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v2.1 Reference

The Theology of Marriage

Personalism, Doctrine and Canon Law

In The Theology of Marriage Cormac Burke has put together a collection of his most innovative theological theses and analyses, offering original insights and analyses that could help in resolving many current debates on the theology of marriage. At the same time his view goes beyond these debates. His writings are marked by an extremely positive view of sexuality and marriage. Ultimately he insists on the matrimonial vocation as a call to holiness; and delineates the particular graces married couples receive and the challenges they must face.

A former civil lawyer, a teacher of moral theology, and a specialist in marriage, Burke found himself unexpectedly called in 1986 to be a judge of the Roman Rota, the High Court of the Church. He began his work there precisely at a moment when theologians and canonists alike found themselves grappling with interpreting and finding the practical application of new magisterial teachings on matrimony - teachings that seemed to some to represent an almost total rupture with tradition.

Central and particularly controversial issues were the new definition of marriage itself and of its ends, the "personalist" way of expressing the nature of marital consent; and, not least, the concept of the bonum coniugum, "the good of the spouse", as a co-principal end of marriage.

Msgr. Burke, well attuned to John Paul II's personalist theology of marriage, sensed the need to seek the roots of these apparently new concepts in the Bible, in Tradition, and particularly in St. Augustine (in whom, despite many modern impressions to the contrary, he sees the first defender of the goodness of the marital covenant). The result over the past twenty five years has been an impressive body of work in theological as well as canonical reviews.


Cormac Burke is at Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya.


"With all the challenges to the understanding of marriage as given by God through Revelation and reason, and, with the high interest Pope Francis has taken in a renewed appreciation of married love and fidelity, Monsignor Burke's work could not have come at a better time." —Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

"Examines important issues concerning the Christian notion of marriage. Will be useful to canonists and to theologians who teach in the areas of marriage and family life." —The Rev. Msgr. John J. M. Foster, JCD, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA

About the Author

Cormac Burke is at Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya


"This book is exceptionally readable and thought-provoking. His discussion of the goods and ends of marriage alone are invaluable in today's climate of redefining marriage, which for the Catholic Church has a distinct sanctity and sacramentality. Strongly recommended for university and seminary libraries."—Darren G. Poley, Catholic Library World

"Monsignor Cormac Burke's riveting book, The Theology of Marriage: Personalism, Doctrine, and Canon Law, is a must-read for couples in Pre-Cana, marriage counselors, and anyone involved in pastoral ministry who wants a fuller understanding of the sacrament... Monsignor Burke has written an exceptional book that will influence many across the board... I have already started to recommend this book to many of my colleagues as a great informer... couples who wish to better understand their faith should consider this book an indispensible companion to their Catechism."—Harrison Denn, National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

"Coming from a canon lawyer working at a high level in the Catholic church, Cormac Burke's book is in many ways a refreshing argument for a recognition of the personalism which underpins much of Catholic teaching."—Ray Temmerman, Winnipeg, Marriage, Families, and Spirituality
The Catholic University of America Press

9780813226859 : the-theology-of-marriage-cormac
Paperback / softback
280 Pages
$34.95 USD

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