Marriage – Sacrament


(Our Love)

Peace be to you.

Marriage-  Unbreakable bond until death:

Before speaking of marriage as a sacrament, it is important to show that, in the natural order, in the human order, that is to say in the order apart from grace, marriage is an unbreakable bond until death parts.

This was affirmed by our Blessed Lord.


Question of divorce:

The Pharisees came to Him on one occasion and asked if it was right for any man to put away his wife for any cause whatsoever.  (Mark 10:2 ) Our Blessed Lord answered, “Have you never read how He created them when they first came to be – created them male and female and how He said, “A man therefore will leave his father and mother and will cling to his wife and the two will become one flesh and so they are no longer two. (Genesis 2:24 ) They are one flesh.  What God then has joined, let no man put asunder.”  (Mark 10:2-9)

It is to be remarked that in these words of our Blessed Lord that he was speaking of marriage from the beginning, and when therefore the question of divorce arose, our Blessed Lord said, “And I tell you that he who puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery and he, too, commits adultery who marries her after she has been put away.” (Mark 10:10-12)


  • These words sound like a great judgment upon a civilization such as ours, where there is one divorce for every four marriages and many consequent remarriages after such divorces. (1950)


It must therefore not be thought that divorces and remarriages are wrong for Catholics only.  They are indeed especially wrong for Catholics.


  • They are a violation of the Law of God – the natural law of God, by everyone, whether he be Tibetan, or Moslem or Hottentots or a so-called Christian.




Original sin and the deluge did not block out the Divinely established order of man and woman.  Conjugal love conquered both, the deluge and original sin and survived both, and we will see later on, how our Blessed Lord is going to lift it Up into the supernatural order. 


Human Natural Order:

We are interested, for the moment, only in the human, natural order. The point is that it was instituted, that is to say, marriage, not by man but by God.

  • He made it a Union, not a contract. By it two persons become one.

They become Spiritually, mentally and physically united. Certainly, there are judges who will grant divorces, but how does God look upon them?  After the divorce, they are not two separate individuals as they were before the marriage.  They are fragments of a joint personality, like a babe that has been cut in two. That is the way God looks upon any divorce, regardless of who the person be.


Nature of Love:

Now from another point of view, this marriage of man and woman is meant to be an enduring marriage by the very nature of love. There are only two words in the vocabulary of love: you and always.

  • You, because love is unique.
  • Always, because love is enduring.

No one ever said, “I will love you for two years and six months.” That is why all the love songs have the ring of eternity about them, such as “till the sands of the desert grow cold”.

  • Why is there jealousy in the human heart, if jealousy be not the safeguard of monogamy and an enduring marriage?


Consider a little more closely the Nature of Love, even in the human order.  There are actually three terms:

  1. there is the Lover,
  2. there is the Beloved and
  3. there is Love.

And the Love is something distinct from both, man and woman and yet in both.  Suppose Love had only two terms: my love and thy love.  There would be separateness, impenetrability.  There has to be a third acting element, just as two vines, if they are to be one, must be united in the soil.

  • And so, too, two hearts are united because of the Love that is outside both. Then the impotence of the I to completely posse the thou is overcome by the realization that there is something outside of both, hovering over, turning the I and the thou into “Our Love”.


  • That is why people who are in love always speak of “Our Love”, and though they may not put their love in these words, this is practically what they are saying one to the other. Thou art more than thou alone, and my love no longer founders on thee because it reaches out beyond thee to all that is worth Loving.  When we embrace, we embrace more than one another. In embracing one another, we give testimony of that by which we are embraced, namely, by the Love of God. God gave to man a helpmate, as the book of Genesis put it, “man and woman both He created them”.  (Genesis 1:26-28)


Now notice how He made them to complement one another, never once admitting any such thing as a separation.


***Man is made by God and woman is made by God from man.***


**Because man comes directly from God, he has more initiative, power, and creativeness


**Woman, however, coming from God- through the ecstasy of man, has intuition, response, acceptance, submission, and cooperation.


**Man lives more in the external world because he was made from dust.  He is close to nature.  It is man’s mission to rule over it and subject it.


**But a woman lives more in the internal order because she was created from an inner human life.


Man is more interested in the outer world and woman in the inner world.  That is why man talks more about business and woman talks more about persons. They compliment one another in a Divine Way. So, when God made them, the book of Genesis puts it, It is not well that man should be without companionship.  I will give him a mate of his own kind.”  The Divine Creation, therefore of the two sexes, is suggested as essential from the point of view of fellowship. (Genesis 2:20-24)


**A helpmate does not mean inferiority but differences that complement one another like a bow and a violin. **


  • Therefore, you see, Marriage is not just a contract, it is a Union and a union that has been made by God and a Union that endures until death.






Marriage in the Supernatural Order:    

Here we are limiting ourselves to the human order but you know very well from this encyclopedia of Catholic knowledge so far that there is not only a natural order but also a Supernatural Order.  We live not only in the order of the human but we can also live in the Order of the Divine.


In addition to physical life, there is Supernatural life–  which is Grace and Grace is that participation in the Divine Nature by which our intellects are illuminated with Faith and our wills are strengthened with Power.


  • Our Blessed Lord in coming to this earth, bringing Divine Life, being the source of Grace through His Passion, death, Resurrection and Ascension, makes Marriage a Sacrament.
  • That is to say now to those who are united in His Church, He gives them the Grace, the Strength, the Power to live out their mutual existences.


Being a Sacrament, it has two elements just like every other Sacrament.  One is very visible and evident.

  • It is the exchange of consent, which is signified not only by the joining of hands but also by the words of consent and this is witnessed by a priest.
  • There is the invisible Grace also which is communicated for their married state and because this Grace symbolizes another marriage, the marriage of Christ and His Church, that is the meaning of Sacramental Marriage.


The Marriage of Christ and His Church:

This needs considerable explanation.  You will find it written all through the epistles of St. Paul.

For example, here we quote Paul: “It is unheard of that a man should bear ill will to his own flesh and blood It is unheard of that a man should bear ill will to his own flesh and blood, no he keeps it fed and warmed. So, it is with Christ and His Church. The two will become One Flesh. Yes, these words are a high mystery.  I am applying them here to Christ and the Church.”  (Ephesians 5:28-32)

  • And he says in another place: “Husbands, love your wives.” Now, how?

As Christ loves the Church(Ephesians 5:25 ) We come here to a very profound reason.  As St. Paul calls it, as you see, a high mystery.  The reason why the Marriage of baptized persons in the Church signifies another marriage.

  • For all through the Old Testament and in the New, God expresses His relationship with man in terms of nuptials. In the Old Testament God always spoke of Himself as the Bridegroom, as the Husband of Israel, which was the Kahal. So, Israel, or the chosen people, or the Kahal, was considered by God in the Old Testament as the Bride of God. (Isaiah 62:4-6)


If we had time we would give you many, many passages in the Old Testament to show how God could find no other symbol of His love for the Kahal and for Israel and for the vehicle of His Revelation than the symbolism of Married Love.


In the due course of time, God becomes man:

In other words, the Bridegroom becomes man.  Well, did our Lord ever call Himself the Bridegroom?  Yes, He did, and He did it in such a very natural way that the people were not at all astounded when they heard Him because they knew the background of God being related to their people as the Bridegroom.


One of the occasions which our Blessed Lord spoke of Himself that way was when a question was hurled at Him as to why His disciples did not fast, whereas the disciples of John the Baptist did fast.  The answer of our Lord was, “Can you expect the men of the Bridegroom’s company to go fasting when the Bridegroom is still with them?”  And He went on to say that the Bridegroom would be taken away.  (Mark 2:18-20)

John the Baptist called himself, “the friend of the Bridegroom”.  In other words, a kind of best man.  (John 3:29)

  • I think there is beautiful mystery hidden somewhere in the marriage feast of Cana. Our Lord began His public life by assisting in that marriage feast, typified that His relationship with His Church would be exactly like the relationship unfolded in the Old Testament. (John 2:1-11)
  • And therefore, when the old Kahal of Israel became the new Kahal or the Church or the New Israel through Redemption and Pentecost, we had the continuation of this symbolism. Eve was the continuation of the body of man, bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh.


What is the Church?  

The Church in the New Testament is described as the new Eve because of the continuation of the new Adam, Christ.  Everywhere there is the idea of espousals, body, and oneness.  We must get first things first.  (Ref 1 Corinthians 15:21-23)


***Remember that the Union of Our Lord in the Church is not like human marriage; rather, human marriage is like the Union of our Lord with the Church.


***When, therefore, the bridegroom and bride stand at the altar and we read to them the marriage ceremony, we are informing them that you, the bridegroom, stand for Christ, and you, the bride, stand for the Church.


***That is the Mysterious Grace that is conferred upon you.  How beautiful marriage becomes!

***Scripture also goes on to tell us that just as Christ is the head of the Church, so man is the head of a woman.  ( Ephesians 5:23)


Christ is head of the Church:

Perhaps I should have put that the other way around. Suppose that I just said that man is the head of woman.  Very often when women read that passage in scripture they do not like it. But they should read what follows, that man is head of a woman in exactly the same way that Christ is the head of the Church. (Ephesians 5:22-23)


Now how was our Lord the Head of the Church, the Head of His Bride? Well, He was the head by dying and sacrificing Himself and pouring out His blood. The headship was based upon self-forgetfulness for the sake of the Beloved.


Now how is the wife related to the husband?

Well, she is related to the husband in the same way that the Church is related to our Blessed Lord. As the husband is to sacrifice himself for the wife, so, too, the wife, like the Church, is to be related to her husband just as the Church to our Lord through Love, Service, Devotion and striving for Perfection.


  • Perhaps one of the reasons why a woman’s head must always be covered in church is to signify that man is the head of the woman as Christ is the head of the church. In other words, there is something over the head of a woman, namely her husband, as there is something over the head of the Church, namely Christ Himself. That is not superiority, that is Sacrifice.


There is another conclusion to be drawn, too. And here we come to the Supernatural, Divine reason why the marriage of baptized persons is unbreakable.


*** It is because they symbolize the unbreakable, Eternal Union of our Lord and the Church. ***


  • When the Son of God came to this earth and took upon Himself a human nature, which flowered into His Mystical Body, the Church, He did not take it for three years, for thirty-three, but for all eternity.


  • So, too, when a husband takes a wife, he takes that wife as Christ took the Church. He takes that wife until death does him part. And in order to symbolize that endearing union of the Espousals of Christ and His Church, they are to Love one another until death separate them.


Hidden in this very lovely description of the symbolism of marriage is also the fact that there can be only one Church.

Remember that in this scripture the Church is the bride of Christ. Do you think that our Lord could have many brides, many spouses? That would be spiritual adultery, would it not?  He does not have 200 varieties of spouses or churches.

  • There is One Spouse, there is One Church, and that union continues forever.


That, then, is the reason why the marriage of husband and wife is unbreakable in the sacramental part.


Here is a little theoretical problem, and sometimes not so theoretical which helps bring out this truth.  Just suppose that John and Mary were married at a nuptial Mass and they went to the Church door and when they got there they separated and they never saw one another again. Could that marriage be dissolved? Yes, under certain conditions it could be dissolved. That is called a marriage “ratum non consummatum”, that is to say, it is a marriage ratified in the Church but it was never consummated by union of two in one flesh.


Now why could that be dissolved under certain conditions? Simply because the union of a husband and wife in a marriage that is only ratified but not consummated, is something like the union of the individual soul in Christ by Grace.


  • The individual soul is very often separated from Christ, through sin. There can be a falling out of that union.


  • But where you have a marriage that is not only ratified but also consummated, there the symbolism is not the union of the individual soul and Christ, but the symbolism of the Union of Christ and His spouse, the Church, and those two can never be separated and therefore their marriage is absolutely unbreakable. How beautiful marriage is in the church!


Fidelity is an engagement with the future and when that future is eternity, when the soul knows that it cannot be saved unless it is faithful to the spouse, it remains faithful even in the midst of trials.


As God’s Love is never withdrawn from the Church, so too the love of husband and wife are never withdrawn one from another.  It is made in the full consciousness that their love is a proclamation to the world of another marriage, a Marriage that gives us Joy and Happiness, the beautiful Union of Christ and His bride, the Church.


God love you.

1.   In today’s lesson on – MARRIAGE – SACRAMENT

–  what stood out the most to you?




 2. Why do you think Bishop Sheen gave the subtitle “Our Love to this lesson?



 3. How would you explain to someone seeking a deeper understanding of MARRIAGE – SACRAMENT?



 4. Now that you have learned more about – MARRIAGE – SACRAMENT

–       what changes do you think this will have in your daily life?

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Marriage in the Lord

  1. 1612. “The nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for ‘the wedding-feast of the Lamb.’[Rev 19:7, 9; cf. GS 22.]
  2. 1613. “On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign – at his mother’s request – during a wedding feast.[Cf. Jn 2:1-11 .] The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence. “
  3. 1614. “In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one’s wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts.[Cf. Mt 19:8 .] The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it ‘what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’[Mt 19:6 .]
  4. 1615. “This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy – heavier than the Law of Moses.[Cf. Mk 8:34 ; Mt 11:29-30 .] By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to ‘receive’ the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.[Cf. Mt 19:11 .] This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life.”
  5. 1616. “This is what 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,’ adding at once: ”For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.’[Eph 5:25-26, 31-32 ; Cf. Gen 2:24 .]
  6. 1617. “The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath[Cf. Eph 5:26-27 .] which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant.[Cf. DS 1800; CIC, Can. 1055 # 2.]
Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom
  1. 1618. “Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social.[Cf. Lk 14:26 ; Mk 10:28-31 .] From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming.[Cf. Rev 14:4; 1 Cor 7:32 ; Mt 2:56 .] Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model:
    ‘For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.’
    [Mt 19:12 .]
  2. 1619. “Virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return, a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away.[Cf. Mk 12:25 ; 1 Cor 7:31 .]


  1. 1620. “Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will.[Cf. Mt 19:3-12 .] Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom[Cf. LG 42; PC 12; OT 10.] and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:
    Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be truly good. The most excellent good is something even better than what is admitted to be good.
    [St. John Chrysostom, De virg. 10, 1 PG 48, 540; Cf. John Paul II, FC 16.]
  1. 1621. “In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.[Cf. SC 61.] In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.[Cf. LG 6.] It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but ‘one body’ in Christ.[Cf. 1 Cor 10:17 .]
  2. 1622. “‘Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage . . . must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful.’[FC 67.] It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance.”
  3. 1623. “In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ’s grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament (which is called ‘Crowning’) is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant.”
  4. 1624. “The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God’s grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church.[Cf. Eph 5:32 .] The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity. “
  1. 1625. “The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; ‘to be free’ means:
    – not being under constraint;
    – not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.”
  2. 1626. “The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that ‘makes the marriage.’[CIC, can. 1057 # 1.] If consent is lacking there is no marriage.”
  3. 1627. “The consent consists in a ‘human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other’: ‘I take you to be my wife’ – ‘I take you to be my husband.’[GS 48 # 1; OCM 45; cf. CIC, can. 1057 # 2.] This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two ‘becoming one flesh.’[Gen 2:24 ; cf. Mt 10:8 ; Eph 5:31 .]
  4. 1628. “The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear.[Cf. CIC, can. 1103.] No human power can substitute for this consent.[Cf. CIC, can. 1057 # 1.] If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid. “
  5. 1629. “For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed.[Cf. CIC, cann. 1095-1107.] In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged.[Cf. CIC, can. 1071.]
  6. 1630. “The priest (or deacon) who assists at the celebration of a marriage receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church. The presence of the Church’s minister (and also of the witnesses) visibly expresses the fact that marriage is an ecclesial reality. “
  7. 1631. “This is the reason why the Church normally requires that the faithful contract marriage according to the ecclesiastical form. Several reasons converge to explain this requirement:[Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1813-1816; CIC, can. 1108.]
    – Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act. It is therefore appropriate that it should be celebrated in the public liturgy of the Church;
    – Marriage introduces one into an ecclesial order, and creates rights and duties in the Church between the spouses and towards their children; – Since marriage is a state of life in the Church, certainty about it is necessary (hence the obligation to have witnesses);
    – The public character of the consent protects the ‘I do’ once given and helps the spouses remain faithful to it.”
  8. 1632. “So that the ‘I do’ of the spouses may be a free and responsible act and so that the marriage covenant may have solid and lasting human and Christian foundations, preparation for marriage is of prime importance.
    The example and teaching given by parents and families remain the special form of this preparation.
    The role of pastors and of the Christian community as the ‘family of God’ is indispensable for the transmission of the human and Christian values of marriage and family,
    [Cf. CIC, can. 1063.] and much more so in our era when many young people experience broken homes which no longer sufficiently assure this initiation:
    It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise, so that, having learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter upon a marriage of their own.
    [GS 49 # 3.]



  1. 1650. “Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’[Mk 10:11-12 .] the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.”
  2. 1651. “Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons:
    They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God’s grace.
    [FC 84.]
  3. 2382. “The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble.[Cf. Mt 5:31-32 ; Mt 19:3-9 ; Mk 10 9 ; Lk 16:18 ; 1 Cor 7:10-ll .] He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law.[Cf. Mt 19:7-9 .]
    Between the baptized, ‘a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.’
    [CIC, can. 1141.]









  1. 2384. “Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:
    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery, and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.
    [St. Basil, Moralia 73, 1: PG 31, 849-852.]
  2. 2385. “Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society. “
  3. 2386. “It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.[Cf. FC 84.]


Church annulment,

  1. 1629. “For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed.[Cf. CIC, cann. 1095-1107.] In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged.[Cf. CIC, can. 1071.]




Conjugal Separation
  1. 1649. “Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. The spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble.[Cf. FC 83; CIC, cann. 1151-1155.]
  2. 2383. “The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.[Cf. CIC, cann. 1151-1155.]
    If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense. “
Human Freedom
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