Frequently Asked Questions about Marriage

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1. Why does the Church teach that marriage is a sacrament?

Because it is sacred. Marriage is to be a union of love, and the sacraments make Christ, the author of all love, present in our midst. For this reason, marriage between two baptized persons is a sacrament. Like the other sacraments, marriage is not just for the good of individuals or the couple but also for the community as a whole. The Old Testament prophets saw the marriage of a man and woman as a symbol of the covenant relationship between God and his people. The permanent and exclusive union between husband and wife mirrors the mutual commitment between God and his people. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians says that this union is a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

2. Do Catholics ever validly enter into non-sacramental marriages?

Yes. Marriages between Catholics and non-Christians, while they may still be valid in the eyes of the Church, are non-sacramental. They are still blessed by God, and with permission a priest or deacon may witness such marriages.

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