The importance of conjugal love in marriage, allegedly overlooked by pre-conciliar marriage doctrine, is strikingly emphasized by present-day Catholic Church documents. The stable incorporation of conjugal love into Catholic marriage doctrine finds its roots in the Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the modern world,
Gaudium et spes.
During the elaboration of the chapter on marriage and the family in
Gaudium et spes, it was observed that its third conciliar draft,
textus recognitus, contained ideas which are similar to what Dietrich von Hildebrand and Herbert Doms had pronounced during the 1930s. Some theologians and canonists, in fact, have opined that these authors paved the way for the personalist treatment of marriage in this century by underlining the importance of conjugal love. Others have even asserted that the
Gaudium et spes doctrine on marriage is the confirmation of Doms's thought.
What accounts for the shift towards an emphasis on conjugal love in the theological presentation of marriage? What did these two authors understand by it and how did they articulate the matrimonial ends? How were their ideas received by the theologians and by the Church? To what extent and in what ways are their ideas reflected in the conciliar document?
This book probes these questions which are fundamental to understanding the evolution of the Catholic doctrinal presentation of marriage.