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St. Augustine and Marriage

Zachary Guiliano writes at Covenant:

The Episcopal Church’s conversation on marriage continues to develop. First of all, I want to pass along the link to a new essay on Fully Alive’s website, in which I reply to the essays of the ATR’s respondents: Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Scott MacDougall, and Kathryn Tanner. Although I express my thanks to the respondents in the essay, allow me to express here as well: it is good that we are here, reasoning together in charity, even if our approaches are quite different and our words sometimes sharp.

It’s important to note that each response was a bit different, but they all addressed Augustine and Ephesians 5. Joslyn-Siemiatkoski also offers a contemporary “application” of two of Augustine’s three goods of marriage, MacDougall brings up the issue of eschatology, and Tanner charged us with importing suffering into salvation.

Serious stuff. Read my response here for the full details, though here is my conclusion:

In summary, it seems clear to me that all three ought to note and reckon with the larger witness of Scripture and tradition, rather than trying to pin us down on a single biblical verse or Church Father. I have noted that Joslyn-Siemiatkoski could perhaps explain further why he feels that Augustine’s model of marriage is no longer applicable, as well as how he thinks proles may be sheared off of fides and sacramentum in a fully Augustinian account. I have questioned whether MacDougall paid much attention to our argument about the Augustinian tradition, when some of his own comments about the tradition and Augustine affirm what we have said. Moreover, he might pay closer attention to the full context of Ephesians 5, supply some actual content in his argument about eschatology, and reckon with a fuller set of resources for discerning contemporary practice. I have challenged Tanner’s misreading of our argument about the character of suffering in marriage, and I have sketched out the Scriptural and traditional foundations for understanding how the relationship of Christ and the Church is generative, in a manner similar (but not identical) to the generative relationship of a man and a woman. What remains now is to see whether our respondents will continue the dialogue. For my part and that of the other authors in Fully Alive, we will continue our work of slowly addressing the various topics we have outlined for ourselves, and we will take into account the issues that our three respondents have raised as well. So far as it lies with us, we cannot lack energy or motivation at this time. Past, present, and future generations deserve our best. We thus pray to the Lord for inspiration, drive, and focus, for ourselves and for those joining us in holy conversation.

Guiliano links to related material by the Rt. Rev. Matthew Gunter, Bishop of Fond du Lac, and Claiming the Blessing.

Read the rest.


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