Chapter 16: Matrimony. INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM. 1. The Sacrament of Matrimony ( pp. 362-366 ). ANTICIPATORY SET Incorporate Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections on the model of the Holy Family into the Opening Prayer . 1. The Sacrament of Matrimony (pp. 362-366). BASIC QUESTIONS
INTRODUCTION TO CATHOLICISM
Incorporate Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections on the model of the Holy Family into the Opening Prayer.
What is the Sacrament of Matrimony?
How does the Sacrament of Matrimony relate to natural marriage?
Matrimony, a Sacrament at the Service of Communion, is a vocation to a state of life that joins a baptized man and woman in a lifelong covenant of love for the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.
Instituting the Sacrament of Matrimony, Christ restored natural marriage to its original intention at creation and endowed it with graces that make it possible to live its true meaning.
According to Pope Benedict XVI (p. 362), what is the vocation of the family?
The vocation of the family is to accompany each other on the path of the discovery of God and of the plan that he has prepared for each of its members.
How did the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph help Christ along the path that God the Father had prepared for him?
By their example, they showed him the beauty of faith, the love of God and his Law, the demands of justice, and how to do God’s will.
How can the members of every family help each other along the path God has chosen for each person?
Ways include many of the elements above, e.g., introducing children to the beauty of the Faith and love of God, making the family a place of prayer, showing by example how to love one another and how to be just, helping each member to discover their in life, etc.
Discuss the definition of the Sacrament of Matrimony:
What does it mean to say Matrimony is a vocation?
Why is Matrimony a state in life?
Matrimony is a permanent way of living.
Who can receive this Sacrament?
Ordinarily only baptized persons can receive Matrimony, although there are exceptions.
How long does Christian marriage last?
The Sacrament of Matrimony lasts as long as both spouses are alive.
What kind of agreement is a sacramental marriage?
A sacramental marriage is a covenant, that is, a solemn agreement between the spouses and God. It is a covenant of love: that is, love is its essential dimension. Extension: Covenants in the Old Testament invoked blessings for faithfulness and curses for unfaithfulness.
What are the two purposes of this Sacrament?
The two purposes of Matrimony are (1) the good of the spouses, and (2) the procreation and education of children.
Why is Matrimony a Sacrament at the Service of Communion?
It brings a husband and a wife together in mutual aid and in service to their children. It also serves the Church by giving her new members.
Why is the married state in life called a vocation?
It is a call from God to each of the spouses to enter into a way of living that joins them together in a lifelong covenant of love for their mutual good and the procreation and education of children.
How old is marriage?
Marriage dates back to the creation of human beings. God created man and woman in the state of marriage.
How is marriage an image of God?
Marriage is the communion of man and woman. This relationship of man and woman is an image of God, who is a communion of three divine Persons in the Blessed Trinity.
How did Adam and Eve’s mutual relationship change after the Fall?
In consequence of the Fall, Adam and Eve’s union of love was marred by mutual blame. Their natural attraction often degenerated into domination and lust. Their vocation to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was saddled by pain in childbirth and toil in work.
How did even the Law of Moses tolerate evils in marriage?
The Mosaic Law tolerated polygamy and divorce and required that a widow marry her husband’s brother if he died without an heir.
What was the positive dimension of the Mosaic Law toward marriage (cf. CCC 1610)?
The Mosaic Law protected the wife from arbitrary domination by her husband.
Why did Moses permit men to divorce their wives according to Christ?
Moses allowed men to divorce their wives because of their “hardness of heart.”
What positive vision of marriage did the prophets introduce?
The prophets described marriage between a man and a woman as a reflection of God’s covenant relationship with his people, Israel, an image of exclusive and faithful married love.
When did Christ perform his first miracle?
Christ performed his first miracle at the Wedding at Cana, where he changed water into wine.
What significance does the Church see in this wedding feast miracle?
The Church views this miracle as “the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence” (CCC 1613).
Work with a partner to explain how Christ’s words in Mark 10:6-9 affirm that he (1) taught the divine origin of marriage, (2) gave it an elevated meaning, and (3) emphasized its nature as a lifelong covenant and vocation.
Why did Christ elevate Matrimony to a Sacrament?
Christ elevated Matrimony to a Sacrament to make special graces available to married couples so that they can live as he wants them to live.
What does it mean to say that Christ “elevated” Matrimony?
Christ took something that already existed (natural marriage), restored it to its original meaning from before the Fall, and provided the graces necessary for that sacramental meaning to be lived out by the spouses. This original meaning was expressed in the words of Genesis, “The two will become one flesh,” ruling out polygamy, divorce, domination, selfishness, and the like.
Why do spouses need the sacramental graces of the Sacrament of Marriage?
Spouses need to overcome Original Sin and their own actual sins, which can destroy their union.
What effects can rejection of God have on a marriage?
Rejection of God can make a marriage degenerate into discord and jealousy because the spouses can more easily be focused on self-interest instead of self-sacrifice.
What is the ultimate aim of the Sacrament of Matrimony?
The ultimate aim of Matrimony is the salvation of the spouses and their children.
What did St. Paul affirm about marriage?
St. Paul affirmed that marriage between Christians is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with his Church. Out of love, Christ sacrificed himself for his Bride, the Church, and a husband must love his wife in the same way.
Work with a partner to write and answer three Focus Questions about the most important aspects of the domestic church.
Study Questions 1-4 (p. 379)
Practical Exercises 1-2 (p. 379)
Workbook Questions 1-9
Read “Celebrating Matrimony” through the sidebar “Can a Catholic marry a non-Catholic?” (pp. 367-370)
Write a paragraph summarizing the nature of Christian Matrimony.
Work with a partner to answer the following question:
Based on what you have learned so far about Matrimony, why might the Church object to sex outside of marriage?
Incorporate a reading often heard at nuptial Masses, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, into the Opening Prayer.
Discuss the following question:
Because these words are often heard at nuptial Masses, they are sometimes considered romantic and, therefore, easy to live out. How, in fact, are they actually very demanding, requiring self-control, self- sacrifice, generosity, and maturity?
What is necessary for the valid reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony?
What are the matter, form, and ministers of Matrimony?
For the valid reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony, each spouse must be of legal age, be free to marry, freely consent, and intend to undertake what the Church understands are the responsibilities of marriage.
A marriage must be properly witnessed.
The matter, form, and ministers of the Sacrament are the couple themselves and their freely given vows.
Perform a focused reading of the paragraph “Proper preparation for marriage…” (p. 367) using the following question:
How should preparation for marriage include instruction, example, and Sacrament?
What are the requirements to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony validly?
Each spouse must be of legal age of consent; not be married to someone else under civil law; not be in a valid sacramental marriage; freely consent to marry; intend to marry for life, to be faithful to one another, and to be open to the procreation of children; and give his or her consent before two witnesses and a bishop, priest, or deacon.
What is a mixed marriage?
A mixed marriage is a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized Christian not in union with the Catholic Church.
What is a marriage of disparity of cult?
A marriage of disparity of cult is a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Christian.
May a Catholic marry a baptized non-Catholic or even a non-Christian?
Yes; both situations, however, bring certain difficulties that demand prudence and caution.
Whose permission should a Catholic obtain to marry a non-Catholic?
A Catholic should obtain a dispensation from his or her bishop to marry a non-Catholic.
What is the danger the Catholic spouse faces in marrying a non-Catholic?
The two spouses are separated in key areas of belief and practice, which could result in disunity and difficulties in rearing their children.
How can marriage to a non-Catholic be of benefit to the non-Catholic spouse?
The Catholic spouse consecrates his or her spouse, and this consecration can lead the non-Catholic spouse to convert to the Catholic Faith.
With what is a bishop concerned when a Catholic wants to marry a non-Catholic?
The bishop is concerned that both parties know and do not exclude from their marriage the essential ends and properties of marriage. He also wants to ensure that the Catholic party confirms the obligations of preserving his or her own faith and of baptizing and educating the children in the Catholic Church and that the non-Catholic party is aware of this commitment.
What is a dispensation from canonical form?
It is permission from a bishop to celebrate Matrimony in a place other than a Catholic church.
How can a Catholic spouse contribute to the conversion of a non-Catholic spouse?
He or she can do so through sincere married love, humble and patient practice of virtues, and perseverance in prayer.
What is the matter of the Sacrament of Matrimony?
The matter of the Sacrament of Matrimony is the couple itself.
What is the form of Matrimony in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church?
The form of Matrimony is the vows that the people exchange.
What act seals or consummates the Sacrament of Matrimony?
The marriage act (conjugal act) seals the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Think/Pair/Share using the following question:
How might disparity of cult lead to religious indifference?
What is necessary for the form of Matrimony to be valid?
To form a valid matrimonial bond, both the man and woman must consent to a permanent, indissoluble union and to openness to having children. If either person rejects either one of these elements, then there is no sacramental marriage.
Who are the ministers of Matrimony in the Western Catholic Church?
The ministers are the people marrying each other.
What is the role of the bishop, priest, or deacon who presides at a Catholic marriage in the Western Catholic Church?
He acts as the official witness of the Church.
Why is it fitting to have the Sacrament of Matrimony occur within the context of the Mass?
Christian marriage empowers spouses to attain the love that Christ has for his Church, and it is in the Sacrifice of the Mass that Christ’s love for his Church is most manifest.
How is the idea of the minister and form of the Sacrament of Matrimony different in many of the Eastern Catholic Churches?
The bishop or priest is considered the minister of the Sacrament of Matrimony, and the blessing of the marriage is regarded as the form of the Sacrament.
Extension: In the Byzantine Rite, the couple does not exchange vows, so the vows themselves cannot be the form of Matrimony.
Study Questions 5-11 (p. 379)
Practical Exercise 3 (p. 379)
Workbook Questions 10-14
Read “Effects of Matrimony” through “Conclusion” (pp. 371-374)
Write a paragraph summarizing the matter, form, and ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Work with a partner to create a bullet-point summary of the “Exhortation Before Marriage” (p. 376).
Work with a partner to search the Internet to learn about effects of divorce on children.
Then discuss the following question:
What about human nature makes divorce so hard on children?
What are the qualities of a valid, sacramental marriage?
Can a Catholic divorce?
What is an annulment?
What are the effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony?
The Sacrament of Matrimony unites the spouses in a permanent, faithful, and indissoluble union, which is open to procreation and lasts as long as both spouses live.
Validly married spouses can separate or even obtain a civil divorce, but they are not free to remarry.
An annulment is a judgment by the Church that a valid sacramental marriage never existed due to some condition that rendered the union invalid.
The Sacrament of Matrimony endows the spouses with special graces to enable them to love each other with the same self-sacrificing love with which Christ loves his Bride the Church, to live the unity and indissolubility of their marriage, and to uphold the unitive and procreative purposes of the marriage act.
What are the model and means by which Christian spouses perfect and sanctify their love?
The model of Christian love is the union of Christ and his Church, and the means by which spouses sanctify their love are the graces with which God endows the Sacrament of Matrimony.
What are the two essential properties of Matrimony?
They are unity and indissolubility.
What are the two purposes or aims of the marital act?
They are the unitive and procreative.
Extension: The unitive is the expression of the love between the spouses, and the procreative is openness to bringing a new child into the world. Both the Church and natural law indicate that it is immoral to separate these two purposes. That is, spouses must not commit an act, which either renders the marital act infertile (e.g., contraception) or attempts to procreate without the marital act (e.g., in vitro fertilization).
Can a valid and consummated marriage ever be dissolved?
Why can the Church not grant divorce?
The Church does not have the power to abolish the covenant that God establishes between husband and wife.
Work with a partner to articulate the effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Free write for three minutes about the paragraph “Matrimony gives couples . . .” (p. 371) in response to the following question:
Is it possible for a married couple to make a “total gift of self” to each other?
What is a declaration of nullity, or annulment?
It is a judgment by the Church, upon careful examination, that a sacramental marriage never took place. For example, if a couple married in the Church and one of the partners secretly intended never to have children, then a valid marriage would never have occurred.
Can a person who has had a civil divorce receive Holy Communion?
Yes, a divorced person can receive the Eucharist on the condition that he or she has not remarried without having received a declaration of nullity.
Why can a person who has been validly married, obtained a civil divorce, and entered a second marriage outside the Church not receive the Eucharist?
He or she is living in a state of adultery, a mortal sin. Receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is in itself the mortal sin of sacrilege.
Do parents have an obligation to raise their children in the Faith regardless of their legal marital status?
What is the Church’s attitude toward divorced and remarried persons?
The Church offers them her love, prayers, and support in their difficult situation and encourages them to seek full communion with the Church.
Is marriage a human invention?
No; marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they come from the hand of the Creator.
Is marriage a purely private affair between two persons?
No; marriage is critical for the good of the individual, the family, the Church, and society in general. For this reason, the original and traditional status of marriage should be upheld and defended by all.
What spiritual qualities do conjugal relations demand, according the Church?
Conjugal relations must possess the spiritual qualities of permanence, fidelity, and openness to procreation.
According to the Catechism, no. 1643, what elements of the human person does conjugal love involve?
It involves the total human person and unites spouses physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Is an annulment a “Catholic divorce”?
No; it is a statement that the Church, after a thorough investigation of the facts, has determined that a valid marriage did not exist in the first place and, therefore, the couple’s union was never a sacramental marriage.
Can an individual who has received an annulment enter into a valid sacramental marriage?
Yes; he or she has never been married.
How can a person obtain an annulment?
He or she can prove some kind of impediment to a sacramental marriage existed at the time the Sacrament of Matrimony was administered.
How can spouses overcome the difficulties of married life?
They can do so through prayer, recourse to the Sacraments, a willingness to discuss areas of conflict patiently, and outside counseling as necessary.
Under what circumstances might separation be appropriate?
Separation may be appropriate in situations involving domestic abuse or addiction to alcohol or other drugs.
May the separated spouses “date” or seek a divorce in order to enter a second marriage?
What are some impediments to a valid, sacramental marriage?
Impediments include consent based on fear or coercion; serious immaturity; psychological incapacity; and the absence of a proper intention to have children, to be faithful, or to remain together until death.
Do grounds for an annulment always show themselves early in the marriage?
No; sometimes these issues do not present themselves to the couple until they have been married for some years and even begun to raise children.
Are children in a nullified marriage illegitimate?
Work with a partner to complete the following table concerning the sins against marriage.
Study Questions 12-15 (p. 379)
Practical Exercises 4-5 (p. 379)
Workbook Questions 15-26
Write a paragraph about the qualities of a valid marriage and the effects of a sacramental marriage on the spouses.
Work with a partner to answer the following question:
Based on what you have learned about the nature of marriage, why do you think the Church cannot confer the Sacrament of Matrimony on two people of the same sex?