University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
UOM Main Page
Apply - Admissions 2016


TITLE Theology of Marriage and the Family

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Pastoral Theology, Liturgy and Canon Law

DESCRIPTION This study-unit consists of two parts. The first part focuses on the sacramentality of marriage and the theology of the family, whereas the second part focuses on conjugal sexuality. This study-unit starts with the biblical theology and early Christianity views of marriage and the family, followed by the early Christian tradition, the Scholastics’ and the major Medieval Theologians’ opinions on the sacramentality of marriage. Then the leading Reformation Theologians' views on matrimony and the impact of Trent on post-Tredentine Theology of marriage will also be discussed. Moreover, the influence of the personalistic teaching on Vatican Council II's and post-Vatican II teaching on marriage, the family and sexuality will also be discussed. The issues on the ‘goods of marriage’, commitment, indissolubility, divorce, remarriage and the difference between sex and sexuality in marital life will be also discussed.

Study-Unit Aims:

a) To understand the biblical, patristic and teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and the family

b) To trace critically the various historical interpretations accorded to the sacrament of marriage over the centuries

c) To evaluate different ethical methodologies employed to assess the morality of sexual activity

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & understanding:
By the end of this study unit, the student will be able:

i. to get acquainted to the various theological and pastoral perspectives on the theology of marriage and the family which were developed throughout tradition

ii. to learn how to apply theological insights to the experience of pastoral care for the family and youths

iii. to acquire the right pastoral skills needed to help the family to face today’s challenges and opportunities.

2. Skills (including transferable [generic] skills):
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- become more knowledgeable on the richness of the theological reflections on marriage and the family and to learn how to implement theological insights to pastoral praxis.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Mackin, Th., What is Marriage?, vol. I, Paulist Press, Macarthur Blvd., Mahwah, New Jersey, 1982

Mackin, Th., Divorce and Remarriage, vol. II, Paulist Press, Macarthur Blvd., Mahwah, New Jersey, 1982

Mackin, Th., The Marital Sacrament, vol III, Paulist Press, Macarthur Blvd., Mahwah, New Jersey, 1989

Kasper, W., Theology of Christian Marriage, Crossroad, New York, 1986

Genovesi, V., In Persuit of Love. Catholic Morality and Human Sexuality, Delaware, Michael Glazier, 1987

Keane, Ph., Sexual Morality: Catholic Perspective, New York, Paulist Press, 1977

Coleman, G., Human Sexuality. An all-embracing Gift, Alba House, New York, 1992

CURRAN, C. & McCORMICK, R. (eds), Dialogue about Catholic Sexual Teaching. Readings in Moral Theology – No 8, New York, Paulist Press, 1993

SELLING, J. (ed), Embracing Sexuality: Authority and Experience in the Catholic Church, Aldershot, Hampshire, 2001

LAWLER, M., Marriage and the Catholic Church. Disputed Questions, Collegeville, Liturgical Press, 2002

THATCHER, A. (ed.), Celebrating Christian Marriage, New York, T&T Clark, 2001

SALZMAN, t. et al., (eds), Marriage in the Christian Tradition, New York, Herder & Herder, 2004

D.S. Browning, B.J. Miller-McLemore & P.D. Couture, From Culture Wars to Common Ground. Religion and the American Family Debate, 1997

L.S. Cahill, Family. A Christian Social Perspective, 2000

M. Ouellet, Divine Likeness. Toward a Trinitarian Anthropology of the Family, 2006

A. Thatcher, Theology and Families, 2007

B. Waters, The Family in Christian Social and Political Thought, 2007


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 75%
Seminar Paper Yes 25%

LECTURER/S Emmanuel Agius

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

Augustinian Institute Academic Year 2017-18

 Click here for more information


Dissertation Logbook
The Dissertation Logbook can be found here.


Log In back to UoM Homepage