Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  311 / 665 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 311 / 665 Next Page
Page Background

Chapter 21. The Sacrament of Marriage • 283


The marriage covenant, by which a man and woman

form with each other an intimate communion of life and

love, has been founded and endowed with its own spe-

cial laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered

to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation

and education of children. Christ the Lord raised mar-

riage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament.

—CCC, no. 1660



teaches that Christ’s grace in the Sacrament of Marriage

protects the essential purposes of marriage: the good of the couple and

the generation and education of children. These purposes are protected

and fostered by the permanence of the marriage bond and the mutual

fidelity of the spouses.

“What God has joined together, no human being must separate”

(Mk 10:9). We have already noted that God’s plan for marriage involves

a permanent covenant embraced by the couple. The Church declares

every valid sacramental consummated marriage to be indissoluble, that

is, no one can dissolve the marriage bond.

The Sacrament obliges marital fidelity between the spouses. Love

has a definitive quality about it. It is more than a practical arrangement

or a temporary contract. Marital intimacy and the good of the children

require total fidelity to conjugal love. This flows from Christ’s own fidel-

ity to the Church, which he loved so much that he died for her. By their

mutual fidelity, the spouses continue to make present to each other the

love of Christ and lead each other to greater holiness through the grace

they receive from the Sacrament.

Married love is ordered to the good of the spouses and to the pro-

creation and education of children. These are the unitive and procreative

purposes of marriage. “By its very nature the institution of marriage and

married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring

and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory” (CCC, no. 1652; GS,

no. 48). The fruitfulness of married love includes the moral, spiritual,