Sacraments – Matrimony

In a Christian marriage, a man and a woman are united in such a way that they become one flesh, each belonging to one another. Matrimony is a celebration of a lifelong commitment of faithful love.

Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal but keep your spirit fervour serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Roman 12:10-12)

The Church understands the sacrament of matrimony as fundamentally important to the healthy condition of society and the well-being of the individual person. It also appreciates how serious disturbances are caused in families by modern economic conditions, by influences both social and psychological, and by the demands of civil society (Gaudium et Spes 47).

Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man (CCC 1604). By its very nature marriage 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 (CCC 1660).

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 (CCC 1662).  Thus, a relationship arises which by divine will and in the eyes of society too is a lasting one.  The significance of matrimony directly effects the continuation of the human race, the personal development and eternal destiny of the individual members of a family, and the dignity, stability, peace and prosperity of the family itself and of human society as a whole (GS 48.1). Such love, merging the human with the divine, leads the spouses to a free and mutual gift of themselves, a gift providing itself by gentle affection and by deed, such love pervades the whole of their lives: indeed by its busy generosity it grows better and grows greater (GS 48.11). Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to a Catholic marriage (CCC 1664).

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 a priest, witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.(CCC 1663)

Finally, let the spouses themselves, made to the image of the living God and enjoying the authentic dignity of persons, be joined to one another in equal affection, harmony of mind and the work of mutual sanctification. Thus, following Christ who is the principle of life, by the sacrifices and joys of their vocation and through their faithful love, married people can become witnesses of the mystery of love which the Lord revealed to the world by His dying and His rising up to life again (GS 48.16-18).