A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.
In general, the repetition of marriage while a married partner is still living. In the Old Testament remarriage was permitted, but, as Christ explained to the Pharisees, "It was because you were so unteachable that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but it was not like this from the beginning" (Matthew 19:8). Christ restored marriage to its former monogamous state and, to provide the necessary grace, raised it to the dignity of a sacrament. A valid sacramental marriage is not dissoluble by any human power, civil or ecclesiastical. Instances of remarriage, therefore, are either cases where the previous marriage was not a sacrament, or the original marriage was not valid, or the partners had not consummated their marriage by natural intercourse.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.