Christian Marriage

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  • Created by: sophiaszy
  • Created on: 19-05-16 21:07

Legal and Religious Ideas of Marriage

Christian marriage is a commitment to the other person and God.

A wedding in Church might be recognised by the Church but is not recognised by the law unless a registrar is present.

A wedding in a registry office with no Church wedding is not officially a Christian marriage as understood by the Catholic Church.

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The Sacrament of Marriage

Christian marriage: when a man and a woman come together and promise to live together in a lifelong, permanent and exlusive relationship.

  • Marriage is a vocation
  • The Holy Spirit helps the couple grow in mutual love (is present at all sacraments)
  • Love between men and women should reflect the love of God
  • The couple should love each other "as Christ loves the Church"

What is Christian Marriage?

  • A lifelong, permanent love
  • An exclusive, faithful love
  • Life-giving

Love in Marriage:

  • Couple should share the joys of each other, forgive one another, bring healing to each other

CATHOLIC TEACHING: Jesus celebrating at the wedding of Cana with a miracle

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Purpose of a Christian Marriage

P - permanent

U - unite and support

R - restrict casual sex

P - procreate

O - one time only

S - sacrament 

E - everlasting

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The Rite and Symbolism of Marriage

Conditions of marriage:

  • Marriage must be freely chosen
  • The bride and groom must be free to marry (not already maried)
  • Marriage must be open to possibility of having children
  • The bride and groom should understand that marriage is a sacrament and a covenant

Marriage Preparation:

  • Couple must attend marriage preparation classes to ensure they understand what marriage involves
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Family Duties:


  • Respect parents for their life, love and work to help them grow and fully develop
  • Be obedient to parents
  • Show love towards and respect for brothers and sisters


  • Respect children as gifts, not pieces of property
  • Respecy God's call for their children and not hold them back
  • Be responsible for spiritual and moral education of children
  • Provide children with a suitable home and be good examples to them

CATHOLIC TEACHING: "Thus the home is the first school of Christian life"

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Family Life

Why is Family Life Important?

  • The Bible teaches the importance of family life
  • The marriage service refers to founding a family and bringing children up in a Christian environment as major purposes of marriage
  • Catholics see family as the basis of society
  • The Church teaches that family was created by God to keep society together

The Changing Nature of Family Life:

Now ---

  • There are many single parent families
  • In many families, the mother and father are not married
  • More reconstituted families
  • More grandparents are involved in looking after family as single mothers work
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Adoption and Fostering

How the Church supports family life:

  • Schools to support education of children of a Catholic community
  • Social events organised for families to do things together
  • Resources to help support marriages 


  • Looking after someone's child for a period of time
  • Help child to live in a stable family


  • Taking on all legal parental rights of child in a lifelong commitment

Many children who need to be looked after have suffered emotional harm and may feel a sense of loss of their family

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Adoption and Fostering

What qualities are needed to look after children?

  • Commitment to a child
  • A sense of humour
  • A flexible, open-minded, patient approach
  • The ability to accept a child's past and make relationships with them

Before you can foster or adopt, you must pass an important process which checks your suitability for caring for these children who need support.

Why do Christians put themselves forward for fostering and adoption?

  • They may be infertile.
  • They may feel they have had a fortunate life with good family support and want to share this.
  • They may want to express their generosity by caring for children in need.
  • They may feek moved by the presence of so many children with no parents and see adoption or fostering as a way they can live a life of love for others, and make a difference in the world.
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Sex Outside Marriage

Sex outside marriage: sex between two people who are not married to each other; includes adultery and sex before marriage/casual sex.

Arguments AGAINST sex outside marriage (Catholic Church View):

  • It is described as "fornication" in the Bible
  • If you are not married, you should live by chastity
  • Human body is precious --- "a temple of the Holy Spirit"
  • Casual sex expresses little love & is temporary unlike marriage - depriciates value of sex
  • Living together is not as much commitment as marriage
  • Could result in unwanted pregnancies which could increase number of abortions

Arguments FOR sex outside marriage:

  • Weddings are too expensive & are just a piece of paper - doesn't change nature of relationship
  • Divorce is common so you should be allowed a "trial period" where you live together
  • Sex is an expression of love which we should be able to freely offer to those who want it

CATHOLIC TEACHING: "The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage"

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Marital Breakdown

Why is Adultery Wrong?

  • Breaks wedding vows
  • Breaks one of the Ten Commandments

What causes marriage difficulties?

  • An inability to have children
  • Loss of a child
  • Financial difficulties
  • Unfaithfulness

What can be done to prevent marital breakdown?

  • Good marriage preparation (provided by the Church) to help prevent misunderstandings
  • Good communication
  • Praying for help to overcome issues
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Marriage counselling
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Divorce, Remarriage and Annulment

Divorce: legal ending of a marriage 

Annulment: when the Roman Catholic Church declares a marriage invalid

Remarriage: when people who have been married before marry again

Remarriage cannot take place in the Catholic Church because it breaks the Wedding Vows - "Till death do us part". Remarriage is considered adultery in the Catholic Church.

Why have views towards divorce changed?

  • It is cheaper and easier to get divorced
  • Lesser of two evils
  • People live longer so are married longer 
  • Women do not depend on their husbands financially anymore, so can afford divorce
  • Women are less prepared to put up with unequal treatment from their husbands

CATHOLIC TEACHING: "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate"

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Divorce, Remarriage and Annulment

What is the Catholic Church view on divorce and remarriage?

The Catholic Church is against divorce and remarriage because:

  • Jesus taught that divorce is wrong 
  • Church teaches that divorce ruins society and family life
  • Catholics are allowed legal separations but cannot remarry afterwards
  • The couple made a covenant with God in a sacrament which cannot be broken by man

Some believe divorce and remarriage is acceptable because:

  • It can be the lesser of two evils
  • They think Jesus allowed divorce for adultery (MATTHEW 5:27-32)
  • Christians are allowed a new chance for confessed sins, so they should have another chance at marriage (ie remarry) as long as they are determined to make it work this time
  • God wants people to be happy
  • Human beings make mistakes (ie marry the wrong person) and should be forgiven
  • In cases such as domestic violence/abuse, it is dangerous to stay married
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Divorce, Remarriage and Annulment


  • NOT a Roman Catholic version of divorce
  • The decision of the Church that the Sacrament of marriage was not present when vows were made

Situations which may lead to an annulment being granted include:

  • Where one or both were forced into the marriage
  • Where one or both never intended to have children
  • Where one refuses to show any love to the other

Annulment recognises that consent was not fully/properly given at the time the vows were made.

Those who have had their marriage annulled can marry again in the Catholic Church.

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