The Catholic Church teaches that God himself is the author of the sacred institution of marriage. Marriage is a divine institution that can never be broken, 100 even if the husband or wife legally divorce in the civil courts; as long as they are both alive. The Church considers them bound together by God. Holy Matrimony is another name for sacramental marriage. Marriage is intended to be a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman, committing themselves completely to each other. A Catholic husband and wife strive to sanctify each other, bring children into the world, and educate them in the Catholic way of life. Man and woman, although created differently from each other, complement each other. This complementarity draws them together in a mutually loving union. The valid marriage of baptized Christians is one of the seven Catholic sacraments. The sacrament of marriage is the only sacrament that a priest does not administer directly. A priest, however, is the chief witness of the husband and wife’s administration of the sacrament to each other at the wedding ceremony in a Catholic Church. The Catholic Church views that Christ Himself established the sacrament of marriage at the wedding feast of Cana, therefore, since it is a divine institution, neither the Church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage. Husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in a union that lasts until death. Priests are instructed that marriage is part of God’s natural law and to support the couple if they do choose to marry. Today it is common for Catholics to enter into a “mixed marriage” between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic. Couples entering into a mixed marriage are usually allowed to marry in a Catholic Church 101 provided the decision is of their own accord and they intend to remain together for life, to be faithful to each other, and to have children who are brought up in the Catholic faith. In Catholicism, marriage has two ends: The good of the spouses themselves, and the procreation and education of children (1983 code of canon law, c. 1055; 1994 catechism, par, 2363). Hence entering marriage with the intention of never having children is a grave wrong and more likely ground for annulment. It is normal procedure for a priest to ask the prospective bride and groom about their plans to have children before officiating at their wedding. The Catholic Church may refuse to marry anyone unwilling to have children, since procreation by “the marriage act’ is a fundamental part of marriage. Thus usage of any form of contraception, in vitro fertilization, or birth control besides Natural Planning is a grave offence against the sanctity of marriage and ultimately against God. (Source: Wikipedia, accessed 9/10/13). 4.6.2 Christian Marriage In Christian marriage, there is considerable disagreement among Christians as to the biblical way to define the roles of each marriage partner, and how each should interact in the family to create healthy family relationships and to please God. Roles in Christian marriages between opposite-sex couples challenge deep-rooted beliefs, teachings, and traditions – most dating from biblical days. Opinions and teachings vary among three principal groups – one group that believes in a full 103 A small and growing number of denominations conduct weddings between samesex couples where it is civilly legal. A few others perform ceremonies to bless same-sex unions without recognizing them as marriage. Some Christian authorities used to permit polygamy (specifically polygyny) in the past, but this practice, besides being illegal in Western cultures, is now considered to be out of the Christian mainstream and continues to be practised only by fringe fundamentalist sects (Wikipedia, accessed 9/10/13). This explains the biblical view on how married couples were expected to relate to each other. This should be understood in line with the impact they have had on the Shona people’s marriage practices, structure and functions of the family, including child-rearing based on ukama. 4.7 Socio-Religious Factors Gray, (1917) quoted by Zvobgo, (1991:7-10), wrote that “the Bantu people have a religion that profoundly affects the whole of their lives.” For example, the Shona people believed in a supreme Being, Creator, or God whom they called Mwari. They believed that it was Mwari who created the earth, all humanity, the animal, insect, and vegetable worlds, the mountains, the sky, the moon; in a word everything that exists or moves on the face of the earth (Van der Merwe, 1957). Mwari created not only the tribal but also the ancestral spirits. Mwari was not approached directly but only through Great Messengers such as Chaminuka. Below Mwari in the spiritual hierarchy were Great Messengers such as 104 Chaminuka. Chaminuka was the voice of the Shona spirit under the CreatorMwari. Below Chaminuka were tribal spirits called Mhondoro. These were spirits of deceased eminent persons believed to reside in the body of a lion when not communicating with the living through an accredited human medium who could be of any age or sex. Next in the spiritual hierarchy were the spirits representing each family group. It was believed that after death, the mudzimu (family spirit) of every married person was concerned with the living members of the family. The spirit was interested in the immediate dependents. Thus the spirit of the deceased father or mother hovered around their own children and grandchildren, protecting them and showing a constant concern for their welfare and with what they said and did. The spirits of the grandparents were considered more important than those of the parents. First in order of importance was the grandfather, then the grandmother followed by father and the mother. The religious life of an individual was therefore closely bound up with these four midzimu (ancestral spirits) (See diagram 4.11). Mudzimu revealed itself to the family through a svikiro (medium) who might be any member of the family; old, young, male or female. Read alongside the Christian view point, the Shona belief system was taken by missionaries to be “heathen.” The introduction of Christianity has had a “negative impact” on how the Shona people were to relate to their parents physically and spiritually. This is a relevant issue to the study of the nature of 105 changes in the structure and functions of the family; particularly in matters to do with spiritual attachment. This attachment is based on the principle of ukama. Case 4.11 Spiritual Hierarchy of the Shona people This spiritual hierarchy has an impact on the peoples’ rootedness to their ancestors, that is their attachment (ukama). The introduction of Christianity and its teachings challenged the spiritual hierarchy as believed by the Shona people. This had a bearing on the structure and functions of the Shona family which was based on Ukama. NOTE: The pronouns “he” or “she” are not used in the Shona language. MWARI Great Messengers Mhondoro Mhondoro Midzimu Midzimu Midzimu Midzimu Midzimu 106 4.8 Family Instability: Causes and Consequences Reference is now made to possible causes and consequences of family instability. I first refer to theoretical issues supported by data from field work. For instance, how is parental loss related to criminal tendencies and delinquency amo