflect that openness even in a minimal way, i.e., at least open to the remote possibility though not intending procreation.1

Personally, I find the approach very attractive, especially when I imagine some family burdened by a severe health problem on the part of the woman which makes pregnancy extremely dangerous, and whose openness to the service of life is witnessed by the adoption of other children. Because of these hardships, it is all the more important that the question be clearly answered: Is marriage itself and the overall generosity and openness to life the only sacred reality involved, or is the act of married sexual intercourse something sacred of itself—something whose sacred character must be respected in every instance regardless of circumstances? Or to put the question in terms of today’s ethical theories, is the sacred character of the married sexual act something absolute or is it conditioned by the situation of the married couple?

To be continued tomorrow.  (By John Kippley, Ave Maria 1967; Sex and the Marriage Covenant, Ignatius 2005)