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The Sacrament of Matrimony

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1659 St. Paul said: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church.... This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church" (fi Eph 5:25, fi 32).

1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf fi CIC, can. 1055 # 1; cf. GS 48 # 1).

1661 The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf Council of Trent: DS 1799).

1662 Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

1663 Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.

1664 Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its "supreme gift," the child (GS 50 # 1).

1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called "the domestic church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.

Documents:

Between Man and Woman: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions -- (Click title for link to this document on the USCCB web site), issued by the USCCB on November 12, 2003

Message on Familiaris Consortio - 20th Anniversary (November 22, 2001)

The Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried - On the EWTN Website - John Paul II to the Pontifical Council for the Family - January 24, 1997

Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage Pontifical Council for the Family (May 13, 1996)

Charter of the Rights of the Family Pontifical Council on the Family (1983)

Familiaris Consortio - On the Christian Family - Apostolic Exhortation, 1981, JPII

Humanae Vitae - On Human Life - Pope Paul VI (Encyclical, 1968)

Related links:

USCCB Website: For your Marriage | Annulments


Other Sacraments: Baptism | Confirmation | Eucharist | Penance | Anointing of the Sick | Holy Orders


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