Important Things to Know about Catholic Marriage


Why Catholic Marriage is Always Right and why Catholic couples should avail of this wonderful sacrament a.s.a.p?

Marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacrament. It’s most appropriate name is “The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony”. There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. Sacraments give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith (CCC 1210). Christ instituted the sacraments and it is from him that graces is obtained by the recipients of the sacrament. These are the points you might not know about Catholic marriages. A more deep dive on this topic can be done with the help of the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 1601-66.

Christ instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony

Christ instituted all the seven sacraments. This is what Jesus himself said about marriage quoting Genesis 1, “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:3ff; Genesis 1:27)

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a covenant not a contract

A contact is an exchange of goods, rights, vows, promises, etc. A marriage contract is a written or spoken agreement between two people so they can start building a family legally. God is not involved in these unions. A covenant is an exchange of selves. In matrimonial covenant, a baptized man gives himself to a baptized woman and the woman gives herself to the man.

Christ presides the ceremony through apostolic succession

Christ delegated his authority to Peter and the Apostles. That authority has been passed from generation to generation to our bishops and priests through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Those who recently went out from the apostolic line do not have this authority and cannot avail or preside a valid sacrament of marriage. This is the reason why Catholics sin when they deliberately choose to attend a non-Catholic wedding ceremonies. Catholics can attend the reception but not the man-made wedding itself.

The couple is the minister and not the pastor

In a Catholic marriage, the pastor only presides the sacrament. The spouses are the ministers of Christ’s grace who mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. The deacon or the priest witnesses, presides, and gives the blessing of the newly wed. (CCC1623)

Husband and wife submit to each other

The Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her,… This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:25, 32). (CCC 1616, 1659) Husbands have roles different from those of the wives but they all perform the same mission. They are ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. They also have the same dignity as human beings created in the image and likeness of God with the same chances of eternal life with God.

Unity, indissolubility, and openness to life

These are the essential properties of marriage in the Catholic Church: unity, indissolubility, and openness to life. “Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter – appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. (CCC 1643)

Holy Matrimony refreshes the spouses’ souls

There are three sacraments involved in the Sacrament of Matrimony: Confession, Eucharist, and Matrimony. This means that all mortal and venial sins are gone after availing these sacraments. This is what sacraments really do: they sanctify the souls of the spouses so they can start fresh of their new mission which is to build a new community in their new household. And because Christ himself instituted the sacraments, Christ himself dwells with the newly wed, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,” (CCC 1642)

Matrimony creates a new domestic church

The Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.” (CCC 1655-57)

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.

Tertullian, Ad uxorem. 2,8,6-7:PL 1,1412-1413; cf. FC 13.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!