Lesson 35 from the Baltimore Cathechism
457. What is the sacrament of Matrimony?
Matrimony is the sacrament by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties.
And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them. And God blessed them, saying "Increase and multiply, and fill the earth." (Genesis 1:27-28)
458. What are the chief duties of husband and wife in the married state?
The chief duties of husband and wife in the married state are to be faithful to each other, and to provide in every way for the welfare of the children God may give them.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is becoming in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter towards them. (Colossians 3:18-19)
459. Why does the bond of the sacrament of Matrimony last until the death of husband or wife?
The bond of the sacrament of Matrimony lasts until the death of husband or wife because Christ has said: "What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."
A woman is bound as long as her husband is alive, but if her husband dies, she is free. (I Corinthians 7:39)
460. What is meant by the unity of the sacrament of Matrimony?
By the unity of the sacrament of Matrimony is meant that the husband cannot during the life of his wife have another wife, nor the wife during the life of her husband have another husband.
461. Why is every true marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman a sacrament?
Every true marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament because Christ Himself raised every marriage of this kind to the dignity of a sacrament.
462. Why has the Catholic Church alone the right to make laws regulating the marriages of baptized persons?
The Catholic Church alone has the right to make laws regulating the marriages of baptized persons because the Church alone has authority over the sacraments and over sacred matters affecting baptized persons.
463. What authority has the State regarding the marriages of baptized persons?
Regarding the marriages of baptized persons, the State has the authority to make laws concerning their effects that are merely civil.
Then he said to them, "Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21)
464. What is necessary to receive the sacrament of Matrimony worthily?
To receive the sacrament of Matrimony worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace, to know the duties of married life, and to obey the marriage laws of the Church.
For we are children of the saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God. (Tobias 8:5)
465. In whose presence do the laws of the Church require a Catholic to be married?
The laws of the Church require a Catholic to be married in the presence of the parish priest, or the bishop of the diocese, or a priest delegated by either of them, and before two witnesses.
466. What are the chief effects of the sacrament of Matrimony?
The chief effects of the sacrament of Matrimony are: first, an increase of sanctifying grace; second, the special help of God for husband and wife to love each other faithfully, to bear with each other's faults, and to bring up their children properly.
467. What should Catholics do to prepare for a holy and happy marriage?
To prepare for a holy and happy marriage, Catholics should:
- pray that God may direct their choice;
- seek the advice of their parents and confessors;
- third practice the virtues, especially chastity;
- frequently receive the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist.
Or do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought at a great price. Glorify God and bear him in your body. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)
468. How can Catholics best obtain God's blessing for their marriage?
Catholics can best obtain God's blessing for their marriage by being married at a Nuptial Mass and by receiving Holy Communion devoutly.
Sara also said, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us; and let us grow old both together in health." (Tobias 8:10)