In The Theology of Marriage Cormac Burke has put together a collection of his most innovative theological theses and analyses, offering original insights and analyses that could help in resolving many current debates on the theology of marriage. At the same time his view goes beyond these debates. His writings are marked by an extremely positive view of sexuality and marriage. Ultimately he insists on the matrimonial vocation as a call to holiness; and delineates the particular graces married couples receive and the challenges they must face.
A former civil lawyer, a teacher of moral theology, and a specialist in marriage, Burke found himself unexpectedly called in 1986 to be a judge of the Roman Rota, the High Court of the Church. He began his work there precisely at a moment when theologians and canonists alike found themselves grappling with interpreting and finding the practical application of new magisterial teachings on matrimony – teachings that seemed to some to represent an almost total rupture with tradition.
Central and particularly controversial issues were the new definition of marriage itself and of its ends, the “personalist” way of expressing the nature of marital consent; and, not least, the concept of the bonum coniugum, “the good of the spouse”, as a co-principal end of marriage.
Msgr. Burke, well attuned to John Paul II’s personalist theology of marriage, sensed the need to seek the roots of these apparently new concepts in the Bible, in Tradition, and particularly in St. Augustine (in whom, despite many modern impressions to the contrary, he sees the first defender of the goodness of the marital covenant). The result over the past twenty five years has been an impressive body of work in theological as well as canonical reviews.