Sacrament of Matrimony

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"Let all kinds of submission to one another become obedience to Christ.  So wives to their husbands: as to the Lord.  The husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, of whom he is also the Savior.  As as the Church submits to Christ, so let a wife submit in everything to her husband.  As for you, husbands, love your wives as Christ love the Church and gave himself up for her.   He washed her and made her holy by baptism in the Word.  As he wanted a radiant Church without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless, he himself had to prepare and present her to himself.  In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself.   And no one has ever hated his body; he feeds and takes care of it.  That is just what Christ does for the Church because we are a part of his body.  Scripture says: Because of this, a man shall leave his father and mother to be united with his wife and the two shall become one flesh.  This is a very great mystery and I refer to Christ and the Church.  As for you, let each one love his wife as himself and let the wife respect her husband."  (Ephesians 5:21-33)

What is the Sacrament of Matrimony?  Matrimony is the Sacrament made by Jesus Christ to sanctify (make holy) the lawful union of a Christian man and a Christian woman.

Was marriage always a Sacrament?  No, marriage, although always a sacred union of man and woman, was raised to the dignity of a Sacrament by Jesus Christ.

What does this Sacrament do for a couple?  It unites them in an indissoluble (unbreakable) union until death.  It makes Sanctifying Grace grow in their souls.  It gives them special helps to perform their duties as married people and to overcome the difficulties that may come into their married life.

Who may receive the Sacrament of Matrimony?  Only those who have been baptised and are free to marry.

What is necessary to receive this Sacrament worthily?  You have to be free of mortal sin.

What kind of sin is it to receive this Sacrament unworthily?  A mortal sin of sacrilege.  However the marriage is valid.

Do Catholics have to be married at Mass?  No, but it is certainly fitting that they do so.  The special Mass for a Catholic wedding is called the Nuptial Mass.  Traditionally, this Mass was not celebrated for a mixed marriage nor during Lent or Advent.  But now it may be celebrated, if the couple desires it.   Also, it can now be said during Lent and Advent save from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday.

What should a Catholic do who wants to marry?  Preparations for the wedding should be made with one of the priests at least 6 months before your intended date of marriage.   These preparations must include the Catholic Marriage Preparation Weekend conducted by the archdiocese or the six weeks program conducted at the parish.  The Catholic must also attend the CHOICE program before the couple is allowed to marry in this parish.  Do Not Go Ahead with your Civil Registration without informing the Parish Priest.  Do Not Fix the wedding date before consulting with the Priest.  Parents should not come to see the priest on behalf of their children.  Let the children come and see the priest for the inquiries.  Get the recommendation letter from the BEC Leader.

What is the only way a Catholic can be married?  Only in the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses.  Occasionally other arrangements can be made, but this requires a dispensation in advance from the bishop and can be done only for a sufficiently grave reason.

What happens if a Catholic is not married by a priest?  A Catholic who goes through a marriage ceremony before anyone other than a Catholic priest is not married.  Such a couple has to separate or have the marriage made valid.

What if a Catholic goes through a marriage ceremony before a Protestant minister?  Such a person is not married and is guilty of mortal sin.   Traditionally this sin also carried the penalty of automatic excommunication.   This meant that such a person could not receive any of the Sacraments nor have a Catholic funeral.  However, although this penalty no longer applies, a Catholic who goes through a marriage ceremony outside the Catholic Church still commits a grave sin.

May a Catholic marry a non-Catholic?  Traditionally, no.   However in today's society, marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic is very common and acceptable within the Christian community.  A marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic is called a mixed marriage.

Why does the Church forbid mixed marriages?  Because of the danger of loss of faith on the part of the Catholic and of the children.  The different religious beliefs of the parents may cause serious arguments on such important matters as divorce, birth control, Sunday Mass, eating meat on Friday and the Catholic education of the children.

Were mixed marriages forbidden in the Bible?  Yes, mixed marriages were strictly forbidden by God.  "Do not make any covenant with them or have compassion on them.  Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons, or taking their daughters for your sons, because they would seduce your children to abandon me and adore strange gods for which the anger of Yahweh would burn against you and then he would destroy you"  (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)

Who is the only one who can allow a mixed marriage?  Only the bishop and he can give permission only for a serious reason.

In a mixed marriage, what must the Catholic promise?  The Catholic must sign promises to remain a Catholic and to do his/her utmost best to see   that the children are baptised and brought up as Catholics.  Also the Catholic party must inform the non-Catholic of  these promises.

Are the marriages of non-Catholics valid?  Yes provided all the laws of God concerning marriage are observed, the marriages of non-Catholics among themselves are valid and therefore cannot be broken.

 
Baptism    Confirmation    Holy Eucharist    Reconciliation    Last Rites    Holy Orders    Matrimony

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