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The Spirit's TetherFamily, Work, and Religion among American Catholics$
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Mary Ellen Konieczny

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965779

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199965779.001.0001

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(p.97) 3 Marriage
The Spirit's Tether

Mary Ellen Konieczny

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3, “Marriage,”examines the local cultures of marriage in each parish in order to show how they are supported and shaped by the social processes of Catholic identity construction and central church metaphors, and consequently, how these cultures support polarizing tendencies among Catholics, particularly around abortion. At Assumption, marriage is tightly coupled with Church doctrine about human sexuality, especially those prohibiting artificial contraception. Marital identities are primarily constituted around family life and retraditionalized gender relations. At St. Brigitta, couples instead tend to ground marital intimacy in romantic love and the ideal of an equal partnership, with couples supporting each other in their involvements in religiously-informed work in service-oriented careers or volunteerism.Common patterns found between church social relations and marriages in each setting explain how Catholicism shapes both the domestic politics of marriage and its relation to moral polarization in public politics of the family.

Keywords:   Marriage cultures, Abortion, Artificial contraception, Human sexuality, Catholic doctrine, Gender relations, Religious service work, Domestic politics of marriage, Public politics of the family

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