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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • Aquin.: SMT XP Q[1] Out. Para. 1/2 SUPPLEMENT (XP): TO THE THIRD PART OF THE SUMMA THEOLOGICA OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS GATHERED FROM HIS COMMENTARY ON BOOK IV OF THE SENTENCES (QQ[1] -99) OF THE PARTS OF PENANCE, IN PARTICULAR, AND FIRST OF CONTRITION (THREE ARTICLES)
      • Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE DEFINITION OF MATRIMONY (THREE ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE DEFINITION OF MATRIMONY (THREE ARTICLES)

We must now consider the nature of matrimony. Under this head there are
three points of inquiry:

(1) Whether matrimony is a kind of joining?

(2) Whether it is fittingly named?

(3) Whether it is fittingly defined?


Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether matrimony is a kind of joining?

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that matrimony is not a kind of joining. Because
the bond whereby things are tied together differs from their joining, as
cause from effect. Now matrimony is the bond whereby those who are joined
in matrimony are tied together. Therefore it is not a kind of joining.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, every sacrament is a sensible sign. But no relation is a
sensible accident. Therefore since matrimony is a sacrament, it is not a
kind of relation, and consequently neither is it a kind of joining.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, a joining is a relation of equiparance as well as of
equality. Now according to Avicenna the relation of equality is not
identically the same in each extreme. Neither therefore is there an
identically same joining; and consequently if matrimony is a kind of
joining, there is not only one matrimony between man and wife.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] OTC Para. 1/2

On the contrary, It is by relation that things are related to one
another. Now by matrimony certain things are related to one another; for
the husband is the wife's husband, and the wife is the husband's wife.
Therefore matrimony is a kind of relation, nor is it other than a joining.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] OTC Para. 2/2

Further, the union of two things into one can result only from their
being joined. Now such is the effect of matrimony (Gn. 2:24): "They shall
be two in one flesh." Therefore matrimony is a kind of joining.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, A joining denotes a kind of uniting, and so wherever
things are united there must be a joining. Now things directed to one
purpose are said to be united in their direction thereto, thus many men
are united in following one military calling or in pursuing one business,
in relation to which they are called fellow-soldiers or business
partners. Hence, since by marriage certain persons are directed to one
begetting and upbringing of children, and again to one family life, it is
clear that in matrimony there is a joining in respect of which we speak
of husband and wife; and this joining, through being directed to some one
thing, is matrimony; while the joining together of bodies and minds is a
result of matrimony.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Matrimony is the bond by which they are tied formally, not
effectively, and so it need not be distinct from the joining.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Although relation is not itself a sensible accident, its
causes may be sensible. Nor is it necessary in a sacrament for that which
is both reality and sacrament [*Cf. TP, Q[66], A[1]] to be sensible (for
such is the relation of the aforesaid joining to this sacrament), whereas
the words expressive of consent, which are sacrament only and are the
cause of that same joining, are sensible.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: A relation is founded on something as its cause - for
instance likeness is founded on quality - and on something as its
subject - for instance in the things themselves that are like; and on
either hand we may find unity and diversity of relation. Since then it is
not the same identical quality that conduces to likeness, but the same
specific quality in each of the like subjects, and since, moreover, the
subjects of likeness are two in number, and the same applies to equality,
it follows that both equality and likeness are in every way numerically
distinct in either of the like or equal subjects. But the relations of
matrimony, on the one hand, have unity in both extremes, namely on the
part of the cause, since it is directed to the one identical begetting;
whereas on the part of the subject there is numerical diversity. The fact
of this relation having a diversity of subjects is signified by the terms
"husband" and "wife," while its unity is denoted by its being called
matrimony.


Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether matrimony is fittingly named?

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that matrimony is unfittingly named. Because a
thing should be named after that which ranks higher. But the father ranks
above the mother. Therefore the union of father and mother should rather
be named after the father.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, a thing should be named from that which is essential to
it, since a "definition expresses the nature signified by a name"
(Metaph. iv, 28). Now nuptials are not essential to matrimony. Therefore
matrimony should not be called nuptials.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, a species cannot take its proper name from that which
belongs to the genus. Now a joining [conjunctio] is the genus of
matrimony. Therefore it should not be called a conjugal union.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, stands the common use of speech.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Three things may be considered in matrimony. First, its
essence, which is a joining together, and in reference to this it is
called the "conjugal union"; secondly, its cause, which is the wedding,
and in reference to this it is called the "nuptial union" from "nubo"
[*The original meaning of 'nubo' is 'to veil'], because at the wedding
ceremony, whereby the marriage is completed, the heads of those who are
wedded are covered with a veil [*This is still done in some countries];
thirdly, the effect, which is the offspring, and in reference to this it
is called "matrimony," as Augustine says (Contra Faust. xix, 26),
because "a woman's sole purpose in marrying should be motherhood."
Matrimony may also be resolved into "matris munium" [*i.e. munus], i.e. a
mother's duty, since the duty of bringing up the children chiefly
devolves on the women; or into "matrem muniens," because it provides the
mother with a protector and support in the person of her husband; or into
"matrem monens," as admonishing her not to leave her husband and take up
with another man; or into "materia unius," because it is a joining
together for the purpose of providing the matter of one offspring as
though it were derived from {monos} and "materia"; or into "matre" and
"nato," as Isidore says (Etym. ix), because it makes a woman the mother
of a child.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although the father ranks above the mother, the mother has
more to do with the offspring than the father has. or we may say that
woman was made chiefly in order to be man's helpmate in relation to the
offspring, whereas the man was not made for this purpose. Wherefore the
mother has a closer relation to the nature of marriage than the father
has.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Sometimes essentials are known by accidentals, wherefore
some things can be named even after their accidentals, since a name is
given to a thing for the purpose that it may become known.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Sometimes a species is named after something pertaining to
the genus on account of an imperfection in the species, when namely it
has the generic nature completely, yet adds nothing pertaining to
dignity; thus the accidental property retains the name of property, which
is common to it and to the definition. Sometimes, however, it is on
account of a perfection, when we find the generic nature completely in
one species and not in another; thus animal is named from soul [anima],
and this belongs to an animate body, which is the genus of animal; yet
animation is not found perfectly in those animate beings that are not
animals. It is thus with the case in point. for the joining of husband
and wife by matrimony is the greatest of all joinings, since it is a
joining of soul and body, wherefore it is called a "conjugal" union.


Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether matrimony is fittingly defined in the text?

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that matrimony is unfittingly defined in the text*
(Sent. iv, D, 27). [*The definition alluded to is as follows: "Marriage
is the marital union of man and woman involving living together in
undivided partnership."] For it is necessary to mention matrimony in
defining a husband, since it is the husband who is joined to the woman in
matrimony. Now "marital union" is put in the definition of matrimony.
Therefore in these definitions there would seem to be a vicious circle.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, matrimony makes the woman the man's wife no less than it
makes the man the woman's husband. Therefore it should not be described
as a "marital union" rather than an uxorial union.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, habit [consuetudo] pertains to morals. Yet it often
happens that married persons differ very much in habit. Therefore the
words "involving their living together [consuetudinem] in undivided
partnership" should have no place in the definition of matrimony.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, we find other definitions given of matrimony, for
according to Hugh (Sum. Sent. vii, 6), "matrimony is the lawful consent
of two apt persons to be joined together." Also, according to some,
"matrimony is the fellowship of a common life and a community regulated
by Divine and human law"; and we ask how these definitions differ.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (A[2]), three things are to be considered
in matrimony, namely its cause, its essence, and its effect; and
accordingly we find three definitions given of matrimony. For the
definition of Hugh indicates the cause, namely the consent, and this
definition is self-evident. The definition given in the text indicates
the essence of matrimony, namely the "union," and adds determinate
subjects by the words "between lawful persons." It also points to the
difference of the contracting parties in reference to the species, by the
word "marital," for since matrimony is a joining together for the purpose
of some one thing, this joining together is specified by the purpose to
which it is directed, and this is what pertains to the husband [maritum].
It also indicates the force of this joining - for it is indissoluble - by
the words "involving," etc.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] Body Para. 2/2

The remaining definition indicates the effect to which matrimony is
directed, namely the common life in family matters. And since every
community is regulated by some law, the code according to which this
community is directed, namely Divine and human law, finds a place in this
definition. while other communities, such as those of traders or
soldiers, are established by human law alone.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Sometimes the prior things from which a definition ought to
be given are not known to us, and consequently certain things are defined
from things that are posterior simply, but prior to us; thus in the
definition of quality the Philosopher employs the word "such" [quale]
when he says (Cap. De Qualitate) that "quality is that whereby we are
said to be such." Thus, too, in defining matrimony we say that it is a
"marital union," by which we mean that matrimony is a union for the
purpose of those things required by the marital office, all of which
could not be expressed in one word.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As stated (A[2]), this difference indicates the end of the
union. And since, according to the Apostle (1 Cor. 11:9), the "man is not
[Vulg.: 'was not created'] for the woman, but the woman for the man," it
follows that this difference should be indicated in reference to the man
rather than the woman.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 3: Just as the civic life denotes not the individual act of
this or that one, but the things that concern the common action of the
citizens, so the conjugal life is nothing else than a particular kind of
companionship pertaining to that common action. wherefore as regards this
same life the partnership of married persons is always indivisible,
although it is divisible as regards the act belonging to each party.

Aquin.: SMT XP Q[44] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 2/2

The Reply to the Fourth Objection is clear from what has been said above.





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