The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 1601
What does the Catholic Church believe about Matrimony?
The Catholic Church believes that Christian marriage is so sacred and holy a bond that we call it a “Sacrament.” A Sacrament is a sign, instituted by Christ, to show God’s love to the world and bring grace, joy and comfort to us. The Sacrament of Marriage (also known as the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony) is intended by Christ to be a life-long commitment.
Marriage is a great sign of God’s love. The love of a married couple like a letter to us all from God, a sign to the world that God loves us all with a deep, abiding and boundless love.
Who is the “minister” in the Sacrament of Matrimony?
In this Sacrament, it is the couple who are the ministers of the Sacrament, and the priest or deacon who presides is the Church’s witness to the Sacrament.
What are the purposes of Matrimony?
Marriage is showing to the world that God’s love is real, and present and transformative. Married love is meant to bear fruit in the lives of the couple, the community and the world. Children are one obvious fruit of marriage. Other fruits include a growing love for one another, an ability to pray together, the strength to reach out in love and charity to others—the list goes on an on!
The growing and fruitful love of a couple is the best picture that we have of God’s love for us. When couples enter into the Sacrament of Matrimony, they receive the grace of that Sacrament. It is the grace to remain faithful and loving, even in the face of difficulty.
Beyond that, God’s grace is never “one size fits all,” and so the grace that each couple receives is in accord with the graces that they need.
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Theresa & Gerry Antle