I was, initially, going to write an article on the ministry that I work in concerning the annulment of a Catholic Marriage. After a discussion with my pastor and a few other ministry leaders I decided that it would be best to first write an article on what a sacramental marriage in the Church is and then follow up, at a later date, on what an annulment is. So please bookmark this article so that you can refer back to it when the article on annulments is published, so with no further ado we proceed to;
WHAT CONSTITUTES A SACRAMENTAL MARRIAGE WITHIN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?
A Sacramental Marriage, in the Catholic Church is defined as follows, according to Canon Law:
Can. 1055 §1 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
- 2 Consequently, a valid marriage contract cannot exist between baptized persons without its being by that very fact a sacrament.
Can. 1056 The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility; in christian marriage they acquire a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament.
Can. 1057 §1 A marriage is brought into being by the lawfully manifested consent of persons who are legally capable. This consent cannot be supplied by any human power.
- 2 Matrimonial consent is an act of will by which a man and a woman by an irrevocable covenant mutually give and accept one another for the purpose of establishing a marriage.
In other words a Sacramental Marriage, in the Catholic Church, is a marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman who are consenting to a marriage covenant that entails that they will be faithful to each other until the death of the spouse, that they will be fully open to the procreation of children and that they will live their lives for the good of the other “until death do they part.”
This means that a Sacramental Catholic Marriage exists for the good of the husband, the wife and the children. So when we think about what the Catholic Church believes is the “ultimate good,” one would have to say ones eternal salvation. It would naturally follow that the Sacrament of Marriage was instituted by Christ so that the husband and the wife can love each other and their children into heaven. When one takes this approach and realizes how Christ offered Himself on the Cross to love us into heaven by giving His very life for our salvation, it places a mighty standard for us to imitate. Though we, most likely, will not have to hang on a cross for our spouse, we often do have to bear the crosses of our everyday lives, and do so with a cheerful heart knowing that we are doing so for those who we love most in this world!
Your servant in Christ,