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Reflections: Sacraments Section (Holy Matrimony)

Matrimony

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Matrimony Basics / Misc.

Marriage, Family & Home (Catholic Life Reflections)

Praise / Benefits of Matrimony

Separation (Marital)

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Matrimony (Topic Page) 

Matrimony (General Information) 

Matrimony (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Matrimony (Topical Scripture)

Selections From the Baltimore Catechism Tip: Select "Display by Lesson", then select lesson number corresponding to Matrimony.

Mixed Marriages (Catholic Life Section)

 

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Quotation

Matrimony Basics / Misc.

Also See: Holy Matrimony (Topic Page)

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.' But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 5:31-32)

"Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers." (St. Paul, Heb. 13:4)

"Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband." (St. Paul, Eph. 5:22-33)

"Can. 1058 All persons who are not prohibited by law can contract marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"[T]he marriage bond is loosed only by the death of a spouse" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 401 A.D.)

"Can. 1087 Those in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1092 Affinity in any degree of the direct line invalidates marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1073 A diriment impediment renders a person incapable of validly contracting a marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1068 § 3 Sterility neither impedes nor [renders illicit] marriage." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Without the consent to marriage, other things, including coition, are of no effect." (Pope St. Nicholas I)

"If any one saith, that matrimonial causes do not belong to ecclesiastical judges; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1018 The pastor shall not fail prudently to educate the people about the sacrament of marriage and its impediments." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The man who wishes to have a happy married life ought to consider the sanctity and dignity of the Sacrament of Matrimony." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 1118 A ratified and consummated valid marriage can be dissolved by no human power and for no cause, outside of death." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1141 A marriage which is ratified and consummated cannot be dissolved by any human power or by any cause other than death." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Nothing supervenient to marriage can dissolve it" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The state of marriage is one that requires more virtue and constancy than any other. It is a perpetual exercise in mortification." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"The holier the bond, the more is it to be safeguarded." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys the favor of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Marriage is the most inviolable and irrevocable of all contracts that were ever formed. Every human compact may be lawfully dissolved but this." (Gibbons)

"Having been invited, the Lord came to the marriage in order to affirm conjugal chastity and to show that marriage is a Sacrament." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 417 A.D.)

"Can. 1066 Before a marriage is celebrated, it must be evident that nothing stands in the way of its valid and licit celebration." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1074 An impediment is said to be public, when it can be proved in the external forum; otherwise, it is occult." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1027 All the faithful are bound to reveal to the pastor or local Ordinary any impediments that they know of before the wedding." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1671 Matrimonial cases of the baptized belong by their own right to the ecclesiastical judge." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1130 For a grave and urgent reason, the local Ordinary may permit that a marriage be celebrated in secret." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1133 A marriage celebrated secretly is to be noted only in a special register to be kept in the secret archive of the curia." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1088 Those bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute invalidly attempt marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1137 Marriage null because of a defect of form, in order to become valid, must be contracted anew with legitimate form." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1062 The Catholic spouse is bound by the obligation of prudently taking care for the conversion of the non-Catholic spouse." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"[A]s long as they live they are bound by the marriage tie, which neither [so called 'divorce'] nor union with another can destroy." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 1151 Spouses have the duty and right to preserve conjugal living unless a legitimate cause excuses them." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1072 Pastors of souls are to see to it that they dissuade young people from entering marriage before the age customarily accepted in the region." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "Matrimonial causes and espousals belong by their nature to civil tribunals." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) 

"If any one saith, that it is lawful for Christians to have several wives at the same time, and that this is not prohibited by any divine law; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1013 § 1 The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; the secondary [end] is mutual support and a remedy for concupiscence." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Perfect married life means the complete dedication of the parents for the benefit of their children." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Holy Writ states that there has been matrimony from the beginning of the human race." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1056 The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility; in Christian marriage they acquire a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith, that the Church could not establish impediments invalidating marriage; or that she has erred in establishing them; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"[I]t is easy to see at a glance the greatness of the evil which unhallowed marriages have brought, and ever will bring, on the whole of human society." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"The sacramental bond [of Marriage], which they lose neither through separation nor through adultery - this the spouses should guard chastely and harmoniously." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 419 A.D.)

"If any one saith, that matrimony contracted, but not consummated, is not dissolved by the solemn profession of [religious vows] by one of the married parties; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Marriage is not, then, the effect of chance or the product of evolution of unconscious natural forces; it is the wise institution of the Creator to realize in mankind His design of love." (Pope Paul VI)

"Can. 1069 Before the celebration of a marriage, all the faithful are bound to reveal to the parish priest or the local Ordinary such impediments as they may know about." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1164 A retroactive validation may validly be granted even if one or both of the parties is unaware of it; it is not, however, to be granted except for a grave reason." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If anyone states that the marriage bond can be dissolved by reason of heresy, domestic incompatibility, or willful desertion by one of the parties: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1094 Those who are legally related by reason of adoption cannot validly marry each other if their relationship is in the direct line or in the second degree of the collateral line." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "By the law of nature, the marriage tie is not indissoluble, and in many cases divorce properly so called may be decreed by the civil authority." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.)

"Can. 1103 A marriage is invalid which was entered into by reason of force or of grave fear imposed from outside, even if not purposely, from which the person has no escape other than by choosing marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1100 Outside the case of necessity, in the celebration of marriage there are to be observed the prescribed rites in the ritual books approved by the Church, or [those] laudably received [from] custom." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "The Sacrament of Marriage is only a something accessory to the contract and separate from it, and the sacrament itself consists in the nuptial benediction alone." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.)

"Can. 1012 § 1 Christ the Lord raised the marriage contract itself to the dignity of a sacrament among the baptized. § 2 Therefore among the baptized there can be no valid contract of marriage without its also being a sacrament." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"[T]he obligation to a wife, or the conjugal bond, is somewhat derogatory to the perfection of Christian life, the highest state of which is in the possession of the continent" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Matrimony signifies the union of Christ with the Church, which union is according to the liberty of love. Therefore it cannot be the result of compulsory consent." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[M]arriage [is] a sacrament of the Church, from which source it derives perfect stability, inasmuch as it signifies the indissoluble union of Christ with the Church." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1098 A person contracts invalidly who enters into a marriage deceived by malice, perpetrated to obtain consent, concerning some quality of the other partner which by its very nature can gravely disturb the partnership of conjugal life." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1097 §1 Error about a person renders a marriage invalid. §2 Error about a quality of the person, even though it be the reason for the contract, does not render a marriage invalid unless this quality is directly and principally intended." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1077 §1 In a special case, the local ordinary can prohibit marriage for his own subjects residing anywhere and for all actually present in his own territory but only for a time, for a grave cause, and for as long as the cause continues." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1075 §1 Only the supreme authority in the Church can authentically declare when the divine law prohibits or invalidates a marriage. §2 Only the same supreme authority has the right to establish other impediments for those who are baptized." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It is proper for men and women who wish to marry be united with the consent of the bishop, so that their marriage will be acceptable to the Lord, and not entered upon for the sake of lust. Let all things be done for the honor of God." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"In marriage, however, let the blessings of marriage be loved: offspring, fidelity, and the sacramental bound. Offspring, not so much because it may be born, but because it can be reborn; for it is born to punishment unless it be reborn [through baptism] to life." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 419 A.D.)

"The parish priest shall have a book, which he shall keep carefully by him, in which he shall register the names of the persons married, and of the witnesses, and the day on which, and the place where, the marriage was contracted." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"It is clear that marriage, even in the state of nature and certainly long before it was raised to the dignity of a sacrament, was divinely instituted in such a way that it should be a perpetual and indissoluble bond, which cannot therefore be dissolved by any civil law." (Pope Pius VI)

"If any one saith, that matrimony is not truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the evangelic law, (a sacrament) instituted by Christ the Lord; but that it has been invented by men in the Church; and that it does not confer grace; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1034 The pastor shall gravely exhort children yet in families not to enter into weddings if the parents are unaware of it or [if they] are reasonably opposed to it; but if they are going to marry, he should not assist without first consulting the local Ordinary." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1083 §1 A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage. §2 The Episcopal conference is free to establish a higher age for the licit celebration of marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Finally, the holy Synod exhorts those who marry, that before they contract marriage, or, at all events, three days before the consummation thereof, they carefully confess their sins, and approach devoutly to the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"Can. 1134 From a valid marriage there arises between the spouses a bond which of its own nature is perpetual and exclusive. Moreover, in Christian marriage the spouses are by a special sacrament strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1089 No marriage can exist between a man and a woman who has been abducted or at least detained with a view of contracting marriage with her unless the woman chooses marriage of her own accord after she has been separated from the captor and established in a safe and free place." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1066 If a public sinner or one well known to be marked with a censure refuses to approach sacramental confession or to be reconciled with the Church, the pastor should not assist at the marriage, unless grave cause urges, about which, if it can be done, he should consult the Ordinary." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "In force of a merely civil contract there may exist between Christians a real marriage, and it is false to say either that the marriage contract between Christians is always a sacrament, or that there is no contract if the sacrament be excluded." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.) 

"If any one saith, that the prohibition of the solemnization of marriages at certain times of the year, is a tyrannical superstition, derived from the superstition of the heathen; or, condemn the benedictions and other ceremonies which the Church makes use of therein; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1093 The impediment of public propriety arises when a couple live together after an invalid marriage, or from a notorious or public concubinage. It invalidates marriage in the first degree of the direct line between the man and those related by consanguinity to the woman, and vice versa." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1131 Permission to celebrate a marriage secretly entails the following: 1° the investigations which must be conducted before the marriage are done secretly; 2° the local ordinary, the one assisting, the witnesses, and the spouses observe secrecy about the marriage celebrated." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1132 The obligation of observing the secret mentioned in can. 1131 n. 2 ceases for the local Ordinary if from its observance a threat arises of grave scandal or of grave harm to the sanctity of marriage. This fact is to be made known to the parties before the celebration of the marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It should be known that no power can dissolve the bond of Christian marriage whenever this has been ratified and consummated; and that, of a consequence, those husbands and wives are guilty of a manifest crime who plan, for whatever reason, to be united in a second marriage before the first one has been ended by death." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Can. 1143 A woman who has once received a solemn nuptial blessing cannot accept it again in subsequent weddings." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: Subsequent weddings refer to legitimate subsequent weddings - i.e. after death of a spouse - and not to subsequent weddings in the case of divorce (such weddings are, of course, are prohibited).]

"Can. 1090 §1 One who, with a view to entering marriage with a particular person, has killed that person's spouse, or his or her own spouse, invalidly attempts this marriage. §2 They also invalidly attempt marriage with each other who, by mutual physical or moral action, brought about the death of either's spouse." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1120 § 1 Legitimate marriage between the non-baptized, even if it is consummated, is dissolved in favor of the faith by the Pauline privilege. § 2 This privilege does not operate in cases of marriage between a baptized party and a non-baptized party that was entered into with a dispensation from disparity of cult." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1038 § 1 Only the supreme authority of the Church declares authentically whenever divine law impedes or invalidates marriage. § 2 It also belongs exclusively to the same supreme authority to constitute, through either universal or particular law, other impeding or diriment impediments to marriage for the baptized." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith, that those degrees only of consanguinity and affinity, which are set down in Leviticus, can hinder matrimony from being contracted, and dissolve it when contracted; and that the Church cannot dispense in some of those degrees, or establish that others may hinder and dissolve it; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1060 Most severely does the Church prohibit everywhere that marriage be entered into by two baptized persons, one of whom is Catholic, and the other belonging to a heretical or schismatic sect; indeed, if there is a danger of perversion to the Catholic spouse and children, that marriage is forbidden even by divine law." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1096 §1 For matrimonial consent to exist, it is necessary that the contracting parties be at least not ignorant of the fact that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman, ordered to the procreation of children through some form of [carnal] cooperation. §2 This ignorance is not presumed after puberty." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"A second marriage [i.e. remarriage of a widowed spouse] is stated not to be good, not that it is unlawful, but because it lacks the honor of the signification which is in a first marriage, where one husband has one wife, as in the case of Christ and the Church." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1057 §1 The consent of the parties, legitimately manifested between [qualified] persons... makes marriage; no human power is able to supply this consent. §2 Matrimonial consent is an act of the will by which a man and a woman mutually give and accept each other through an irrevocable covenant in order to establish marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Christian parents must also understand that they are destined not only to propagate and preserve the human race on earth, indeed not only to educate any kind of worshippers of the true God, but children who are to become members of the Church of Christ, to raise up fellow-citizens of the saints, and members of God's household, that the worshippers of God and our Savior may daily increase." (Pope Pius XI)

"Can. 1065 §1 Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before they are admitted to marriage, if this can be done without grave inconvenience. §2 To receive the sacrament of marriage fruitfully, spouses are urged especially to approach the sacraments of penance and of the Most Holy Eucharist." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1124 Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons, one of whom was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act*, the other of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church." (1983 Code of Canon Law) [* This Canon was modified in 2009 - "the elimination of the clause 'actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica' contained in canons 1086 para. 1, 1117 and 1124" (VIS, 12/15/09)]

"Can. 1163 §1 A marriage which is invalid because of an impediment or because of defect of the legal form, can be validated retroactively, provided the consent of both parties persists. §2 A marriage which is invalid because of an impediment of the natural law or of the divine positive law, can be validated retroactively only after the impediment has ceased." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1033 A pastor shall not omit, according to the varying conditions of persons, to instruct spouses on the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage and on the mutual obligations of spouses and of parents toward children; likewise he shall strongly exhort them to confess their sins diligently before the celebration of marriage and to receive piously the most Holy Eucharist." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1122 §1 A marriage which has been contracted is to be recorded also in the baptismal registers in which the baptism of the spouses was entered. §2 If a spouse contracted marriage elsewhere than in the parish of baptism, the parish priest of the place of celebration is to send a notification of the marriage as soon as possible to the parish priest of the place of baptism." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The marriage tie lasts only until death (Romans 7:2), wherefore at the death of either spouse the marriage tie ceases: and consequently when one dies the other is not hindered from marrying a second time on account of the previous marriage. Therefore not only second marriages are lawful, but even third and so on." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage: 1° those who lack sufficient use of reason; 2° those who suffer from a grave lack of discretionary judgement concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted; 3° those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1026 Publications are not to be done for marriages contracted with a dispensation from the impediment of disparity of cult or mixed religion, unless the local Ordinary in accord with his own prudent judgment, and all scandal being removed, thinks it opportune to permit them, provided apostolic dispensation has been obtained and mention of the religion of the non-Catholic party is omitted." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1127 §3 It is forbidden to have, either before or after the canonical celebration in accordance with §1, another religious celebration of the same marriage for the purpose of giving or renewing matrimonial consent. Likewise, there is not to be a religious celebration in which the Catholic assistant and a non-Catholic minister, each performing his own rite, ask for the consent of the parties." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1055 §1 The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized. §2 For this reason, a valid matrimonial contract cannot exist between the baptized without it being by that fact a sacrament." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1061 § 1 The Church does not dispense form the impediment of mixed religion, unless: 1° Just and grave cause so urge; ° 2 The non-Catholic spouse gives a precaution to remove the danger of perversion from the Catholic spouse, and from both spouses [there is a promise] that all children will be baptized only Catholic and so educated; °3 There is moral certitude the cautions will be implemented. § 2 These cautions are regularly required in writing." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"From the above may be learned the dispositions with which the faithful should contract matrimony. They should consider that they are about to enter a work that is not human but divine. The example of the Fathers of the Old Law, who esteemed marriage as a most holy and religious rite, although it had not then been raised to the dignity of a Sacrament, shows the singular purity of soul and piety (with which Christians should approach marriage)." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Can. 1121 §1 As soon as possible after the celebration of a marriage, the parish priest of the place of celebration or whoever takes his place, even if neither has assisted at the marriage, is to record in the marriage register the names of the spouses, of the person who assisted and of the witnesses, and the place and date of the celebration of the marriage; this is to be done in the manner prescribed by the Episcopal Conference or by the diocesan Bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1036 § 1 An impending impediment contains a grave prohibition against contracting marriage; but nevertheless, it does not render it invalid, if notwithstanding the impediment, [marriage] is contracted. § 2 A diriment impediment both gravely prohibits marriage from being contracted and impedes it so that it is in no way validly contracted. § 3 Even though just one party has an impediment, nevertheless, the [whole] marriage is rendered illicit or invalid." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1070 § 1 That marriage is null that is contracted between a non-baptized person and a person baptized in the Catholic Church or converted to her from heresy or schism. § 2 If a party at the time of contracting marriage was commonly considered baptized, or there is a doubt about the baptism, the validity of the marriage is to be upheld according to the norm of Canon 1014 until it is certainly proved that the one party was baptized and the other was not baptized." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1108 § 1 Marriage can be contracted at any time of the year. § 2 The solemn blessing of marriage, however, is prohibited from the first [Sunday] of Advent to the day of the Birth of the Lord, inclusive, and from Ash [Wednesday] until Easter [Sunday], inclusive. § 3 Local Ordinaries can, however, with due regard for the liturgical law, also permit [solemn blessings] within the aforesaid times for just cause, having warned the spouses to abstain from too much pomp." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1091 §1 Marriage is invalid between those related by consanguinity in all degrees of the direct line, whether ascending or descending, legitimate or natural. §2 In the collateral line, it is invalid up to the fourth degree inclusive. §3 The impediment of consanguinity is not multiplied. §4 A marriage is never to be permitted if a doubt exists as to whether the parties are related by consanguinity in any degree of the direct line, or in the second degree of the collateral line." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The holy Synod enjoins, that the ancient prohibitions of solemn nuptials be carefully observed by all, from the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ until the day of the Epiphany, and from Ash-Wednesday until the octave of Easter inclusively; but at other times It allows marriage to be solemnly celebrated; and the bishops shall take care that they be conducted with becoming modesty and propriety: for marriage is a holy thing, and is to be treated in a holy manner." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"Can. 1084 §1 Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have [carnal relations], whether on the part of the man or on that of the woman, whether absolute or relative, by its very nature invalidates marriage. §2 If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether the doubt be one of law or one of fact, the marriage is not to be prevented nor, while the doubt persists, is it to be declared null. §3 Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1098." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"If any one saith, that clerics constituted in sacred orders, or Regulars, who have solemnly professed chastity, are able to contract marriage, and that being contracted it is valid, notwithstanding the ecclesiastical law, or vow; and that the contrary is no thing else than to condemn marriage; and, that all who do not feel that they have the gift of chastity, even though they have made a vow thereof, may contract marriage; let him be anathema: seeing that God refuses not that gift to those who ask for it rightly, neither does He suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 1064 Ordinaries and other pastors of souls: 1° Shall discourage, whenever possible, the faithful from mixed weddings; 2° If they are unable to impede them, they shall studiously take care that they not be contracted against the laws of God or the Church; 3° In cases of mixed weddings already celebrated, whether in their own or in another's territory, they shall be sedulously vigilant that the spouses fulfill faithfully all the promises made; 4° In assisting at marriage, they shall observe the prescription of Canon 1102." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Marriage has God for its Author, and was from the very beginning a kind of foreshadowing of the Incarnation of His Son; and therefore there abides in it a something holy and religious; not extraneous, but innate; not derived from men, but implanted by nature... As, then, marriage is holy by its own power, in its own nature, and of itself, it ought not to be regulated and administered by the will of civil rulers, but by the divine authority of the Church, which alone in sacred matters professes the office of teaching." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"Can. 1108 §1 Only those marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local Ordinary or parish priest or of the priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who, in the presence of two witnesses, assists, in accordance however with the rules set out in the following canons, and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. 144, 1112 §1, 1116 and 1127 §§2-3. §2 Only that person who, being present, asks the contracting parties to manifest their consent and in the name of the Church receives it, is understood to assist at a marriage." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Christ, therefore, having renewed marriage to such and so great excellence, commended and entrusted all the discipline bearing upon these matters to His Church. The Church, always and everywhere, has so used her power with reference to the marriages of Christians that men have seen clearly how it belongs to her as of native right; not being made hers by any human grant, but given divinely to her by the will of her Founder. Her constant and watchful care in guarding marriage, by the preservation of its sanctity, is so well understood as to not need proof." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"There, in the second chapter [of the Gospel of St. John], we find these words: There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the Mother of Jesus was there (Jn. ii 1). The sacred text goes on to say that Jesus also and his disciples were among the guests; but the Holy Spirit, who guided the Evangelist's hand, would have him first make mention of Mary. It was to teach us that this our blessed Mother extends her protection to those who enter upon the married life with worthy dispositions, that is, with such dispositions as to draw down upon themselves the blessing of her divine Son." (Gueranger)

"If any one saith, that the Church has erred, in that she hath taught, and doth teach, in accordance with the evangelical and apostolical doctrine, that the bond of matrimony cannot be dissolved on account of the adultery of one of the married parties; and that both, or even the innocent one who gave not occasion to the adultery, cannot contract another marriage, during the lifetime of the other; and, that he is guilty of adultery, who, having put away the adulteress, shall take another wife, as also she, who, having put away the adulterer, shall take another husband; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 2319 § 1 Those Catholics fall under automatic excommunication reserved to the Ordinary who: 1° Enter marriage in the presence of a non-Catholic minister against the prescription of Canon 1063, § 1; 2° Enter marriage with the explicit or implicit agreement that all or any of the children will be educated outside of the Catholic Church; 3° Knowingly presume to offer their children to non-Catholic ministers for baptism; 4° Being parents or holding the place of parents, knowingly hand their charges over for non-Catholic education or formation. § 2 Those in § 1, nn. 2-4, are also suspected of heresy." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Now, the truth is that matrimony, as an institution of nature, in virtue of the Creator's will, has not as a primary and intimate end the personal perfection of the married couple but the procreation and upbringing of a new life. The other ends, inasmuch as they are intended by nature, are not equally primary, much less superior to the primary end, but are essentially subordinated to it. This is true of every marriage, even if no offspring result, just as of every eye it can be said that it is destined and formed to see, even if, in abnormal cases arising from special internal or external conditions, it will never be possible to achieve visual perception." (Pope Pius XII, Address to Midwives)

"Nevertheless, since it is a law of divine Providence in the supernatural order that men do not reap the full fruit of the Sacraments which they receive after acquiring the use of reason unless they cooperate with grace, the grace of matrimony will remain for the most part an unused talent hidden in the field unless the parties exercise these supernatural powers and cultivate and develop the seeds of grace they have received. If, however, doing all that lies with their power, they cooperate diligently, they will be able with ease to bear the burdens of their state and to fulfill their duties. By such a sacrament they will be strengthened, sanctified and in a manner consecrated." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"Can. 1086 §1 A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not defected from it by a formal act* and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid. §2 A person is not to be dispensed from this impediment unless the conditions mentioned in can. 1125 and can. 1126 have been fulfilled. §3 If at the time the marriage was contracted one party was commonly held to have been baptized or the baptism was doubtful, the validity of the marriage must be presumed according to the norm of can. 1060 until it is proven with certainty that one party was baptized but the other was not." (1983 Code of Canon Law) [* This Canon was modified in 2009 - "the elimination of the clause 'actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica' contained in canons 1086 para. 1, 1117 and 1124" (VIS, 12/15/09)]

"Among other things, children should be exhorted earnestly that they owe as a tribute of respect to their parents, or to those under whose guardianship and authority they are placed, not to contract marriage without their knowledge, still less in defiance of their express wishes. It should be observed that in the Old Law children were always given in marriage by their fathers; and that the will of the parent is always to have a very great influence on the choice of the child, it is clear from these very words of the Apostle: "He that giveth his virgin in marriage doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better. (1 Cor. 7:38)." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Can. 1061 §1 A valid marriage between baptized persons is said to be merely ratified, if it is not consummated; ratified and consummated, if the spouses have in a human manner engaged together in a conjugal act in itself apt for the generation of offspring. To this act marriage is by its nature ordered and by it the spouses become one flesh. §2 If the spouses have lived together after the celebration of their marriage, consummation is presumed until the contrary is proven. §3 An invalid marriage is said to be putative if it has been celebrated in good faith by at least one party. It ceases to be such when both parties become certain of its nullity." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1707 §1 Whenever the death of a spouse cannot be proven by an authentic ecclesiastical or civil document, the other spouse is not considered free from the bond of marriage until after the diocesan bishop has issued a declaration of presumed death. §2 The diocesan bishop is able to issue the declaration mentioned in §1 only if, after having carried out appropriate investigations, he attains moral certitude of the death of the spouse from the depositions of witnesses, from rumor, or from evidence. The absence of a spouse alone, even for a long time, is not sufficient. §3 The bishop is to consult the Apostolic See in uncertain and complicated cases." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1065 § 1 The faithful shall be discouraged form contracting marriage with those who have either notoriously rejected the Catholic faith, even if they have not gone over to a non-Catholic sect, or those who are enrolled in a society damned by the Church. § 2 The pastor shall not assist at the aforesaid weddings without consulting the Ordinary, who, having inspected all of the circumstances, can permit that he be present for the marriage, provided there is urgent cause and in his own prudent judgement the Ordinary judges that there is sufficient precaution for the Catholic education of all the children and that the danger of perversion for the other spouse is removed." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1063 § 1 Although dispensation from the above impediment of mixed religion has been obtained from the Church, the spouses cannot, either before or after the marriage entered into in the presence of the Church, also go, personally or through a procurator, to a non-Catholic minister as [if to] one in ministry, in order to offer or renew matrimonial consent. § 2 If the pastor certainly knows that the spouses will violate or have violated this law, he shall not assist at the marriage, except for the most grave causes, having removed scandal, and having consulted the Ordinary first. § 3 It is not disallowed, however, civil law so commanding, for the spouses to present themselves to a non-Catholic minister, acting solely in his civil capacity, to fulfil a civil act solely for the sake of civil effects." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1125 The local Ordinary can grant this permission [for a mixed marriage] if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled: 1° the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church; 2° the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the Catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the Catholic party 3° both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"A joining denotes a kind of uniting, and so wherever things are united there must be a joining. Now things directed to one purpose are said to be united in their direction thereto, thus many men are united in following one military calling or in pursuing one business, in relation to which they are called fellow-soldiers or business partners. Hence, since by marriage certain persons are directed to one begetting and upbringing of children, and again to one family life, it is clear that in matrimony there is a joining in respect of which we speak of husband and wife; and this joining, through being directed to some one thing, is matrimony; while the joining together of bodies and minds is a result of matrimony." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he leaders of the state have authority in human affairs which led to marriage and generally concern civil matters. However, in the truly Christian marriage, they have no authority, for this matter should be left to the jurisdiction of the Church, which is not established by men. If the marriage contract is properly performed - that is, as Christ established it - then they will be able to see if anything which pertains to civil law might follow. It is Catholic teaching that the dignity of the sacrament adds to the marriage of Christians; nobody can depart from this without losing faith. For that reason, these matters should be governed by the divine authority of the Church alone. No marriage can be considered firmly ratified unless it is joined according to Church law and discipline." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quam Religiosa", 1898 A.D.)

"Can. 1071 §1 Except in a case of necessity, no one is to assist without the permission of the local Ordinary at: 1° a marriage of transients (vagi); 2° a marriage which cannot be recognized by the civil law or celebrated in accordance with it; 3° a marriage of a person for whom a previous union has created natural obligations towards a third party or towards children; 4° a marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith; 5° a marriage of a person who is under censure; 6° a marriage of a minor whose parents are either unaware of it or are reasonably opposed to it; 7° a marriage to be entered by proxy, as mentioned in can. 1105. §2 The local Ordinary is not to grant permission to assist at the marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith unless the norms mentioned in can. 1125 have been observed with necessary adaptation." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The seventh is the sacrament of matrimony, which is the sign of the joining of Christ and the Church according to the Apostle who says: 'This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the church' [Eph. 5:32]. The efficient cause of matrimony is regularly mutual consent expressed by words in person. Moreover, there is allotted a threefold good on the part of matrimony. First, the progeny is to be accepted and brought up for the worship of God. Second, there is faith which one of the spouses ought to keep for the other. Third, there is the indivisibility of marriage, because it signifies the indivisible union of Christ and the Church. Although, moreover, there may be a separation of the marriage couch by reason of fornication, nevertheless, it is not permitted to contract another marriage, since the bond of a marriage legitimately contracted is perpetual." (Pope Eugenius IV, "Exultate Deo", 1439 A.D.)

"Further, one person does not receive power over that which is at the free disposal of another, without the latter's consent. Now by marriage each of the married parties receives power over the other's body (1 Corinthians 7:4), whereas hitherto each had free power over his own body. Therefore consent makes a marriage... The first cause of the sacraments is the Divine power which works in them the welfare of the soul; but the second or instrumental causes are material operations deriving their efficacy from the Divine institution, and thus consent is the cause in matrimony... Matrimony is not the consent itself, but the union of persons directed to one purpose...and this union is the effect of the consent. Moreover, the consent, properly speaking, signifies not the union of Christ with the Church, but His will whereby His union with the Church was brought about." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[I]n matrimony our acts are the sufficient cause for the production of the proximate effect, which is the marriage bond, because whoever has the right to dispose of himself can bind himself to another. Consequently the priest's blessing is not required for matrimony as being essential to the sacrament... However, clandestine marriages are forbidden on account of the evil results to which they are liable, since it often happens that one of the parties is guilty of fraud in such marriages; frequently, too, they have recourse to other nuptials when they repent of having married in haste; and many other evils result therefrom, besides which there is something disgraceful about them." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church") 

"Now, those who deny that marriage is holy, and who relegate it, striped of all holiness, among the class of common secular things, uproot thereby the foundations of nature, not only resisting the designs of Providence, but, so far as they can, destroying the order that God has ordained. No one, therefore, should wonder if from such insane and impious attempts there spring up a crop of evils pernicious in the highest degree both to the salvation of souls and to the safety of the commonwealth... Of what advantage is it if a state can institute nuptials estranged from the Christian religion, which is the mother of all good, cherishing all sublime virtues, quickening and urging us to everything that is the glory of a lofty and generous soul? When the Christian religion is rejected and repudiated, marriage sinks of necessity into the slavery of man's vicious nature and vile passions, and finds but little protection in the help of natural goodness. A very torrent of evil has flowed from this source, not only into private families, but also into States." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"Since, therefore, matrimony in the evangelical law, by grace through Christ, excels the ancient marriages, our holy Fathers, the Councils, and the tradition of the universal Church have with good reason always taught that it is to be classed among the sacraments of the New Law; and, since impious men of this age, madly raging against this teaching, have not only formed false judgments concerning this venerable sacrament, but according to their custom, introducing under the pretext of the Gospel a carnal liberty, have in writing and in word asserted many things foreign to the mind of the Catholic Church and to the general opinion approved from the time of the apostles, not without great loss of the faithful of Christ, this holy and general Synod wishing to block their temerity has decided, lest their pernicious contagion attract more, that the more prominent heresies and errors of the aforesaid schismatics are to be destroyed, decreeing anathemas against these heretics and their errors." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"Let special care be taken that the people be well instructed in the precepts of Christian wisdom, so that they may always remember that marriage was not instituted by the will of man, but, from the very beginning, by the authority and command of God; that it does not admit of plurality of wives or husbands; that Christ, the Author of the New Covenant, raised it from a rite of nature to be a sacrament, and gave to His Church legislative and judicial power with regard to the bond of union. On this point the very greatest care must be taken to instruct them, lest their minds should be led into error by the unsound conclusions of adversaries who desire that the Church should be deprived of that power. In like manner, all ought to understand clearly that, if there be any union of a man and a woman among the faithful of Christ which is not a sacrament, such union has not the force and nature of a proper marriage; that, although contracted in accordance with the laws of the State, it cannot be more than a rite or custom introduced by the civil law." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"If any one shall presume knowingly to contract marriage within the prohibited degrees, he shall be separated, and be without hope of obtaining a dispensation; and this shall much the rather have effect in regard of him who shall have dared not only to contract such a marriage, but also to consummate it. But if he have done this in ignorance, but yet has neglected the solemnities required in contracting matrimony, he shall be subjected to the same penalties. For he who has rashly despised the wholesome precepts of the Church, is not worthy to experience without difficulty her bounty. But if, having observed those solemnities, some secret impediment be afterwards discovered, of which it was not unlikely that he should be ignorant, he may in this case more easily obtain a dispensation, and that gratuitously. As regards marriages to be contracted, either no dispensation at all shall be granted, or rarely, and then for a cause, and gratuitously. A dispensation shall never be granted in the second degree, except between great princes, and for a public cause." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"The first parent of the human race, under the influence of the divine Spirit, pronounced the bond of matrimony perpetual and indissoluble, when he said; This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. But, that by this bond two only are united and joined together, our Lord taught more plainly, when [enumerating] those last words as having been uttered by God, He said, therefore now they are not two, but one flesh; and straightway confirmed the firmness of that tie, proclaimed so long before by Adam, by these words; What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. But, the grace which might perfect that natural love, and confirm that indissoluble union, and sanctify the married, Christ Himself, the institutor and perfecter of the venerable sacraments, merited for us by His Passion; as the Apostle Paul intimates, saying: Husbands love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for it; adding shortly after, This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"Although the second marriage [i.e. a marriage entered into after the death of one's spouse], considered in itself, is a perfect sacrament, yet if we consider it in relation to the first marriage, it is somewhat a defective sacrament, because it has not its full signification, since there is not a union of only one woman with only one man as in the marriage of Christ with the Church. And on account of this defect the blessing is omitted in a second marriage. This, however, refers to the case when it is a second marriage on the part of both man and woman, or on the part of the woman only. For if a virgin marry a man who has had another wife, the marriage is blessed nevertheless. Because the signification is preserved to a certain extent even in relation to the former marriage, since though Christ has but one Church for His spouse, there are many persons espoused to Him in the one Church. But the soul cannot be espoused to another besides Christ, else it commits fornication with the devil. Nor is there a spiritual marriage. For this reason when a woman marries a second time the marriage is not blessed on account of the defect in the sacrament." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church") [Note: Second marriages refer to legitimate second marriages - i.e. after death of a spouse - and not to subsequent marriages in the case of divorce (such marriages are, of course, are prohibited).]

"Three things may be considered in matrimony. First, its essence, which is a joining together, and in reference to this it is called the conjugal union; secondly, its cause, which is the wedding, and in reference to this it is called the nuptial union from nubo, because at the wedding ceremony, whereby the marriage is completed, the heads of those who are wedded are covered with a veil... [T]he effect, which is the offspring, and in reference to this it is called matrimony, as Augustine says (Contra Faustum xix,26), because 'a woman's sole purpose in marrying should be motherhood.' Matrimony may also be resolved into matris munium [munus], i.e. a mother's duty, since the duty of bringing up the children chiefly devolves on the women; or into matrem muniens, because it provides the mother with a protector and support in the person of her husband; or into matrem monens, as admonishing her not to leave her husband and take up with another man; or into materia unius, because it is a joining together for the purpose of providing the matter of one offspring as though it were derived from the Greek word and materia; or into matre and nato, as Isidore says (Etymologiarum ix), because it makes a woman the mother of a child." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Let no one, then, be deceived by the distinction which some civil jurists have so strongly insisted upon - the distinction, namely, by virtue of which they sever the matrimonial contract from the sacrament, with intent to hand over the contract to the power and will of the rulers of the State, while reserving questions concerning the sacrament to the Church. A distinction, or rather severance, of this kind cannot be approved; for certain it is that in Christian marriage the contract is inseparable from the sacrament, and that, for this reason, the contract cannot be true and legitimate without being a sacrament as well. For Christ our Lord added to marriage the dignity of a sacrament; but marriage is the contract itself, whenever that contract is lawfully concluded. Marriage, moreover, is a sacrament, because it is a holy sign which gives grace, showing forth an image of the mystical nuptials of Christ with the Church. But the form and image of these nuptials is shown precisely by the very bond of that most close union in which man and woman are bound together in one; which bond is nothing else but the marriage itself. Hence it is clear that among Christians every true marriage is, in itself and by itself, a sacrament; and that nothing can be further from the truth than to say that the sacrament is a certain added ornament, or outward endowment, which can be separated and torn away from the contract at the caprice of man." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"We say nothing about that other decree in which, after completely despising the mystery, dignity, and sanctity of the sacrament of matrimony; after utterly ignoring and distorting its institution and nature; and after completely spurning the power of the Church over the same sacrament, it was proposed, according to the already condemned errors of heretics, and against the teaching of the Catholic Church, that marriage should be considered as a civil contract only, and that divorce, strictly speaking, should be sanctioned in various cases; and that all matrimonial cases should be deferred to lay tribunals and be judged by them; because no Catholic is ignorant or cannot know that matrimony is truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the evangelical law, instituted by Christ the Lord, and that for that reason, there can be no marriage between the faithful without there being at one and the same time a sacrament, and that, therefore, any other union of man and woman among Christians, except the sacramental union, even if contracted under the power of any civil law, is nothing else than a disgraceful and death-bringing concubinage very frequently condemned by the Church, and, hence, that the sacrament can never be separated from the conjugal agreement, and that it pertains absolutely to the power of the Church to discern those things which can pertain in any way to the same matrimony." (Pope Pius IX, 1857 A.D.)

"We also want you to imbue your flock with reverence for the sanctity of marriage so that they may never do anything to detract from the dignity of this sacrament. They should do nothing that might be unbecoming to this spotless union nor anything that might cause doubt about the perpetuity of the bond of matrimony. This goal will be accomplished if the Christian people are accurately taught that the sacrament of matrimony ought to be governed not so much by human law as by divine law and that it ought to be counted among sacred, not earthly, concerns. Thus, it is wholly subject to the Church. Formerly marriage had no other purpose than that of bringing children into the world. But now it has been raised to the dignity of a sacrament by Christ the Lord and enriched with heavenly gifts. Now its purpose is not so much to generate offspring as to educate children for God and for religion. This increases the number of worshippers of the true divinity. It is agreed that the union of marriage signifies the perpetual and sublime union of Christ with His Church; as a result, the close union of husband and wife is a sacrament, that is, a sacred sign of the immortal love of Christ for His spouse. Therefore, teach the people what is sanctioned and what is condemned by the rules of the Church and the decrees of the Councils. Also explain those things which pertain to the essence of the sacrament. Then they will be able to accomplish those things and will not dare to attempt what the Church detests. We ask this earnestly of you because of your love of religion." (Pope Pius VIII, "Traditi Humilitati", 1829 A.D.)

"The true origin of marriage, venerable brothers, is well known to all. Though revilers of the Christian faith refuse to acknowledge the never-interrupted doctrine of the Church on this subject, and have long striven to destroy the testimony of all nations and of all times, they have nevertheless failed not only to quench the powerful light of truth, but even to lessen it. We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time. And this union of man and woman, that it might answer more fittingly to the infinite wise counsels of God, even from the beginning manifested chiefly two most excellent properties - deeply sealed, as it were, and signed upon it - namely, unity and perpetuity. From the Gospel we see clearly that this doctrine was declared and openly confirmed by the divine authority of Jesus Christ. He bore witness to the Jews and to His Apostles that marriage, from its institution, should exist between two only, that is, between one man and one woman; that of two they are made, so to say, one flesh; and that the marriage bond is by the will of God so closely and strongly made fast that no man may dissolve it or render it asunder.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"To the Apostles, indeed, as our masters, are to be referred the doctrines which our holy Fathers, the Councils, and the Tradition of the Universal Church have always taught, namely, that Christ our Lord raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament; that to husband and wife, guarded and strengthened by the heavenly grace which His merits gained for them, He gave power to attain holiness in the married state; and that, in a wondrous way, making marriage an example of the mystical union between Himself and His Church, He not only perfected that love which is according to nature, but also made the naturally indivisible union of one man with one woman far more perfect through the bond of heavenly love. Paul says to the Ephesians: 'Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it... So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies... For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church; because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church.' In like manner from the teaching of the Apostles we learn that the unity of marriage and its perpetual indissolubility, the indispensable conditions of its very origin, must, according to the command of Christ, be holy and inviolable without exception. Paul says again: 'To them that are married, not I, but the Lord commandeth that the wife depart not from her husband; and if she depart, that she remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.' And again: 'A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband die, she is at liberty.' It is for these reasons that marriage is 'a great sacrament'; 'honorable in all,' holy, pure, and to be reverenced as a type and symbol of most high mysteries." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"I answer that, A thing is said to be natural in two ways. First, as resulting of necessity from the principles of nature; thus upward movement is natural to fire. In this way matrimony is not natural, nor are any of those things that come to pass at the intervention or motion of the free-will. Secondly, that is said to be natural to which nature inclines although it comes to pass through the intervention of the free-will; thus acts of virtue and the virtues themselves are called natural; and in this way matrimony is natural, because natural reason inclines thereto in two ways. First, in relation to the principal end of matrimony, namely the good of the offspring. For nature intends not only the begetting of offspring, but also its education and development until it reach the perfect state of man as man, and that is the state of virtue. Hence, according to the Philosopher (Ethica Nicomachea viii,11,12), we derive three things from our parents, namely existence, nourishment, and education. Now a child cannot be brought up and instructed unless it have certain and definite parents, and this would not be the case unless there were a tie between the man and a definite woman and it is in this that matrimony consists. Secondly, in relation to the secondary end of matrimony, which is the mutual services which married persons render one another in household matters. For just as natural reason dictates that men should live together, since one is not self-sufficient in all things concerning life, for which reason man is described as being naturally inclined to political society, so too among those works that are necessary for human life some are becoming to men, others to women. Wherefore nature inculcates that society of man and woman which consists in matrimony... nature does not incline thereto in the same way in all animals; since there are animals whose offspring are able to seek food immediately after birth, or are sufficiently fed by their mother; and in these there is no tie between male and female; whereas in those whose offspring needs the support of both parents, although for a short time, there is a certain tie, as may be seen in certain birds. In man, however, since the child needs the parents' care for a long time, there is a very great tie between male and female, to which tie even the generic nature inclines... Nature intends not only being in the offspring, but also perfect being, for which matrimony is necessary" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Although it is not to be doubted, that clandestine marriages, made with the free consent of the contracting parties, are valid and true marriages, so long as the Church has not rendered them invalid; and consequently, that those persons are justly to be condemned, as the holy Synod doth condemn them with anathema, who deny that such marriages are true and valid; as also those who falsely affirm that marriages contracted by the children of a family, without the consent of their parents, are invalid, and that parents can make such marriages either valid or invalid; nevertheless, the holy Church of God has, for reasons most just, at all times detested and prohibited such marriages. But whereas the holy Synod perceives that those prohibitions, by reason of man's disobedience, are no longer of avail; and whereas it takes into account the grievous sins which arise from the said clandestine marriages, and especially the sins of those parties who live on in a state of damnation, when, having left their former wife, with whom they had contracted marriage secretly, they publicly marry another, and with her live in perpetual adultery; an evil which the Church, which judges not of what is hidden, cannot rectify, unless some more efficacious remedy be applied; wherefore, treading in the steps of the sacred Council of Lateran celebrated under Innocent III., it ordains that, for the future, before a marriage is contracted, the proper parish priest of the contracting parties shall three times announce publicly in the Church, during the solemnization of Mass, on three continuous festival days, between whom marriage is to be celebrated; after which publication of banns, if there be no lawful impediment opposed, the marriage shall be proceeded with in the face of the church; where the parish priest, after having interrogated the man and the woman, and heard their mutual consent, shall either say, 'I join you together in matrimony, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;' or, he shall use other words, according to the received rite of each province. But if upon occasion, there should be a probable suspicion that the marriage may be maliciously hindered, if so many publications of banns precede it; in this case either one publication only shall be made; or at least the marriage shall be celebrated in the presence of the parish priest, and of two or three witnesses: Then, before the consummation thereof, the banns shall be published in the church; that so, if there be any secret impediments, they may be the more easily discovered: unless the Ordinary shall himself judge it expedient, that the publications aforesaid be dispensed with, which the holy Synod leaves to his prudence and judgment. Those who shall attempt to contract marriage otherwise than in the presence of the parish priest, or of some other priest by permission of the said parish priest, or of the Ordinary, and in the presence of two or three witnesses; the holy Synod renders such wholly incapable of thus contracting... Furthermore, the same holy Synod exhorts the bridegroom and bride not to live together in the same house until they have received the sacerdotal benediction, which is to be given in the church; and It ordains that the benediction shall be given by their own parish priest, and that permission to give the aforesaid benediction cannot be granted by any other than the parish priest himself, or the Ordinary; any custom, even though immemorial, which ought rather to be called a corruption, or any privilege to the contrary, notwithstanding." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

Also See: Matrimony (Gen'l. Info.) | Matrimony (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Praise / Benefits of Matrimony | Marriage Not Equal to Virginity (Catholic Life Reflections) | Marriage Not Recommended for All (Catholic Life Reflections) | Marriage, Family & Home (Catholic Life Reflections) | Primacy of Husband / Obedience of Wife (Catholic Life Reflections) | Mixed Marriages | Marriage (Classic Encyclicals) | Matrimony (Topical Scripture) | Marriage (Topical Scripture) | Prayers for Home / Family | Marital Separation (Catholic Life Reflections) | Against Divorce & 'Remarriage' (Catholic Life Reflections) | Catholic Life Section

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Marriage, Family & Home (Catholic Life Reflections)

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Praise / Benefits of Matrimony

Also See: Holy Matrimony (Topic Page)

"The first natural tie of human society is man and wife." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Nothing so welds our life together as the love of man and wife." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"All the wealth of the world cannot be compared with the happiness of living together happily united [in holy matrimony]." (St. Margaret d'Youville)

"Among men there is no love more ardent, no greater or more intimate tie, than that of those who are united by marriage." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"For baptized persons, moreover, marriage invests the dignity of a sacramental sign of grace, inasmuch as it represents the union of Christ and of the Church." (Pope Paul VI)

"Can. 1110 From a valid marriage there arises between the spouses a bond that by its nature is perpetual and exclusive; moreover, Christian marriage confers grace on the spouses who do not oppose it." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Among all nations and all men, therefore, the advantage of marriage is for the sake of begetting offspring and in the fidelity of chastity. In the case of the people of God, however, there is also the holiness of the Sacrament" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 401 A.D.)

"Marriage itself among all races is for the one purpose of procreating children, whatever will be their station and character afterwards; marriage was instituted for this purpose, so that children might be born properly and decently." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

"Marriage has God for its Author, and was from the very beginning a kind of foreshadowing of the incarnation of His Son; and therefore there abides in it a something holy and religious; not extraneous, but innate; not derived from men, but implanted by nature." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Marriage has three blessings. The first is children, to be received and raised for God's service. The second is the loyal faith whereby each serves the other. The third is the sacrament, which signifies the inseparable union of Christ with His Church." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1013 § 1 The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; the secondary [end] is mutual support and a remedy for concupiscence. § 2 The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility, which in Christian marriage obtain special firmness by reason of the sacrament." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Certainly it is God who joins two in one, so that when He marries a woman to a man, there are no longer two. And since it is God who joins them, there is in this joining a grace for those who are joined by God." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

"How shall we ever be able adequately to describe the happiness of that marriage which the Church arranges, the Sacrifice [of the Mass] strengthens, upon which the blessing sets a seal, at which the angels are present as witnesses, and to which the Father gives His consent." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), 3rd century A.D.]

"The efficient cause of matrimony is the mutual consent of the partners expressed in words about their undertaking here and now. Marriage has three blessings. The first is children, to be received and raised for God's service. The second is the loyal faith whereby each serves the other. The third is the sacrament, which signifies the inseparable union of Christ with His Church." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Three blessings are ascribed to matrimony. The first is the procreation and education of children for the worship of God. The second is fidelity that each of the spouses must observe towards the other. The third is the indissolubility of matrimony - indissoluble because it signifies the indivisible union of Christ with the Church. Although a separation from bed may be permitted by reason of marital infidelity, nevertheless is not permitted to contract another matrimony since the bond of marriage lawfully contracted is perpetual." (Council of Florence)

"How great is the dignity of chaste wedlock, Venerable Brethren, may be judged best from this that Christ Our Lord, Son of the Eternal Father, having assumed the nature of fallen man, not only, with His loving desire of compassing the redemption of our race, ordained it in an especial manner as the principle and foundation of domestic society and therefore of all human intercourse, but also raised it to the rank of a truly and great sacrament of the New Law, restored it to the original purity of its divine institution, and accordingly entrusted all its discipline and care to His spouse the Church." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"To the Apostles, indeed, as our masters, are to be referred the doctrines which 'our holy Fathers, the Councils, and the Tradition of the Universal Church have always taught,' namely, that Christ our Lord raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament; that to husband and wife, guarded and strengthened by the heavenly grace which His merits gained for them, He gave power to attain holiness in the married state; and that, in a wondrous way, making marriage an example of the mystical union between Himself and His Church, He not only perfected that love which is according to nature, but also made the naturally indivisible union of one man with one woman far more perfect through the bond of heavenly love." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"His condescension in coming to the marriage, and the miracle He wrought there, are, even considering them in the letter only, a strong confirmation of the faith. Therein too are condemned the errors of Tatian, Marcion, and others who detract from the honor of marriage. For if the undefiled bed, and the marriage celebrated with due chastity, partook at all of sin, our Lord would never have come to one. Whereas now, conjugal chastity being good, the continence of widows better, the perfection of the virgin state best, to sanction all these degrees, but distinguish the merit of each, He deigned to be born of the pure womb of the Virgin; was blessed after birth by the prophetic voice of the widow Anna; and now invited in manhood to attend the celebration of a marriage, honors that also by the presence of His goodness." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"But considering the benefits of the Sacrament, besides the firmness and indissolubility, there are also much higher emoluments as the word 'sacrament' itself very aptly indicates; for to Christians this is not a meaningless and empty name. Christ the Lord, the Institutor and 'Perfecter' of the holy sacraments, by raising the matrimony of His faithful to the dignity of a true sacrament of the New Law, made it a sign and source of that peculiar internal grace by which 'it perfects natural love, it confirms an indissoluble union, and sanctifies both man and wife.' And since the valid matrimonial consent among the faithful was constituted by Christ as a sign of grace, the sacramental nature is so intimately bound up with Christian wedlock that there can be no true marriage between baptized persons 'without it being by that very fact a sacrament.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"It will now be necessary to explain that Matrimony is far superior in its sacramental aspect and aims at an incomparably higher end. For as marriage, as a natural union, was instituted from the beginning to propagate the human race; so was the sacramental dignity subsequently conferred upon it in order that a people might be begotten and brought up for the service and worship of the true God and of Christ our Savior. Thus when Christ our Lord wished to give a sign of the intimate union that exists between Him and His Church and of His immense love for us, He chose especially the sacred union of man and wife. That this sign was a most appropriate one will readily appear from the fact that of all human relations there is none that binds so closely as the marriage tie, and from the fact that husband and wife are bound to one another by the bounds of the greatest affection and love. Hence it is that Holy Writ so frequently represents to us the divine union of Christ and the Church under the figure of marriage." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Even family life itself, which is the cornerstone of all society and government, necessarily feels and experiences the salutary power of the Church, which redounds to the right ordering and preservation of every State and kingdom. For you know, venerable brethren, that the foundation of this society rests first of all in the indissoluble union of man and wife according to the necessity of natural law, and is completed in the mutual rights and duties of parents and children, masters and servants. You know also that the doctrines of socialism strive almost completely to dissolve this union; since, that stability which is imparted to it by religious wedlock being lost, it follows that the power of the father over his own children, and the duties of the children toward their parents, must be greatly weakened. But the Church, on the contrary, teaches that 'marriage, honorable in all,' which God himself instituted in the very beginning of the world, and made indissoluble for the propagation and preservation of the human species, has become still more binding and more holy through Christ, who raised it to the dignity of a sacrament, and chose to use it as the figure of His own union with the Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Apostolici Muneris", 1878 A.D.)

"From the beginning of the world, indeed, it was divinely ordained that things instituted by God and by nature should be proved by us to be the more profitable and salutary the more they remain unchanged in their full integrity. For God, the Maker of all things, well knowing what was good for the institution and preservation of each of His creatures, so ordered them by His will and mind that each might adequately attain the end for which it was made. If the rashness or the wickedness of human agency venture to change or disturb that order of things which has been constituted with fullest foresight, then the designs of infinite wisdom and usefulness begin either to be hurtful or cease to be profitable, partly because through the change undergone they have lost their power of benefiting, and partly because God chooses to inflict punishment on the pride and audacity of man. Now, those who deny that marriage is holy, and who relegate it, striped of all holiness, among the class of common secular things, uproot thereby the foundations of nature, not only resisting the designs of Providence, but, so far as they can, destroying the order that God has ordained. No one, therefore, should wonder if from such insane and impious attempts there spring up a crop of evils pernicious in the highest degree both to the salvation of souls and to the safety of the commonwealth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"Marriage is a sacred state, for it was instituted by God. The first marriage was celebrated in the earthly Paradise between Adam and Even, when yet they were innocent. It was God himself who dictated the conditions of marriage. Unity was to be its very basis; in other words, the wife was to have but one husband, the husband was to have but one wife. It was the type of a still more glorious unity, which was not to be revealed till a later period. The mystery of unity typified by marriage being part of the Christian revelation, we deem it a duty to put it before our readers by the following considerations. The angels were all created at one and the same time: but the members of the human race were to be born, each indeed from their respective parents, but yet so as that Adam and Eve were to be the common parents to whom all were to owe their origin. Such was our Creator's design, and marriage was the means he selected for its fulfillment. An immense multitude of the angels having fallen, the places destined for them in heaven were to be filled up by the elect of earth; again, it was marriage that was to provide these citizens for heaven. Hence, God blessed marriage at the very commencement of the world, and with a blessing which was to be permanent, for, as the Church teaches us... 'it was not recalled, either by the punishment inflicted on original sin, or by the sentence which destroyed the world by the deluge.'" (Gueranger)

"[T]here has been vouchsafed to the marriage union a higher and nobler purpose than was ever previously given to it. By the command of Christ, it not only looks to the propagation of the human race, but to the bringing forth of children for the Church, 'fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God'; so that 'a people might be born and brought up for the worship and religion of the true God and our Savior Jesus Christ.' Secondly, the mutual duties of husband and wife have been defined, and their several rights accurately established. They are bound, namely, to have such feelings for one another as to cherish always very great mutual love, to be ever faithful to their marriage vow, and to give one another an unfailing and unselfish help. The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity. Since the husband represents Christ, and since the wife represents the Church, let there always be, both in him who commands and in her who obeys, a heaven-born love guiding both in their respective duties. For 'the husband is the head of the wife; as Christ is the head of the Church... Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things.'... From this we see clearly that the duties of husbands and wives are neither few nor light; although to married people who are good these burdens become not only bearable but agreeable, owing to the strength which they gain through the sacrament." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.) 

"[Jesus] selected the nuptial feast at Cana as the occasion of his working his first public miracle. By his accepting the invitation to assist, in company with his blessed Mother, at the marriage, it is evident that he wished to honor, by his divine presence, the sacred engagement which was to unite the two spouses; it is evident that he intended to renew, in their persons, the ancient blessing given in Paradise. Having, by his miracle at Cana, proved himself to be truly the Son of God, he began his public life and preaching. His object being to reform fallen man to the noble end for which he had been created, he frequently made marriage the subject of his instructions. He spoke of its being divinely instituted on the basis of unity. He authoritatively repeated the command given at its first institution: They shall be two in one flesh: two, and only two. Speaking of the indissolubility of the marriage tie, he told his hearers that no power on earth, not even the unfaithfulness, however criminal, of the husband or wife, could sever the bond. These were his words: What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Thus did he restore marriage to its normal state; thus did he abrogate the degrading liberty, or more correctly, the libertinism of polygamy and divorce - those sad proofs of the hardness of man's heart, and of the need he had of a Redeemer. Thus did the New Law bring back to marriage its primal blessing, and make it once more a holy state, which, so far from being an obstacle, is a means to virtue, and peoples both earth and heaven with the elect. But our Risen Jesus would do more than repair the injuries brought upon marriage by human frailty. He raised to the dignity of a sacrament the solemn and irrevocable contract whereby a man and women take each other for husband and wife. The moment that two Christians are thus irrevocably united, a sacrament grace descends upon them, and cements their union, which there and then becomes a sacred thing. The Apostle, speaking of Christian marriage, says: It is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ, and in the Church (Eph v 32). The meaning of these words is that marriage is the type of union which exists between Christ and his Spouse the Church. There is one and the same object and end in the two unions - that of Christ with the Church, and in that of the husband with the wife: this object, this end, is to people heaven with the elect. Hence it is that the Holy Ghost puts his divine seal upon both these unions. But the grace of the seventh sacrament does more than cement the indissoluble union of husband and wife. It gives them every help they stand in need of for the fulfillment of their sacred mission. First of all, it infuses into their hearts a mutual love, which is strong as death, and which many waters cannot quench (Cant. viii 6,7), so long as they make religion the ruling principle of their lives. This love is mingled with a sentiment of chaste respect, which serves as a check upon evil concupiscence. It is a love which time, far from impairing, makes purer and stauncher. It is a love calm like that which is found in heaven. When sacrifices are to be made, it makes them almost without an effort, and is intensified by the making. The sacramental grace also fits the husband and wife for the great duty of educating their children. It gives them an untiring devotedness for their welfare; and affectionate patience with their faults; a supernatural discernment for treating them according to their ages and dispositions; a ceaseless remembrance of the fact that these dear ones were created for heaven; and finally, a deep-rooted sentiment that they belong to God more truly than to the parents, through whom he gave them life. Thus was the married state transformed by the grace of the sacrament of matrimony." (Gueranger)

"The Christian Law restored to [marriage] the dignity of which the vile egotism of pagan passion had deprived it. After so long a period of degradation, mankind was again brought to the knowledge of what marriage really is - namely, love surrounded by sacrifice, and sacrifice prompted and aided by love. Truly a sacrament was needed for bringing about such a change as this! The change came, and admirable indeed it was. Two centuries had not passed since the promulgation of the Gospel, and paganism was still powerful; and yet we find a writer of those days giving the following description of a Christian husband and wife. 'How shall I find words to describe the happiness of a marriage, whose tie is formed by the hands of the Church, which is confirmed by the sacred oblation, sealed by the blessing, proclaimed by the angels, and ratified by the heavenly Father? How wonderful a yoke is that which is taken up by two of the faithful united together in the same hope, in the same law, in the same duty! They have the same God for their Father, they serve the same Master, they are two in one flesh, they are one heart and soul. They pray together, they prostrate together, they fast together; they instruct each other, they exhort each other, they encourage each other. You see them together in the Church, and at the holy Table. They share in each other's trials, persecutions, and joys. There are no secrets between them; no such thing as shunning each other, or being wearied of each other's company. They have not to hide from each other, in order to visit the sick or the needy. Their alms excite no disputes; they approve of each other's sacrifices; they interfere not with each other's practices of piety. They have no need to make the sign of the Cross stealthily; neither are they afraid to give way, in each other's presence, to feelings of love and gratitude for their God. They sing together the psalms and canticles: and if there be any rivalry between them, it is which of them shall best sing the praises of God. Oh! These are the marriages which gladden the eyes and ears of Christ. These are the marriages to which he imparts his blessing of peace. He has said, that he would be where two are united together; therefore, he is in such a house as the one we are describe and the enemy of man is not there.' (Tertullian). What a picture! And how great must be the sacrament which can bring about such results as this!" (Gueranger)

Also See: Matrimony (Gen'l. Info.) | Matrimony (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Matrimony Basics / Misc. | Marriage, Family & Home (Catholic Life Reflections) | Marriage Not Equal to Virginity (Catholic Life Reflections) | Marriage Not Recommended for All (Catholic Life Reflections) | Marriage (Classic Encyclicals) | Matrimony (Topical Scripture) | Marriage (Topical Scripture)

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Separation (Marital)

Also See: Holy Matrimony (Topic Page)

Note: Marital separation does NOT mean that the couple may be granted a divorce or that remarriage is allowed. It is important to note that "A ratified and consummated valid marriage can be dissolved by no human power and for no cause, outside of death" (1917 Code of Canon Law, cf. 1983 Code of Canon Law Can.1141). For more information, click here

"When, indeed, matters have come to such a pitch that it seems impossible for them to live together any longer, then the Church allows them to live apart, and strives at the same time to soften the evils of this separation by such remedies and helps as are suited to their condition; yet she never ceases to endeavor to bring about a reconciliation, and never despairs of doing so. But these are extreme cases; and they would seldom exist if men and women entered into the married state with proper dispositions, not influenced by passion, but entertaining right ideas of the duties of marriage and of its noble purpose; neither would they anticipate their marriage by a series of sins drawing down upon them the wrath of God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880)

"Can. 1153 §1 A spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult, provides the other spouse with a reason to leave, either by a decree of the local Ordinary or, if there is danger in delay, even on his or her own authority. §2 In all cases, when the reason for separation ceases, the common conjugal life is to be restored, unless otherwise provided by ecclesiastical authority." (1983 Code of Canon Law) 

"Can. 1131 § 1 If one spouse gives his name to a non-Catholic sect; if he raises the children non-Catholic; if he leads a criminal or disgraceful life; or if one creates grave danger to the soul or body of the other; if by cruelty, one renders common life too difficult; these reasons and others of their sort are for the other spouse completely legitimate reasons for leaving, with the authority of the local Ordinary, or even on [the spouse's] own authority if these things appear certain and there is danger in delay. § 2 In all such cases, the cause of the separation ceasing, life together is to be restored; but if the separation was decided by the Ordinary for a certain or uncertain time, the innocent spouse is not bound [to return] except by decree of the Ordinary or upon the completion of the same." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: Of course, the above refers to a physical separation of the spouses. Remarriage of either spouse is not allowed prior to the death of the other spouse.]

"If any one saith, that the Church errs, in that she declares that, for many causes, a separation may take place between husband and wife, in regard of bed, or in regard of cohabitation, for a determinate or for an indeterminate period; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent) [Reminder: Marital separation does NOT mean that the couple may be granted a divorce or that remarriage is allowed.]

"Can. 1154 When a separation of spouses has taken place, provision is always, and in good time, to be made for the due maintenance and upbringing of the children." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: Marital Separation (Catholic Life Reflections) | Against Divorce & 'Remarriage' (Catholic Life Reflections) | Matrimony (Gen'l. Info.) | Matrimony (Catechism of the Council of Trent) | Matrimony Basics / Misc. | Marriage, Family & Home (Catholic Life Reflections) | Praise / Benefits of Matrimony | Prayers for Home / Family | Mixed Marriages

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