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Few subjects raise such ire and disgust as the marital debt, but it is the teaching of the universal Church, and it does matter.

By Anna Reynolds, Crisis Magazine, Feb. 28, 2023

Anna Kaladish Reynolds attended the University of Dallas and received an MA in Theology from Ave Maria University. She is a wife and mother, who lives in the great state of Texas, and she writes at InspireVirtue.com.


Anna Reynolds

In a recent essay here at Crisis musing on “the marital debt,” Adam Lucas suggests that the topic is in the category of “fun-to-consider-but-ultimately-irrelevant theological questions.” On the contrary, the question of the marital debt is practical and immediately applicable for married Catholics—or anyone seeking a fulfilling and lifelong marriage, for that matter.

The conjugal or marital debt, a concept in moral theology, refers to the obligation of spouses to offer their bodies to the other to avoid illicit outlets for concupiscence. Few subjects raise such ire and disgust as the marital debt, but it is the teaching of the universal Church. Pace Mr. Lucas, the truth or falsity of this moral teaching does, indeed, matter. Moral questions become more difficult to discern as we move to the particular, but that does not render the moral teaching irrelevant. A reexamination is in order. …

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