Here is the question...
Since Vatican 2 the sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders have been understood as 'sacraments' of Christian ministry'. How is this understanding of these two sacraments reflected in the church's contemporary theology of Marriage and Holy Orders?

Several individuals have been concerned with the understanding of the sacraments of holy matrimony and the holy orders in the church's contemporary theology. for instance

1st a

The Catholic custom educates that sacraments are an outward signs, incidents that are clear in our understanding, of the unseen truth of God's grace in our lives, which is practiced only indirectly by its consequence on our lives. And the customary lessons goes further. Not only do sacraments spot the approaching of grace with a noticeable symbol, but they bring about the realism of refinement by the means they connect us to the person of Jesus Christ present in the society which is his house of worship. In the case of the sacraments of occupation this is clear in the way these sacraments begin individuals into a duty, a service, in the church society. since the outcome of the sacraments is connected to the outer symbol, which should be as comprehensible and fluent as possible. To a great level the society itself is constitutive of the symbol, and is thus vital in calling forward the gifts of the occupation in which each individual is well-known and established in each sacrament of occupation.

1st b

The Bible pioneers us to a widespread custom of sacramental movement.For example the Hebrew Scriptures do not utilize any phrase that we would interpret as sacrament, but portray acts of worship base on representation. The most significant of these is the Passover festivity, but there are many others. However, in the New Testament Jesus built on these obtainable customs of worship, as well as on the narratives and descriptions of the Scriptures in his events and in his teachings. Consequently, the sacraments we rejoice in nowadays are all developed from these events and teachings of Jesus. And that is why we refer to Matrimony Holy Orders as the sacraments of occupation, a statement that originates from the Latin for 'call'. Meaning that, all of us are called by God. As a matter of fact, we are called at different levels, and increasingly all through our lives, we are called into existence, into human self-respect and accountability, and into certain associations, societies and tasks. Most significantly ,we are called into an cherished spiritual union with God that does not come as expected but must be required and refined within the grace, or a particular outreach, of God.

The rites of marriage and priesthood are examined from theological, historical and structural point of view. The complementary offices and responsibilities in the house of worship are differentiated and explained. The pastoral ministry of the ordained is viewed in its ecclesiological context and purpose, with concentration given to a suitable understanding of rank. Special concentration is provided to the sacramentality of matrimony, a theology of sexuality, and the association between matrimony and celibacy.

2nd part

The Christian perception is that, despite the fact all of the complex human tradition of disputes and competitions, maltreatment and unfairness, chauvinism and eliminations, matrimony in the grace of Christ are redemptive. They are authorized to exceed all the troubles and to make families and relationships all over the community that bring health and completeness and pleasure both within their individual family circle and in the wider society. This too is an necessary part of building the church, the society of the believers of Jesus. This also is a sacrament of occupation, of the passion to build up the church that contributes in the work of salvation.

The sacraments of priesthood and matrimony are headed towards individual redemption and the building of the People of God. In the early existence of the Church, believers were encouraged to get married to other believers and bring up their off springs according to the illustration presented by Jesus; the matrimony was celebrated as a public issue and was not ruled by Church sacramental rules.

It was not until the 12th century that matrimony was being recognized as a sacrament by Church theologians, although from around four hundred CE Church leaders started their participation in the rite of marriage.

In the sacrament of matrimony, viewed by the Church as symbolizing and dividing the secrecy of the harmony and true love between Christ and the Church, Married couples are to develop in the alertness that their calling is one of assisting one another, in Godliness, in their matrimonial life and in the bringing up the children. This is viewed that, the birth of off springs that may lead to marriage of believers, and the baptism of these children, helps the People of God, the Body of Christ, to be enabled throughout the centuries.

From earlier periods Christian marriage has been seen as being fixed in the notion and realism of self-gift, with this gifting of oneself entirely to the other reflecting the actuality of God, Married partners, together with all people of the Body of Christ, are sustained and reinforced in their vocation through the welcome of the Eucharist. The meaning the Church places on the Eucharist in the blessing of matrimony can be viewed in the Catechism where it states:

It is thus proper that the partners should seal their approval to offer themselves to one another through submission of their individual lives by joining it to the offering of Christ that is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by getting the Eucharist so that, speaking in the similar Body and the similar Blood of Christ, they may form one body of Christ.

However, during earlier periods in the house of worship, coordination of leadership developed to assist the society live its life in the way they felt Jesus identified them to.

Finally this offered increase to a number of offices, bishop, presbyter, deacon, which needed a ceremony of ordination so as to complete that office It is about two fifteen CE, with the Apostolic custom of Hippolytus that the house of worship is capable of tracing the original existing rite of ordination, providing a clear sign of the earliest reality and performance of ordination.

When we perceive the complementarily of these sacraments of occupation, we are observing the house of worship in a manner that may be new and thus seems odd. Some may even imagine that this is a more Protestant method of observing our Christian being collectively and at the nature and purpose of the house of worship. So far this organic means of viewing the house of worship and our positions inside it is built right into our sacramental performance and our theology of the sacraments. In addition, essentially and theologically there is no shared exceptionality between the sacraments of Matrimony Holy Orders. Though the present regulation of the Catholic church needs celibacy of its priests, that has not all time and all over been so. An individual can be named to assist in the building up of the body of the risen Christ, which is the society of followers, in two ways. He can be the one to bring the society collectively in Eucharist as well as being one of individuals who build up the society family by family in weaving the redemptive relations.

The two sacraments of occupation, similar to the entire sacraments, are not just celebrations that occur in a given moment and then are history. They are ongoing and continuously unfolding the truth in our existence as we remain heading towards full salvation and change that move us towards redemption, which is our correct connection with God and thus with one another.

The main fundamental calling of a believer is the call into discipleship of Jesus in a society of disciples. Thus the main fundamental sacrament of calling is in fact baptism, or more precisely initiation which is celebrated in first Eucharist, Confirmation, and Baptism. It initiates an individual into the membership and life of the house of worship. Therefore, the solemn festivity simultaneously of the heavenly invitation, of the reply of the person, and of the welcome of the society which is both the local meeting of followers of Jesus, and the great general People of God, the international church.

Nothing is actually superior or closer in the association we have with our maker than the grace and vocation of baptism. However, that vocation expressed by baptism, that calling of the baptized, plays out in different ways for different individuals. Amongst our 7 sacramental celebrations, we recognize this by a series of festivities shared by all, and by 2 festivities focused on the 2 crucial ways in which the church as society of salvation in the world is built up. And these 2 are usually identified as the sacraments of vocation.

 

Ordained members and Holy Orders

See also: Catholic Church hierarchy, College of Bishops, Priesthood (Catholic Church),and Deacon

Lay men become ordained through the sacrament of Holy Orders, and form a three-part hierarchy of bishops, priests and deacons. As a body the College of Bishops are considered to be the successors of the apostles.[137][138] Along with the pope, the College includes all the cardinals, patriarchs, primates, archbishops and metropolitans of the Church. Only bishops are able to perform the sacrament of Holy Orders, and Confirmation is ordinarily reserved to them as well (though priests may do it under special circumstances).[139] While bishops are responsible for teaching, governing and sanctifying the faithful of their diocese, priests and deacons have these same responsibilities at a more local level, the parish, subordinate to the ministry of the bishop. While all priests, bishops and deacons preach, teach, baptize, witness marriages and conduct wake and funeral services, only priests and bishops may celebrate the Eucharist or administer the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick.[140]

 

A priestly ordination at the abbey of Fontgombault in France

Although married men may become deacons, only celibate men are ordained as priests in the Latin Rite.[141][142] Clergy who have converted from other denominations are sometimes excepted from this rule.[143] The Eastern Catholic Churches ordain both celibate and married men.[144][145] All rites of the Catholic Church maintain the ancient tradition that, after ordination, marriage is not allowed. Men with transitory homosexual leanings may be ordained deacons following three years of prayer and chastity, but homosexual men who are sexually active, or those who have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies cannot be ordained.[146]

All programs for the formation of men to the Catholic priesthood are governed by Canon Law.[147] They are designed by national bishops' conferences such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and vary slightly from country to country. The conferences consult Vatican documents such as Pastores Dabo Vobis, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Optatam Totius and others to create these programs.[148] In some countries, priests are required to have a college degree plus another four years of full time theological study in a seminary. In other countries a degree is not strictly required, but seminary education is longer. Candidates for the priesthood are also evaluated in terms of human, spiritual and pastoral formation.[149] The sacrament of Holy Orders is always conferred by a bishop through the laying-on of hands, following which the newly ordained priest is formally clothed in his priestly vestments.[139]

Because the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus were all male, only men may be ordained in the Catholic Church.[150] While some consider this to be evidence of a discriminatory attitude toward women,[151] the Church believes that Jesus called women to different yet equally important vocations in Church ministry.[152] Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Christifideles Laici, states that women have specific vocations reserved only for the female sex, and are equally called to be disciples of Jesus.[153] This belief in different and complementary roles between men and women is exemplified in Pope Paul VI's statement "If the witness of the Apostles founds the Church, the witness of women contributes greatly towards nourishing the faith of Christian communities".[153]

[edit] Lay members, Marriage

See also: Laity

The laity consists of those Catholics who are not ordained clergy. Saint Paul compared the diversity of roles in the Church to the different parts of a bodyall being important to enable the body to function.[154] The Church therefore considers that lay members are equally called to live according to Christian principles, to work to spread the message of Jesus, and to effect change in the world for the good of others. The Church calls these actions participation in Christ's priestly, prophetic and royal offices.[155] Marriage, the single life and the consecrated life are lay vocations. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the Latin rite is the one sacrament not conferred by a priest or bishop. The couple desiring marriage act as the ministers of the sacrament while the priest or deacon serves as witness.[139] In Eastern rites, the priest or bishop administers the sacrament after the spouses grant mutual consent.[156] Church law makes no provision for divorce, however annulment may be granted in strictly defined circumstances. Since the Church condemns all forms of artificial birth control, married persons are expected to be open to new life in their sexual relations.[157] Natural family planning is approved.[158]

Lay ecclesial movements consist of lay Catholics organized for purposes of teaching the faith, cultural work, mutual support or missionary work.[159] Such groups include: Communion and Liberation, Neocatechumenal Way, Regnum Christi, Opus Dei, Life Teen and many others.[159] Some non-ordained Catholics practice formal, public ministries within the Church.[160] These are called lay ecclesial ministers, a broad category which may include pastoral life coordinators, pastoral assistants, youth ministers and campus ministers.[161]

[edit]

matrimony and orders

After definition (done)

The rites of marriage and priesthood are examined from theological, historical and structural point of view. The complementary offices and responsibilities in the house of worship are differentiated and explained. The pastoral ministry of the ordained is viewed in its ecclesiological context and purpose, with concentration given to a suitable understanding of rank. Special concentration is provided to the sacramentality of matrimony, a theology of sexuality, and the association between matrimony and celibacy.

The 2 sacraments

4th part

Finally, this brings us to the sacraments at the service of communion; the sacraments of priesthood and matrimony are headed towards individual redemption and the building of the People of God. In the early existence of the Church, believers were encouraged to get married to other believers and bring up their off springs according to the illustration presented by Jesus, The matrimony was celebrated as a public issue and was not ruled by Church sacramental rules. It was not until the 12th century that matrimony was being recognized as a sacrament by Church theologians, although from around four hundred CE Church leaders started their participation in the rite of marriage.

In the sacrament of matrimony, viewed by the Church as symbolizing and dividing the secrecy of the harmony and true love between Christ and the Church, Married couples are to develop in the alertness that their calling is one of assisting one another, in Godliness, in their matrimonial life and in the bringing up the children. This is viewed that, the birth of off springs that may lead to marriage of believers, and the baptism of these children, helps the People of God, the Body of Christ, to be enabled throughout the centuries.

From earlier periods Christian marriage has been seen as being fixed in the notion and realism of self-gift, with this gifting of oneself entirely to the other reflecting the actuality of God, Married partners, together with all people of the Body of Christ, are sustained and reinforced in their vocation through the welcome of the Eucharist. The meaning the Church places on the Eucharist in the blessing of matrimony can be viewed in the Catechism where it states: It is thus proper that the partners should seal their approval to offer themselves to one another through submission of their individual lives by joining it to the offering of Christ that is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by getting the Eucharist so that, speaking in the similar Body and the similar Blood of Christ, they may form one body of Christ.

However, during earlier periods in the house of worship, coordination of leadership developed to assist the society live its life in the way they felt Jesus identified them to. Finally this offered increase to a number of offices, bishop, presbyter, deacon, which needed a ceremony of ordination so as to complete that office It is about two fifteen CE, with the Apostolic custom of Hippolytus that the house of worship is capable of tracing the original existing rite of ordination, providing a clear sign of the earliest reality and performance of ordination. [92] By the eleventh century ordination had come to be generally considered a sacrament. [93] With the advent of Vatican II and the publication of the document 'The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy' (Sacrosanctum concilium) the Church states ... the prayers addressed to God by the priest who, in the person of Christ, presides over the assembly, are said in the name of the entire holy people and of all present. [94] That is, the priest acts for and in the name of the entire Eucharistic community. In further Vatican II documents the role of the priest is stated as thus:

...by reason of their sacerdotal dignity; and in virtue of the sacrament of Orders, after the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal priest ... they are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament ... However, it is in the eucharistic cult or in the eucharistic assembly of the faithful that they exercise ... their sacred functions ... and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again ... the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering ... a spotless victim to the Father. [95]

Once again the centrality of the Eucharist is evident. It is through the Eucharistic ministry of the priest that the presence of Christ can be actualised for the community of believers. [96] With the reception of this sacrament certain men are seen to receive a sacred power in order to serve the faithful through ... teaching, divine worship and pastoral governance. [97] The Church therefore sees the ordained priesthood as a means ... by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads [Christ's] Church.

Marriage

The Council brought about two major changes in our understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage. First, the Council speaks of marriage as a "covenant." The marriage covenant helps us think in biblical and interpersonal categories that reach beyond the legal categories of the marriage contract. The marriage covenant is a symbol of God's covenant with humanity.

Second, the Council taught that the purpose of marriage is not only to produce children but also to enable the couple to support one another in mutual love. Marriage is an "intimate partnership" of life and love (Church in the Modern World, #48). We look to the married couple as a sacrament, a sign to the world of God's love.

Both of these changes enrich our understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage. But they also open the door to new questions: Who is capable of a sacramental marriage? What are the qualities and conditions necessary for a marriage to be a sign of God's love for the Church? In a time when Catholic marriages are vulnerable to the stresses of modern life, the Church's support of married couples is vital.

Holy Orders

When we think of Holy Orders we usually think of the sacrament by which one becomes a priest. But Holy Orders ends in "s" because it names three sacramental orders: the Order of the Episcopate (bishops), the Order of Presbyters (priests), and the Order of Deacons. The Council had important things to say about each of these.

The Order of the Episcopate (Bishops). The Council affirmed that a bishop is ordained to the fullness of the Sacrament of Orders. By his ordination a bishop becomes a member of the College of Bishops and assumes responsibility not only for his own local Church but also for the universal Church.

The Order of Presbyters (Priests). We have all witnessed the drastic decline in the number of priests. Empty rectories, merged parishes, closed seminaries, "Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest"the bishops of Vatican II envisioned none of these things.

The Council made two major changes that radically affected the lives of priests. First, while the ordained have specific ministries within the Church, the Council affirmed that the basis of all ministry is Baptism into the Body of Christ. Second, the Council placed the priest in the midst of the baptized and said that priests should "work together with the lay faithful" (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis, #9).

To go from being "set apart from the faithful" to living "in the midst of the faithful" was a big change. The Council affirmed that priests are in a certain sense "set apart" but they are not to be "separated" from the People of God because priests cannot serve the faithful if they are strangers to their lives and conditions (PO, #3). Has this change in identity contributed to the decline in the number of priests?

The Order of Deacons. Deacons had ministered in the Western Church until about the fifth century. By the time of the Second Vatican Council, the Order of Deacons was simply a transitional stage for those "passing through" on their way to the priesthood. The Council restored the Order of Deacons, making it a permanent ministry in the Church. The bishops of the Council decided to permit married men to be ordained deacons. In 1967 there were no permanent deacons; today there are over 30,000 deacons worldwide.

PREPARATION
FOR THE SACRAMENT
OF MARRIAGE

INTRODUCTION

1. Preparation for marriage, for married and family life, is of great importance for the good of the Church. In fact, the sacrament of Marriage has great value for the whole Christian community and, in the first place, for the spouses whose decision is such that it cannot be improvised or made hastily. In the past, this preparation could count on the support of society which recognized the values and benefits of marriage. Without any difficulties or doubts, the Church protected the sanctity of marriage with the awareness that this sacrament represented an ecclesial guarantee as the living cell of the People of God. At least in the communities that were truly evangelized, the Church's support was solid, unitary and compact. In general, separations and marriage failures were rare, and divorce was considered a social "plague" (cf. Gaudium et Spes = GS, 47).

Today, on the contrary, in many cases, we are witnessing an accentuated deterioration of the family and a certain corrosion of the values of marriage. In many nations, especially economically developed ones, the number of marriages has decreased. Marriage is usually contracted at a later age and the number of divorces and separations is increasing, even during the first years of married life. All this inevitably leads to a pastoral concern that comes up repeatedly: Are the persons contracting marriage really prepared for it? The problem of preparation for the sacrament of Marriage and the life that follows emerges as a great pastoral need, first for the sake of the spouses, for the whole Christian community and for society. Therefore, interest in, and initiatives for providing adequate and timely answers to preparation for the sacrament of Marriage are growing everywhere.

2. Through on-going contact with the Episcopal Conferences and the Bishops in various meetings, and especially their "ad limina" visits, the Pontifical Council for the Family has carefully followed the pastoral concern regarding the preparation and celebration of the sacrament of Marriage and the life that follows. The Council has been repeatedly asked to offer an instrument for the preparation of Christian engaged persons which the present document represents. The Council has also drawn on the contributions from many Apostolic Movements, Groups and Associations working for the pastoral care of the family who have offered their support, advice and experience for the preparation of these guidelines.

Marriage preparation constitutes a providential and favourable period for those oriented toward this Christian sacrament, and a Kayrós, i.e., a period in which God calls upon the engaged and helps them discern the vocation to marriage and family life. The engagement period is set within the context of a rich evangelization process. In fact, questions that affect the family converge in the life of the engaged, the future spouses. They are therefore invited to understand the meaning of the responsible and mature love of the community of life and love which their family will be, a real domestic church which will contribute toward enriching the whole Church.

The importance of this preparation involves a process of evangelization which is both maturation and deepening in the faith. If the faith is weak or almost nonexistent (cf. Familiaris Consortio = FC 68), it must be revived. Thorough, patient instruction that arouses and nourishes the ardor of a living faith cannot be excluded. Especially where the environment has become paganized, it will be particularly advisable to offer a "journey of faith, which is similar to the catechumenate" (FC 66), and a presentation of the fundamental Christian truths that may help acquire or strengthen the maturity of the faith of the persons contracting marriage. It would be desirable if the favourable moment of marriage preparation could be transformed, as a sign of hope, into a New Evangelization for the future families.

3. This particular attention is highlighted by the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (GS 52), the guidelines of the Papal Magisterium (FC 66), the ecclesial norms themselves (Codex Iuris Canonici = CIC, can. 1063; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium = CCEO, can. 783), the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1632), and other documents of the Magisterium, including the Charter of the Rights of the Family. The two most recent documents of the Papal Magisterium the Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane and the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae (= EV) constitute a notable aid for our task.

The Sacraments of Vocation and Commitment:
Matrimony and Holy Order (Vatican II)

As happened with so many other theological and pastoral questions, the Catholic Church's perspective on marriage was significantly modified by the Second Vatican Council. In contrast with previous official pronouncements and conventional theological and canonical insights, the council adopts a remarkably personalistic standpoint. It no longer uses the traditional term contract to describe the marriage bond. Instead, the council speaks of the "marriage covenant" which is sealed by an "irrevocable personal consent" (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, n. 48).

Second, neither does the council continue to employ the old distinction between primary and secondary ends in which the begetting of children is always more important than the mutual love of (two people). "Hence, while not making the other ends of marriage of less value, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole nature of family life resulting from it, tend to dispose the spouses to cooperate courageously with the love of the creator and Savior who through them day by day expands and enriches His own family" (n. 50, italics McBrien's).

Third, the sacrament of marriage is not something added to the marriage union established through mutual human love. "Authentic married love is taken up into divine love and is ruled and enriched by the redemptive power of Christ and the salvific action of the Church ..."(n. 48). This new emphasis in the theology of marriage is consistent with the claims of contemporary sociology that this is the first age in which people marry and remain in marriage because they love each other. And so there is this stress on the mutual exchange of love constituting the sacrament of marriage, on married love as the source of the institution of marriage, on the need for growth in this love to bring the sacrament to its full realization, and on the need for the Church constantly to bring forth the witness value of this sacrament to the whole community of faith. As (two people) are called to be faithful, generous, and gracious to each other in fulfillment of their marriage covenant, so is the whole Church called to be faithful to its covenant with God in Christ. ...

Fourth, the council emphasizes the necessity of a faith commitment for the sacrament of marriage (see Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, n. 59). Marriage is not just a ceremony by which two people are legally bound together. As a sacrament, it is an act of worship, and expression of faith, a sign of the Church's unity, a mode of Christ's presence. ....

Fifth, the full consummation of marriage is more than a biological act. The old theology and the old canon law asserted that a marriage between two baptized Christians, once performed according to the rite of the Church (ratum) and once consummated by a single act of physical union (consummatum), can never be dissolved, not even by the pope. But according to the council, the expression of the mutual love which is at the heart of the sacrament consists of more than biological union. "It involves the good of the whole person. Therefore it can enrich the expressions of body and mind with a unique dignity, ennobling these expressions as special ingredients and signs of friendship distinctive of marriage.... Such love pervades the whole of (the spouses') lives" (n. 49...)

Finally, the broader ecclesial dimension of the sacrament is maintained. "Christian spouses, in virtue of the sacrament of matrimony, signify and share in the mystery of that union and fruitful love which exists between Christ and the Church (see Ephesians 5:32)" (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 11). (pp. 856-858)

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"Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Gospel of Matthew 19:6) Matrimony, The Seven Sacraments, Rogier van der Weyden, ca. 1445.

Stages for catholic marriage

Catholic marriage, also called matrimony, is an indissoluble bond between a man and a woman, created by human contract and ratified by divine grace. It is one of the seven sacraments. It is ordinarily celebrated in a Nuptial Mass.

The nature of the covenant requires that the two participants be one man and one woman, that they be free to marry, that they willingly and knowingly enter into a valid marriage contract, and that they validly execute the performance of the contract.

On the exact definition of each of these steps hinge all the arguments and technical points involved in annulments, and annulment disputes (eg, one of the most famous, that of Henry VIII). Catholic Canon law regulates the celebration of marriage in canons 1055 -- 1065.

[edit] Conditions for a sacramental marriage

From the perspective of the Catholic Church, for a marriage to be a sacrament, both the man and the woman must be baptized, able to marry and freely consent to the marriage. The Church typically provides classes for some months before marriage to help the particpants inform their consent. During or before this time, the would-be spouses are confirmed, if they have not previously received confirmation and it can be done without grave inconvenience (Canon 1065).

The Church has further requirements for the form of vows, called the "canonical form". The canonical form of marriage must be followed (unless dispensed). The requirement for a Canonical Form of Marriage began due to the reforms of the Council of Trent. With the decree Tametsi of 11 November 1563. Ne Temere promulgated by Pius X, August 2, 1907 added (and continues to enforce) further specifications.

[edit] Freedom to marry

The participants in a marriage contract must be free to marry, and to marry each other. That is, they must be an unmarried man and woman, with no impediments as set out by Canon law.

In addition to being free to marry, the participants must intend marriage. In the Catholic Church, it is consent that creates marriage. Consent consists in a human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other. Consent must be a free act of the will of the consenting parties, free of coercion or grave external error. If freedom is lacking, the consent is invalid.

[edit] Impediments

A Catholic marriage cannot be formed if one or more of the following Impediments are given,[1] though of some of these a dispensation can be given.

antecedent and perpetual Impotence

Consanguinity to the fourth collateral line (1st cousin), including legal adoption to the second collateral line

Affinity (relationship by marriage, e.g. a brother-in-law) in the direct line

prior bond

Holy Orders

perpetual vows of chastity in a religious institute

Disparity of cult (one party not being baptized)

Crimen (one party previously conspiring to marry (upon condition of death of spouse) while still married)

conjucide

abduction

public propriety

[edit] Ministers of matrimony

The husband and wife must validly execute the marriage contract. In the Roman Catholic tradition, it is the spouses who are understood to confer marriage on each other. The spouses, as ministers of grace, naturally confer upon each other the sacrament of matrimony, expressing their consent before the church. This does not eliminate the need for church involvement in the marriage; under normal circumstances, canon law requires the attendance of a priest or deacon and at least two witnesses for validity (see canons 1108-1116).

This is somewhat different for the Eastern Catholic Churches, which follow the Eastern Orthodox beliefs regarding marriage. Therefore, the priest (never a deacon) is the minister of the sacrament (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 1623, 1992 edition) through the act of "crowning" the couple with a pair of crowns while proclaiming them received into the Kingdom of Heaven. The vows are exchanged well beforehand in the Byzantine ritual and are not binding. They are a remnant of the Liturgy of Betrothal which had used to be done in a separate Liturgy. Thus it is known in the East as the Mystery (read: Sacrament) of Crowning as often as it is called matrimony.

[edit] Validity

A marriage may be somewhat defective and yet still be valid; such a marriage is illicit. A marriage which was sufficiently defective as not to meet the required criteria is invalid, and the participants are considered not to have actually married. However, Canon 1137 states that children born to a "putative" marriage (defined in Canon 1061, sec. 3 as one that is not valid but was entered into in good faith by at least one spouse) are legitimate; therefore, the declaration that a marriage is null does not render the children of that marriage illegitimate.

[edit] Nullity

Catholic theology teaches that a validly contracted marriage is accompanied by divine ratification, creating a virtually indissoluble union until consummation, after which the marriage is completely indissoluble. An unconsummated marriage can be dispensed by the Pope, as Vicar of Christ.[2] Once the marriage is consummated, only a separation is possible; the marriage bond cannot be dissolved. Therefore, the term "divorce" has no meaning in the context of Catholic marriage.

An annulment is a declaration that the marriage was invalid at the time the vows were exchanged. In cases of two baptized people, this also means that no sacrament ever took place. Thus, an annulment is declared only when an ecclesial tribunal finds a lack of validity in the marriage at the time of the marital contract. Behavior subsequent to the contract is not directly relevant, except as post facto evidence of the validity or invalidity of the contract. That is, behavior subsequent to the contract cannot actually change the validity of the contract. For example, a marriage would be invalid if one of the parties, at the time of marriage, did not intend to honor the vow of fidelity. If the spouse did intend to be faithful at the time of the marriage but later committed adultery this does not invalidate the marriage.

Annulment and divorce, therefore, differ in both in rationale and effect; an annulment is a finding that sacramental marriage never existed, whereas a divorce is a dissolution of marriage.

[edit] External links

Arcanum Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on Christian Marriage

"Moral and Canonical Aspect of Marriage". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company.

"Ritual of Marriage". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company.

"Sacrament of Marriage". Catholic Encyclopedia. (1913). New York: Robert Appleton Company.

[edit] References

^ CIC, 1083-1094.

^ John Paul II, Const. Ap, Pastor Bonus, Art 67, June 28, 1988

Continuation of 1b

This understanding that we are called to live and act beyond what is natural to creatures is a basic assumption of all our sacramental activity and of our sacramental theology. Therefore vocation is a key theme of Christian life, and a key component of the way we think about sacraments.

Lifetime Commitments

At first there seems to be little in common between marriage (matrimony) and priesthood (holy orders). One seems to be entirely in the secular realm of everyday life, a reality shared with non-believers and with people of other traditions. The other seems to be entirely withdrawn from the secular realm of everyday life, a reality only meaningful within the context of faith within a particular religious tradition. Yet there are several components that they have in common. In the first place, both are total commitments of oneself to others, intended to be lifelong, and having very clear exclusive as well as inclusive characteristics. In the second place both are essential building blocks in creating a Christian community, that is to say in building church. Without either of these vocations and their particular sacraments, the church would not exist.

The church is in the first place the People of God, the community of the faithful. And this is embodied or realized most basically and immediately at the local or grassroots level. This church is fashioned or brought into existence and continually maintained in existence in two movements. One of these is the gathering around the Eucharist, especially the Sunday Eucharist of the parish community. The other is the weaving of hallowed (grace-filled) relationships that transform the character of daily life in human society. The two movements are complementary to one another and both essential to the very being of the church as it engages itself with the risen Christ in the process of redemption of the world.

Eucharist at the Center

From early times the Eucharist that makes us one community in Christ has been linked to a special designation or ordination of the one who, in the person of Christ, consecrates what the whole community offers and consumes in communion. The sacrament of Holy Orders constitutes a person as the one who calls the community together into the Eucharistic gathering, presiding, consecrating, proclaiming and preaching. That gathering in Eucharist is what essentially makes us church. A question we may not have asked before, but which now is not only important but urgent, is the following. Would there be a Catholic Church without the Eucharist? It is a very urgent question in our time of priest shortage, because there is no Eucharist without an ordained priest. Already in many parts of the world and in many parts of this country, there are priestless Sunday services, lay-led communion services, using communion bread consecrated by a priest at another time. This links the congregation to a Eucharist that they were not able to attend in person or to a Eucharist that was celebrated for and by them on a past occasion. But the link is always to a Eucharist presided over by an ordained priest who consecrated and thereby made it a complete Eucharist.

Our priests are ordained by bishops, and these in turn are ordained (consecrated) by other bishops. Thus there is a link among all the worshipping congregations. There is a link among all the eucharistic celebrations throughout the world and throughout time. This bond of unity is very important in the task of redemption, because disunity is at the heart of the problems from which we need to be redeemed.

In the course of time we have clustered other ministries together in the calling and ordination of the priest. But essentially he is the one who continually brings the church into existence by gathering the community of believers into the Eucharistic celebration. This is a great and wonderful calling and a very demanding one, which certainly justifies a special sacrament of Holy Orders to consecrate this person's whole life and energy to this crucial task and to endow him with the grace to carry it out and meet such high expectations. Great generosity and wisdom are required, but great grace is also given. It is the consistent teaching of the Catholic tradition that the character and the empowerment that are given to one who is ordained never leave him.

Marriage

While all this focus and emphasis is placed on the importance and necessity of priesthood in the existence and life of the church, our traditional teaching recognizes two sacraments of vocation. It does not claim that one is less necessary to the life of the church, or asks a lesser holiness of people, than the other. We call marriage (or matrimony) a sacrament of vocation within the church because it also asks for a total and exclusive commitment, and it also is dedicated to the fashioning of the church. It also is in a radical sense a work of the redemption of the world.

At the root of the sinfulness, confusion and disorder from which the whole world and each of its human beings need to be redeemed is the seizing for oneself of what belongs to God (as we learn in the story of the garden in Genesis 3). Our world and our own being are unfocused, uncentered, to the extent that they are not focused and centered on God our creator. The way we know this is in the difficulties we have in being fully at peace with one another, making common cause with one another, acting in solidarity without excluding anyone. In God's creative design, as we learn to see it in Sacred Scripture, the complementarity of male and female in marriage and family is intended to be the basic building block for the solidarity of human society. It is supposed to make true human community possible. In the history of our world as we have experienced it, this constantly fails to happen, and we have divisions and enmities, ruthless competition, cruelties and injustices, wars and so forth.

As St. Paul expresses it in Ephesians 5:30-33, the marriage of Christians is at a new level of grace. It is a marriage in Christ, modeled on and participating in the union of the risen Christ with his church, his people, his body in which he is present in many places at many times. Modeled on and participating in the self-gift and self-sacrifice of Jesus for his community, Christian marriage enjoys a new power to be indeed a basis for solidarity and transformation of the human race.

The couple is called to discover in great depth what it is to say we about many things rather than always I and you and they. Their individual futures become one common future, their wealth, their plans, their commitments, their homes are merged. Most of all, their children are each other's children, and they are jointly called to create a home and family environment for them. This brings into mutually supportive relationships not only these two individuals, but ideally the families from which they came. Thus eventually, through many marriages, bonds of relatedness and solidarity would be established throughout society as a basis for peace and mutual support.

2nd part continued

It may seem that we call marriage a sacrament because it is celebrated in church with a priest of the church as a witness. However, it is the other way around. We celebrate marriage in the church with a priest as a witness because marriage in Christ is in itself sacramental. Thus, our tradition teaches that the ministers of the sacrament, those who confer the sacrament on each other, are the couple themselves in their self-gift to each other. This in itself shows that in Christian teaching there is great respect for these ministers of the sacrament. Theirs is not a lesser dignity or holiness, but a different way in which they are called to be personally holy and to contribute to the sanctification (the making holy) of the community which is the church of Jesus Christ in the world.