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Social Influences on Marriage and Matrimony

Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb; [email protected]
Publication Date
  • Brak
  • Obitelj
  • Sekularizacija
  • Pluralizam
  • Kršćanske Vrijednosti.
  • Marriage
  • Family
  • Secularization
  • Pluralism
  • Christian Values.
  • Agricultural Science
  • Education
  • Political Science


Both marriage and family in the Judaeo-Christian tradition are as social institutions subject to many influences from the cultural environment. This is quite obvious in the Old Testanemnt. The New Testament shows both some specifics (unity, fidelity, indissolubility, prohibition of abortion ...) and traits common to family life to Judaism and the Graeco-Roman civilization (»Haustafeln«). From the fourth to the twelfth century, as Europe turns to become »Christendom«, we assist to the development of the Christian doctrine on marriage (matrimonium in fieri) which finds its explicit form in the Canon Law. The Church teaching on the family life (matrimonium in facto esse) is mostly dependent on local and cultural conditions. As long as the religous unity exists the Church is exercising its jurisdiction on the marriage by Canon Law which is at the same time recognized on the civil level. Changes begin to happen with the appearance of Protestantism and of the Enlightment. The subsequent secularization, more and more conditioned by the industrial revolution, has a profound impact on marriage and family life. The Church struggled to resist to the deleterious concequences of the passage from agricultural to industrial civilization and tried to adapt as much as possible its pastoral approach to the new conditions of life. The tenor of the article is that we are now assisting to a unique change in the history of the world civilizations: to the appearance of the pluralistic society, in which both marriage and family are challenged in a quite new and »non-edited« way, especially on the social political level (different forms of marriage and of family life). It is a grave duty to discern the »signs of time« and to testify to the basic Christian values of manage and family, by resisting to the disruptive tendences and even more by promoting and living values inherent to a truly human and Christian concept of the marriage and of the family.

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