OC 094 Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, Part One

 

Tribulation we will have, Our Lord told us, but He also said that He was to be with us until the end of time. The important thing for Catholics to know is that there is a body of dogma and doctrine to guide them in these perverse times. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is light in the darkness.

Matthew 19:3-13
Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
Getting up, He went from there to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan; crowds gathered around Him again, and, according to His custom, He once more began to teach them. Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.”

Marriage and early Church Fathers
Nicene Fathers such as Augustine, Tertullian, Gregory of Nyssa, Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage.

The Catholic Church teaches that God Himself is the author of the sacred institution of marriage, which is His way of showing love for those He created. Marriage is a divine institution that can never be broken, even if the husband or wife legally divorce in the civil courts; as long as they are both alive, the Church considers them bound together by God. Holy Matrimony is another name for sacramental marriage.

Marriage is intended to be a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman. Committing themselves completely to each other, a Catholic husband and wife strive to sanctify each other, bring children into the world, and educate them in the Catholic way of life. Man and woman, although created differently from each other, complement each other. This complementarity draws them together in a mutually loving union.

The valid marriage of baptized Christians is one of the seven Catholic sacraments. The sacrament of marriage is the only sacrament that a priest does not administer directly; a priest, however, is the chief witnesses of the husband and wife’s administration of the sacrament to each other at the wedding ceremony in a Catholic church.

The Catholic Church views that Christ Himself established the sacrament of marriage at the wedding feast of Cana; therefore, since it is a divine institution, neither the Church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage. Husband and wife give themselves totally to each other in a union that lasts until death.

Priests are to remember that marriage is part of God’s natural law and to support the couple if they do choose to marry. Today it is common for Catholics to enter into a “mixed marriage” between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic. Couples entering into a mixed marriage are usually allowed to marry in a Catholic church provided their decision is of their own accord and they intend to remain together for life, to be faithful to each other, and to have children which are brought up in the Catholic faith

In Catholicism, marriage has two ends: the good of the spouses themselves, and the procreation and education of children (1983 code of canon law, c.1055; 1994 catechism, par.2363). Hence “entering marriage with the intention of never having children is a grave wrong and more than likely grounds for an annulment.”[25] It is normal procedure for a priest to ask the prospective bride and groom about their plans to have children before officiating at their wedding. The Catholic Church may refuse to marry anyone unwilling to have children, since procreation by “the marriage act” is a fundamental part of marriage. Thus usage of any form of contraception, in vitro fertilization, or birth control besides Natural Family Planning is a grave offense against the sanctity of marriage and ultimately against God.

In our next we will learn the requirements for the reception of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

 

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