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Title: I fondamenti antropologici del sacramento del matrimonio
Author(s): TAGLIAFERRI, Roberto
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 11    Issue: 2   Date: Autumn 2005   
Pages: 223-237
DOI: 10.2143/INT.11.2.2014376

Abstract :
Anthropological Foundations of the Sacrament of Marriage
The scientific tools available today allow nature to speak as never before, revealing almost unsolvable puzzles and unsettling variables in the underlying dynamics that motivate human action and interaction. Although these factors may seem to call into question the future of the institution of marriage, they should instead be taken as an opportunity to reflect upon the meaning of human evolution. They are also a clear call to the Roman Catholic Church, which can no longer rely on the ambiguous declaration that nature, in the end, will demonstrate the truth of the Gospel message. In the study of biogenetic mechanisms, science has revealed the myths of androgyny and love in the traditional vision of the couple. It has shown that, although monogamy is the nec- essary keystone for an enduring relationship in modern society, polygamy is the natural, hidden, human urge. It exposes the violent mechanism that regulates the maintenance of the conjugal relationship, a reciprocal deception perpetrated to secure the partner's advantages. In the current model of marriage, which is at the service of emotional communication rather than the generation and education of children, it is the fragile guarantee of sexuality that provides the foundation of a relationship. Instead of using this knowledge as a pessimistic excuse for explaining why so many marriages fail, it should be taken up as a challenge in which partners learn the play of their difference and how to live the euphoria of the risk of change as an opportunity for communicative redefinition. In the Roman Catholic Church, the anthropological dimension is more important to the sacrament of marriage than to any of the other sacraments. The Church must, first of all, distinguish between natural relationships that pertain to all humanity and the specific relationships to which Christian believers are called. The distinction between the orders of nature and grace must be reemphasized and the relationship of grace to nature must be re-articulated. The article concludes by examining the fourth option for the nuptial blessing in the new Italian rite of marriage in regard to its anthropological assumptions. The theological meaning of this blessing centers upon the evocation of the Holy Spirit, the epiclesis, which ritualizes the real difference between the natural state of human love and its religious vocation in Christian marriage. Thus the liturgy of marriage points the way to a development in its theology. The nuptial blessing, a central part of the marriage rite, ritually enacts this transformation of the ordinary human dimensions by its being taken up by the Church. The developments in anthropology thus suggest to the theology of marriage something that is already embedded in its liturgical celebration.

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