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Document Details :
Title: The Fragility of Marriage as a Challenge to Methodology in Christian Ethics
Author(s): BORDEYNE, Philippe
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 15 Issue: 2 Date: 2009
In view of the current fragility of marriage theologians and ministers express their doubts about the rightness of preparing couples to make commitments when those individuals lack knowledge of the profound meaning of the sacrament of marriage. The author argues, however, that such judgments are often guided by an abstract doctrinal rationale rather than pastoral sensitivity. Saying that faith is required to embrace validly the ethical choice of marriage develops too simple a relationship between faith and ethics. Instead, in responding to the ethical challenge of enduring commitment, it is more helpful to have a look at the practice of couples rather than reasoning from an idealized image of marriage. Ethical subjects are being shaped for marriage in a diversity of ethos, combined with formative potential for Christian practices. In today’s pluralism, pastoral practice appears to be the major locus theologicus for ethics. Referring to pastoral reality prevents theologians from building too rigid an opposition between faith and ethics, or between individual faith and community faith. Theological ethics on the other side must recollect segments of the tradition that tend to be underestimated in fostering pastoral imagination. The spiritual tradition and liturgy might be useful here as they may help to overcome the discrepancy between ideal and reality, desire and practice.