Catechism of the Catholic Church

406 Part Two 1624 The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God’s grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church. 126 The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever-​ available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity. III. M atrimonial C onsent 1625 The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means: — not being under constraint; — not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law. 1626 The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the mar- riage.” 127 If consent is lacking there is no marriage. 1627 The consent consists in a “human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other”: “I take you to be my wife”​ —“I take you to be my husband.” 128 This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two “becoming one flesh.” 129 1628 The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear. 130 No human power can substitute for this consent. 131 If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid. 1629 For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the compe- tent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed. 132 In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are dis- charged. 133 126 Cf. Eph 5:32. 127 CIC, can. 1057 § 1. 128 GS 48 § 1; OCM 45; cf. CIC, can. 1057 § 2. 129 Gen 2:24; cf. Mk 10:8; Eph 5:31. 130 Cf. CIC, can. 1103. 131 Cf. CIC, can. 1057 § 1. 132 Cf. CIC, cann. 1095-1107. 133 Cf. CIC, can. 1071. 736 1734 2201 1735