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Catechism of the Catholic Church

Marriage in the Lord

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." 104

1613 On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign - at his mother's request - during a wedding feast. 105 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.

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. 106 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." 107

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. 108 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. 109 This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.

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." 110

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 111 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. 112

Notes:

104 Rev 19:7, 9; cf. GS 22.

105 Cf. Jn 2:1-11.

106 Cf. Mt 19:8.

107 Mt 19:6.

108 Cf. Mk 8:34; Mt 11:29-30.

109 Cf. Mt 19:11.

110 Eph 5:25-26, 31-32; Cf. Gen 2:24.

111 Cf. Eph 5:26-27.

112 Cf. DS 1800; CIC, Can. 1055 § 2.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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