Christian Marriage

  • Sacrament of marriage
  • Rites and symbolism of marriage
  • Adoption and fostering
  • Sex outside marriage
  • Marital breakdown etc
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Rites and vows.

Rite: A set pattern of words and actions for example those which are used in the celebration of the sacraments

Vows: Solemn promises that are made, using usually with God and people as witnesses.

The bride and the groom marry eachother. The priest is a witness of the church and God. He leads the celebration but he does NOT do the marriage.

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Christian Marriage

Marriage: A legal union between a man and a woman. The sacramental union between a man and a woman in the Roman catholic church witnessed by a priest and the community. 

The church teaches that the love between men and women should reflect the love of God. They should love eachother as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:24)

Christian marriage is:

  • Permanent (Until death)
  • Exclusive (To be completely faithful, belonging and working together)
  • Live giving (Should be open to the bringing up of a christian family)
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The church teaches that:

  • The family is where society begins
  • The family is the church at home
  • Community of faith, hope and love which supports the church's teachings
  • It is also where children first learn about Christian life

Children must obey parents (Refer to ten commandments). They must show love and respect towards them.

Thus the home is the first school of Christian life. (Catechism 1657)

Parents should respect children and persons of human dignity, not property. Must provide suitable home and set good examples.  Teach spiritual, moral education to their children so they can grow responsibly and in faith.

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Adoption and fostering

Fostering: Taking of a child from a different family into a family home and bringing them up with the rest of the new family. Sometimes help children reunite with birth parents.

Adoption: The legal process where a child is adopted into the family as a son or daughter. Responsibile as parents.

The church supports family life by:

  • Welcoming families to mass.
  • Schools to support education of a Roman Catholic community.
  • National charities such as Catholic Child Care.
  • Resources helping support marriage eg. Catholic Marriage Counselling services.
  • Social events to organise families to do things together

Reasons why Christians may put themselves forward for adoption and fostering They feel moved by the presense of the many children who do not have parents to care for them. They foster as it is one way they can lead a life of love to eachother and make a difference. They may be unable to have children of their own (medical reasons) They may feel they have a fortunate life they want to share with others.

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Sex outside of marriage

Sexual relationships outside marriage: Sex between people who are not married to eachother (adultery, sex before marriage and casual sex)

The church teaches that it is wrong and a sign of sin. Adultery and evil thoughts make a man unclean. (Matthew 15:19). The church belives in chastity.

Christians arguments against sex outside marriage: Casual sex expresses little love and little concern for the future for the other person and living together is much of a commitment as marriage. If a child is born, it may not recieve the stability of family life as it is growing up.

Alternative views: Sex is simply a casual expression of love. You should stay faithful to the person you are currently with. Weddings are expensive. Divorce is common, we should be able to have a trial period (living together). Marriage seems to be more about the law rather than the relationship.

"The human body is precious and important (a temple of the Holy Spirit)"- St. Paul.

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Marital breakdown

Marital breakdown can cause stress for a couple and their children.

What causes difficulty in marriage:

  • The loss of early love in marriage
  • The inability to have children
  • The loss of a child
  • Work and money difficulties
  • Unfaithfulness
  • Dissapointment in love making

External help: The priest can provide advice or sacrament of reconcilition. Marriage care, Christian charity provides councelling for relationships.

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Divorce, Remarriage and Annulment

Divorce: A legal ending of a marriage

Remarriage: People who have previously been married, marry again.

Annulment: When the church declares a marriage invalid. One or both of the people do not understand the vows.

"Therefore where God has joined together, let man not seperate."- (Mark 10:9)

Remarriage cannot take place is a Catholic church because of vows promising that only death can do a couple apart.

Annulment is a decision of the church that the sacrament of marriage was not present when the vows were said. (Invalid marriage).

Annulment being granted include: One or both forced into the marriage. When one doesnt intend on having children. Refuses to show love or care for the other.

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