Catholic Marriage

Marriage, also known as matrimony, is a sacrament in the Catholic Church; it is the union of one male to one female in order to come closer to God and is the appropriate venue in which to bear children. Marriage is a sacred covenant between each spouse with each other and with God.

A sacrament is an outward expression of inward grace. Sacramentally speaking, each spouse in the marriage acts as a conduit of God’s grace to the other spouse, hence the reason it is a sacrament. Christ is the source of this grace and the spouses serve as Christ to each other.

Conditions for a Sacramental Marriage

In order for the marriage to be considered a sacramental marriage, it must meet the following conditions:

  • Each person must be baptised.
  • Each person is entering into the marriage upon their own free will; neither person could be coerced into marriage.
  • Each person must not be impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.

Prior to marriage, a couple will be required to undergo marriage preparation. This is not wedding planning, but rather it is to help couples lay a strong foundation for their marriage.

A Catholic is permitted to marry a baptised non-Catholic and is referred to by the Church as a mixed marriage.

In a marriage ceremony, it is not the priest who marries the couple, but rather it is the man and woman who marry each other. The two joining in matrimony are the ones conferring the sacrament upon each other and not through the priest or deacon.

A marriage is considered consummated upon sexual intercourse of the married spouses. Sexual intercourse is considered the full physical expression of the joining of the man and woman in marriage and is analogous to God’s expression of love for us.

Children are often considered fruit of a marriage, but the ability to bear children is not a prerequisite to marriage. A married couple is not required to have children, but the Church teaches that if there is no reason not to have children that married couples should have children. Having children allows us to participate as co-creators with God and is one of the greatest gifts given by God.

Marriage is intended to be a union that lasts until the death of one of the spouses. It is a union that God has brought together and no person is able to dissolve that union. The annulment process is not a Catholic divorce, but rather it is a process that determines if the marriage was ever really a marriage (meeting the conditions above for a sacramental marriage).

Comments

  1. Kit Yeager says

    I was married in 1973. I was 19. I did not understand what marriage was all about. I I married a catholic boy. We were married in a Catholic Church. By a priest. I am not catholic, I have never even been baptized ( in any church). We had 4 children , which I (by myself) raised catholic. I tried to be a good catholic wife and mother. We stayed married for 24 years. After years of physical and emotional abuse and neglect. I left and got a divorce. My children are all grown and doing well. I meet another person and we are now married. Through all my contact with the church while raising my children as Catholics I grew to love the church. Now I feel a very strong desire to convert to catholism AND a very strong need to have my marriage be blessed and performed by a priest. Is this just a desire or is it in any way a possibility?

  2. Katie says

    Hello,
    My fiance is Lutheran and I am Catholic. We wanted to get married on the beach that we got engaged on. However, my parents want us to get married in the church. My dad brought up that he thought that unless we get married in a Catholic church that the marriage won’t be recognized by the Catholic church therefore our future children won’t be able to be baptized due to being born “out of wedlock” despite being born after the actual marriage. Is this true? Is there any difference if the ceremony is still outside but performed by a Catholic priest?

  3. Vivianna Tristan says

    I know some people at our church, who are not married in the Catholic faith. We have asked them that they are not to receive the Eucharist they have ignored us and Iam a Eucharist minister. How do I handle this ,

  4. jlake says

    Hello Jon,

    I was wondering if there was a way to find out if my ex-wife has filed for an annulment through her church. We were divorced in August of last year and she was unfaithful to me on at least two occasions I can think of, among other things I will not take up your time with but she had expressed to me at one point that she thought she would never be able to get an annulment. She is Catholic and I am not but we were married in a Catholic church in a Catholic ceremony. I am just wanting to find out for personal and other reasons. Could I contact my local church here? The divorce was last year and I have never heard anything from her, as I do not want to talk to her. Thank you.

    • says

      It is my understanding that both parties to the marriage are involved in the annulment process. In other words, if she had proceeded with trying to have your marriage annulled you would know about it since you would have been part of the process. If you were never contacted by the parish or the diocese, given any paperwork related to an annulment, or contacted about it in any manner, most likely she did not start the process.

  5. says

    My parents were marriedin the Catholic Church,my Mom divorced my father although he refused to sign divorce papaers for 12 years as they both were devoute catholics. My Mother divorced my father,and her true blood sister passed away from Cancer. One year later, her sisters husband married my Mom at a courthouse becsuse the catholic church refused to marry them in the church. So can my Moms husband have a service or a mass or my Mother in a Catholic Curch. ? What can we do to stop this especially on hef birthday,

  6. justthefacts says

    So, no matter what the other spouse does it cannot be dissolved? When unchastity is brought into the issue as Christ spoke .”but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, EXCEPT FOR THE REASON OF UNCHASTITY , makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery”..the wording “Chastity” …Christ said it about DIVORCE making UNCHASTITY Be applied to a “real marriage” not just a “natural marriage” which would be a non sacramental marriage ..so someone unchaste can be removed! Again he spoke of Unchaste in the same passage he spoke of DIVORCE and the Divorce he spoke of was about the marriage God intended ..so since UNCHASTITY was mentioned in relation to a God made marriage “real marriage” If you are Unchaste a marriage can be dissolved in this instance ….To further back up that being unfaithful to your spouse grants a divorce and shows what the wording of being unchaste meant is this ….adultery was a death penalty even when Christ walked the earth ..there would be no need for papers! death would be the result and the person who HAD been married was free to remarry because their unfaithful partner was dead ..So what being unchaste meant cleared up it is infidelity cheating on your spouse ..this allows divorce ..and makes sense that it is the exception because christ did not come to void the law ..since death was the penalty ,so now the one who is unfaithful and leaves is considered dead to the marriage

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