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Meditation 1016
The sham marriage at the base of Christianity

by: John Tyrrell

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The Pope in his Christmas message to the Vatican bureaucracy chose once again the denounce same-sex marriage and many of his clergy around the world slavishly followed his leadership in their local Christmas messages.

One of the reasons the Pope opposes same sex marriage is the Catholic position that marriage is for procreation; specifically one husband - one wife - vaginal intercourse procreation. Indeed, the main reason for a Catholic annulment of marriage is non-consummation, or, a little more liberally, if one or both partners entered the marriage with no intention of attempting to have children.

And yet Christmas - the time the Pope chose to let loose his latest shot at same-sex marriage - reminds us not just of the birth of Jesus but also of the marriage of Joseph and Mary - the eternally virginal Mary who according to Catholic doctrine never had sex once with her husband (or anyone else.) We have an unconsummated marriage and no apparent intention or attempt on the part of either partner to procreate.

Catholic doctrine, intentionally or not, means the marriage was nothing more than a sham to provide a veneer of legitimacy for Jesus. The relationship fully meets the requirements for a Catholic annulment which would mean that particular marriage was never a valid sacrament in the first place. Joseph and Mary weren't really married - not in a Catholic sense anyway.

If we can accept the sexless sham marriage at the heart of Christianity as having some kind of validity, surely we can accept the marriages of those who want a lifetime of loving physical engagement with each other.