Why do we have to have a Catholic wedding? Why does it take so long to get married in the Church? Why does the Church insist we have children?
These questions and more are answered in this edition of “Sacraments 101,” a web video series geared for those who’d like an introduction or refresher course on these important, tangible Catholic experiences of God.
The Marriage is a lifelong partnership of the whole of life, of mutual and exclusive fidelity, established by mutual consent between a man and a woman, and ordered towards the good of thespouses and the procreation of offspring. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, marriage is not a purely human institution: “the intimate partnership of life and the love which constitutes the married state has been established by the creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . For God himself is the author of marriage.” Moreover, God has endowed marriage with certain essential attributes, without which marriage cannot exist as he intends.
The Church has taught through the ages that marriage is an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. This union, once validly entered and consummated, gives rise to a bond that cannot be dissolved by the will of the spouses. Marriage thus created is a faithful, privileged sphere of intimacy between the spouses that lasts until death.
Marriage is not merely a private institution, however. It is the foundation for the family, where children learn the values and virtues that will make good Christians as well as good citizens. The importance of marriage for children and for the upbringing of the next generation highlights the importance of marriage for all society. (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan A Pastoral Letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)