Catholic Theology of Marriage in the Era of HIV and AIDS
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Catholic Theology of Marriage in the Era of HIV and AIDS : Marriage for Life

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Marriage for Life begins by listening to the lived experiences of Catholic, married, HIV-positive women, in order to better understand their struggles. The eight women interviewed in Chicago, Illinois, USA, shared their stories of marriage, of family life, of church involvement, and of living with HIV. Their candid reflections offer a fresh and grounded perspective on the challenges of living with HIV in a US context. After listening to and learning from these women's experiences, Reimer-Barry constructs a theology of Christian marriage that is life-giving in a world with AIDS. While Catholic teachings have developed and now affirm the equal dignity of women and men, troubling legacies of women's subordination remain embedded in liturgical practices and theological texts. Arguing that self-care is an indispensable component of a healthy marriage, Reimer-Barry constructs a life-affirming theology of marriage that is sensitive to the struggles of her collaborators. She argues that marriage for life must promote the full flourishing of both partners, respect wives as equal partners with their husbands, and offer a coherent and empowering sexual ethic. Building on the wisdom of her collaborators' lived experiences, Reimer-Barry examines the need for a more adequate Catholic response to HIV and AIDS, arguing that church communities should promote comprehensive sexual education, affirm both abstinence and condom use for HIV prevention, and actively work to reduce stigmatizing behaviors within church communities. She also unpacks the implications of marriage for life for Catholic liturgical practice, marriage preparation programs, sexual education programs, and family ministries. Modeling her method on what Pope Francis calls the "art of accompaniment," Reimer-Barry argues that Catholic theology of marriage must be renewed and updated so that all can plainly understand that marriage is for life.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 238 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0739196286
  • 9780739196281

Review quote

In this book, R-B. engages in ethnographic research, listening closely to what lay Catholic women living with HIV and AIDS say about the joys and challenges of being married, and responds with a theology of marriage marked by mercy... R-B.'s reconstruction of Christian marriage deserves to be read alongside more traditional theological texts. Her accessible language and willingness to trace the pastoral implications of her theology for parish ministry and marriage preparation give the book a pastoral dimension that makes it ideal for students and lay Catholics. But anyone concerned about the viability of marriage would do well to study this book for what it tells us about how to listen well and preach the Gospel with mercy. Theological Studies This book, drawing from the lived experiences of eight Catholic women who are HIV positive, makes a compelling case for rethinking the Christian theology of marriage and proposes "Marriage for Life." This proposal draws from the best of Catholic sexual teaching's emphasis on love, fidelity, and commitment as foundational principles guiding human sexuality and Catholic social teaching's emphasis on the common good, which confronts unjust social structures such as sexism, violence, and religious and social discrimination, especially against people with HIV. It is a stark reminder that marital and sexual morality must be grounded in, and in dialogue with, the historical, cultural, and contextual reality of human beings created in the image of God living out their marital vocation in a morally complex reality. -- Todd Salzman, Creighton University Meet the enchanting team of Emily Reimer-Barry and her 8 courageous 'research partners,' Catholic women living with HIV. Listen to them tell their stories, starting with their diagnoses, of their determination to survive and their struggles with intimacy and faith. Listen, too, to Reimer-Barry as she responds with the call to self-love for all Christian disciples, the proposal of a pro-life agenda for HIV prevention and care, and a Christian theology of marriage in a time of AIDS. Listen to these words of enormous sensitivity, humanity, and wisdom. Listen, be moved, be changed. -- James F. Keenan S.J., Boston College At a time when marriage and family issues are at the forefront of both secular and religious attention, Emily Reimer-Barry's powerful book offers a thoughtful and realistic analysis of the struggles of married couples living with HIV. Too often, the theology of marriage that emerges from pre-Cana programs and official church documents takes insufficient account of the complex situations that couples encounter and is focused on an idealistic and traditional picture of sexuality and gender roles. Reimer-Barry shows how the theology of marriage, seen through the lens of HIV-positive married Catholic women, can benefit from their experiences and develop more adequate responses to the multiple challenges facing couples today. A must-read for engaged and married couples, marriage preparation programs, courses in marriage, and anyone concerned about marriage and family today. -- Susan Ross, Loyola University Chicagoshow more

About Emily Reimer-Barry

Emily Reimer-Barry is assistant professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego.show more

Table of contents

Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Learning by Listening: The Life Experiences of Eight Catholic Women Chapter Three: "Everything Has Changed": Themes of Survival, Sex, Faith, and Self-Care in the Women's Stories Chapter Four: Self-Care and Christian Discipleship Chapter Five: A Pro-Life Approach to HIV Prevention and Care Chapter Six: Marriage for Life: A Christian Theology of Marriage in a World with AIDS Chapter Seven: Implications for Parish Life: Survival, Sex, and Prayer in Everyday Pastoral Contextsshow more