Marriage in the teaching of the Catholic Church
Cardinal Burke Interview
March 2, 2015
EXCLUSIVE: CARDINAL BURKE INTERVIEW WITH RORATE CAELI
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Thank you to Rorate Caeli for providing this interview with His Eminence Cardinal Burke (The Lion of Rome )
Last week, Rorate Caeli interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke via telephone on numerous topics. Nothing was off the table for this interview and His Eminence was incredibly generous with his time. He showed himself to be brilliant and yet filled with humility. And his care and concern for traditional Catholics must be acknowledged and appreciated.
In this wide-ranging interview, His Eminence talked about issues ripped from the news such as: Vatican officials threatening to sue bloggers; more priests coming under his authority; the dismantling of the Franciscans of the Immaculate; how traditional Catholics can save their souls in this modern world — and get their children the sacraments in the traditional rite in the face of dissenting bishops; priestly celibacy; daily confusion from Pope Francis; and much, much more.
All may reprint/repost this interview — but you must credit Rorate Caeli.
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VATICAN OFFICIALS THREATENING TO SUE BLOGGERS
Rorate Caeli: Your Eminence, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. As the most-read international blog for traditional Catholics, we believe this will give much hope to our readership, and to traditional-minded Catholics everywhere. For our first question: The traditional world, recently, has been stunned by the news that two officials of the Vatican have threatened to sue traditional-minded Catholic bloggers and reporters. Do you agree with this approach, and do you think we should expect to see more of this in the future?
Card. Burke: Unless the blogger has committed a calumny on someone’s good name unjustly, I certainly don’t think that that’s the way we as Catholics should deal with these matters. I think contact should be made. I presume that the Catholic blogger is in good faith, and if there’s someone in the hierarchy who is upset with him, the way to deal with it would be first to approach the person directly and try to resolve the matter in that way. Our Lord in the Gospel and St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians instruct us not to take our disputes to the civil forum, that we should be able, as Catholics, to resolve these matters among ourselves. (cf. Mt. 18:15; 1 Cor. 6:1-6)
CONFUSION FROM POPE FRANCIS
Rorate Caeli: After eight years under Pope Benedict XVI, clergy, laymen, even the media became accustomed to clarity. With so much confusion stemming from the daily statements of Pope Francis, confusion from the Synod, et cetera, is it best to focus more on the local and parish level and on the Church’s tradition, rather than looking for specific guidance from Rome on issues of the day?
Card. Burke: Yes, I think that, in fact, Pope Francis himself has given that indication. For instance in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, he says that he doesn’t consider it to be a magisterial teaching. (n. 16) With someone like Pope Benedict XVI, we had a master teacher who was giving us extended catechesis on various subjects. I now say to people that, if they are experiencing some confusion from the method of teaching of Pope Francis, the important thing is to turn to the catechism and to what the Church has always taught, and to teach that, to foster it at the parish level, beginning first with the family. We can’t lose our energy being frustrated over something that we think we should be receiving and we’re not. Instead, we know for sure what the Church has always taught, and we need to rely on that and concentrate our attention on that.
COMMUNION FOR ADULTERERS & ATTACK ON DOCTRINE
Rorate Caeli: Speaking of that teaching and what we’re hearing, you’ve made news lately by saying you will resist any teaching that’s heterodox on marriage, and that Catholics should fight back, which gets to a whole other question we were asking about. What should be the response of faithful Catholics if there is a change in the discipline in regards to Holy Communion for divorced and remarried adulterers?
Card. Burke: I was answering a hypothetical question. Some people have tried to interpret it as an attack on Pope Francis, which it wasn’t at all. It was a hypothetical question posed to me, and I simply said, “No authority can command us to act against the truth, and, at the same time, when the truth is under any kind of threat, we have to fight for it.” That’s what I meant when I said that. When the hypothetical question was put to me, “What if this agenda is pushed?” I said, “Well, I simply have to resist it. That’s my duty.”
Rorate Caeli: How can a faithful Catholic fight back? Is it in his home? Is it on a blog?
Card Burke: I think you have to keep teaching, in your home and in your own personal life, to hold to the truth of the faith as you know it, and also to speak up about it and to make known to the Holy Father your deep concern, that in fact you cannot accept a change in the Church’s discipline which would amount to a change in her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Here I think it’s very important to address a false dichotomy that’s been drawn by some who say, “Oh no, we’re just changing disciplines. We’re not touching the Church’s doctrine.” But if you change the Church’s discipline with regard to access to Holy Communion by those who are living in adultery, then surely you are changing the Church’s doctrine on adultery. You’re saying that, in some circumstances, adultery is permissible and even good, if people can live in adultery and still receive the sacraments. That is a very serious matter, and Catholics have to insist that the Church’s discipline not be changed in some way which would, in fact, weaken our teaching on one of the most fundamental truths, the truth about marriage and the family.
DISSENTING BISHOPS & SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM
Rorate Caeli: Getting to something that’s right in Your Eminence’s wheelhouse, how do we fulfill the promise and the mandate of Summorum Pontificum at this particular time in the Church, and what role does Canon Law play in making the traditional Latin Mass available in every parish?
Card. Burke: The law stands as it was given by Pope Benedict XVI, and it has not been changed. The document for its implementation was issued by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. All of that holds. All of that urges that when there is a desire for the traditional Mass among a group of the faithful, it is to be provided for them.
Rorate Caeli: Sticking to Summorum, for families whose children have never been exposed to the Novus Ordo, yet their local ordinary will not fulfill the mandates of Summorum by granting them traditional Confirmation, should those families take their children to a neighboring diocese or a personal parish like the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, FSSP, in order to have them confirmed in the traditional rite?
Card. Burke: They certainly have the right to receive the sacraments in the traditional rite, in the Extraordinary Form. If they can’t receive it in their own diocese, then certainly they could ask their parish priest to give them a note that the child is ready to be confirmed, and then have them confirmed in another place where it is permitted.
DISMANTLING THE FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF THE IMMACULATE
Rorate Caeli: You probably know, we have been covering the disheartening and frightening accounts of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate being dismantled over the last year. Does Your Eminence think that the commissioner, Father Volpi, has been fair? And what does Your Eminence think of Father Volpi’s court mediation statement regarding the founder’s family?
Card. Burke: I really don’t have the kind of direct information on which to make a judgment about the matter. I have to say that, just from an outsider’s view, Father Volpi has taken some very strong actions very quickly. Seemingly, I read the story too, he had to admit that the accusation which he made against Father Stefano Manelli, the founder of the Friars of the Immaculate, and his family members, of somehow misusing the temporal goods of the Friars of the Immaculate, was not true. That’s certainly a very serious matter. Many friars are leaving, and it would seem that there should be some way of dealing with the whole situation in which the order itself wouldn’t collapse, because they were strong, they had a lot of vocations, and they have a great number of apostolates. That’s the part that’s worrisome to me.
Rorate Caeli: There are reports, and frankly we get personal reports of this, of FFI priests saying they’re “fleeing,” they’re “in hiding,” using those words from the current FFI under Fr. Volpi. There’s also reports of bishops taking in FFI priests seeking refuge in their dioceses. Would Your Eminence encourage those other bishops to do the same?
Card. Burke: If there’s a priest who desires to leave his religious community, and this a good priest, and there isn’t anything contrary to the bishop accepting him, I think a good bishop would certainly accept such a priest and try to help him to become a priest in his diocese. There’s a process; it takes time. The priest who is wanting to leave his religious community has to have a welcoming bishop. When a bishop is able to welcome such a priest, I think the bishop should be happy to do that, because it assists a good priest to be able to continue to exercise his priestly ministry.
TRADITIONAL PRIESTS SUPPRESSED BY DISSENTING BISHOPS
Rorate Caeli: What, in Your Eminence’s opinion, are good priests supposed to do who are being suppressed by their bishops? We know of many, though we’re not going to name them publicly. Some have no mission whatsoever now, and they’re living on donations and help from family and friends. Some find it necessary to join independent groups. What is Your Eminence’s advice to those priests who simply want to live, preach and say Mass as all priests did before the Council?
Card. Burke: I would simply urge them to seek a bishop who is receptive to such priests and would try to help them, if he can, or if he can’t help them directly himself, to help them find another bishop who would permit them to lead a good priestly life. That’s all that one can do. Obviously, also, there is recourse to the Congregation for the Clergy. If the priest feels that he’s simply being treated unjustly, then he could ask the Congregation for the Clergy to intervene.
Rorate Caeli: There are reports that in an attempt to fix the problem we just discussed, an Apostolic Administration for traditional priests and religious may be in the works, in order to solve many of these issues facing them, in terms of living out their vocations strictly according to Summorum Pontificum. Can Your Eminence comment on where in the process that may be — the future of an Apostolic Administration?https://twitter.com/roratecaeli
Card. Burke: Such a thing is possible. I’m not aware that anything is in process in that regard. Maybe it is, I just haven’t heard about it. Certainly that is a possibility and would be a way of assisting these priests and the faithful who are attached to them to remain in communion with the Church.
MORE PRIESTS COMING UNDER CARD. BURKE’S AUTHORITY
Rorate Caeli: Now, Your Eminence may have a bias on this question, but would the Sovereign Military Order of Malta theoretically be able to function as an Apostolic Administration, giving faculties for traditional priests and religious?
Card. Burke: Well, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, has incardinated priests. But it did so as a sovereign military order, not as an Apostolic Administration. The Order has a Prelate, appointed by the Holy Father, who participates in the governance of the Order. He is clearly the lawful superior of any priests incardinated in the Order. Right now, we’re studying the whole situation because we have requests from additional priests who wish to be incardinated in the Order. But certainly it has happened in the past, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t continue to happen, not in virtue of the establishment of an Apostolic Administration, but in virtue of the nature of the Order.
Rorate Caeli: We were already planning on asking this question months ago when we first started crafting these interview questions, and then the Pope was reported to have said just yesterday the issue of married priests is “on his agenda.” Is priestly celibacy for western priests under serious threat with this pontificate?
Card. Burke: That would be a very serious matter because it has to do with the example of Christ Himself, and the Church has always treasured in her priests the following of Christ’s example, also in His celibacy. I’ve heard this reported, but I haven’t been able to verify it, but that would be, obviously, a very serious matter. The matter was taken up already by a world synod of bishops in the late ’60s, and at that synod there was a very solid reaffirmation of the Church’s teaching on clerical celibacy. I don’t refer to it just as a discipline because it has to do with what from the earliest centuries the Church understood as being most fitting for her priests. It’s something more than a discipline, and therefore I would think it’s very difficult to conceive that there would be a change on this.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TRADITIONAL CATHOLICS
Rorate Caeli: What words of encouragement can Your Eminence give to traditional Catholics who are struggling to save their souls and the souls of their children in this modern world, and without, it sometimes seems, any help from Rome?
Card. Burke: I frequently say to those who are writing to me and are expressing such discouragement, or are asking for direction in what seems to be a very troubled situation, that when, in times like this, there seems to be some confusion in the governance of the Church, then we have, more than ever, to steep ourselves in the Church’s constant teaching and to hand that on to our children and to strengthen the understanding of that teaching in our local parishes and our families. And our Lord has assured us — He didn’t tell us that there wouldn’t be attacks on the Church, even from within, but He has assured us that the gates of Hell will never prevail over the Church. In other words, Satan, with his deceptions, will never finally prevail in the Church. We have to have that confidence about us and go about it with great joy and great determination, in teaching the faith, or in giving witness with apologetics to souls who don’t understand the faith or who have not yet become members of the Church. We know that the gates of Hell will not prevail, but in the meantime, our way is the Way of the Cross. And when we have to suffer for the sake of what we believe, what we know to be true, we can embrace that suffering with the knowledge of the final outcome: that is, that Christ is the Victor. He is the one that ultimately overcomes all the forces of evil in the world and restores us and our world to the Father. That is the way in which I try to encourage faithful Catholics. I think it’s important, too, that devout traditional Catholics get to know one another and support one another, to bear one another’s burdens, as the Scripture says. We ought to be prepared to do that and be sensitive to families that might be suffering some particular difficulty in this regard, and try to be as close to one another as possible.
THIRD VATICAN COUNCIL?
Rorate Caeli: Thank you. We only have a few questions left. There are some very loose reports, but from credible sources, of Francis considering calling a Third Vatican Council. Has Your Eminence heard anything about this at all?
Card. Burke: No, not at all.
PROCESS FOR CHOOSING BISHOPS
Rorate Caeli: Episcopal appointments in the United States were, on average, conservative-leaning under Benedict XVI. That was not the case everywhere. From this arises what is a clear gap with the priests and actual churchgoing faithful of the new generation that are widely conservative, attached to the true catechism, to Catholic moral law, to a reverent Sacred Liturgy. Is Your Eminence in favor of a new orientation in the naming of bishops in the United States and elsewhere? Is the current method for the selection of bishops a good one, in your view?
Card. Burke: I think it is. It involves the consultation not only of other bishops and priests in the diocese, but also the lay faithful. And there is always the possibility for individual members of the laity or groups of lay faithful to make known their concerns to the Congregation for Bishops or the Nuncio. I think that the most important thing is to let the Apostolic Nuncio know, when there’s an appointment of a bishop being considered for a diocese, that there are very many faithful Catholics who have particular needs and to express those needs.
CURRENT ROLE IN THE CHURCH
Rorate Caeli: What’s Your Eminence’s main focus on work these days?
Card. Burke: My main focus is on the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, helping the Grand Master with the governance of the Order, especially in the spiritual dimension. The Order has a twofold purpose: the defense of the faith, and the care of the poor. The two things honestly go very much together. I’m helping him with questions about the structure of the Order itself in order to fulfill more effectively those two purposes, but also to deal with questions that inevitably come up in any Catholic organization with regard to doctrine and with regard to morals. That’s my main focus. I am also spending time studying and writing on important questions in the Church today.
TRADITIONALISTS RESTORING THE CHURCH
Rorate Caeli: Do you see traditional Catholics taking more of a leading role, in the future, in the restoration of the Church?
Card. Burke: I think so. I find more and more very strong Catholic families who are devoted to the traditional Mass, and I think that those families will have more and more influence in the time to come. If those families influence other families, then obviously there’s a momentum that grows.
Rorate Caeli: Is there anything else that we haven’t touched upon that Your Eminence would like to add?
Card. Burke: Just to encourage everyone to be devoted to the Sacred Liturgy, which is the highest expression of our Catholic faith, the highest expression of our life in God, and to be very devoted to the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and to the teaching of the faith in our homes and in our local communities. The Church has suffered terribly from decades of poor catechesis, such that the faithful, children and young people, even adults, don’t know their faith, and we need to address that because the two things go together. When we know our faith well, then we have a strong desire to worship in accordance with our faith, and at the same time our worship makes us desire more to know our faith. And then, obviously, all of that gets expressed in action by the charity of our lives, especially on behalf of those who are in most need.
Rorate Caeli: That leads to one last question. Your Eminence has mentioned the family in the home many times. Was John Paul II prophetic when he spoke about the Domestic Church?
Card. Burke: Oh, yes. He said that the Church comes to us by way of the family, and that’s true. Christ Himself comes by way of the family. He was prophetic in the sense that he pronounced again what the Church has understood from the very beginning. That term, Domestic Church, is very ancient, and it was repeated at the Second Vatican Council. It’s a very ancient terminology for the family. In that he was prophetic, in the sense that he set forth what God Himself teaches us about the family.
Rorate Caeli: That’s all we have for Your Eminence. Thank you very much for your time today and for your incredible service to Holy Mother Church.
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[Original posting time: March 2, 2015, 8:00 AM GMT]
“Constant and Very Firm Teaching” on Marriage
February 28, 2015
Once again, I have to state that this blog site is dedicated to catechesis in the Catholic Faith. However, at times I reserve the right to comment on certain topics that may negatively affect the Catholic Church and her Sacred Doctrine as a whole. Let us be very blunt here, marriage, family, and the Sacraments are under vicious attack from some of those within the Church herself. I cannot pretend that this is not happening when we have an entire Bishops Conference, from Germany “pastorally” separating itself from Rome. This is one of the rotten fruits of “collegiality”.
This unofficial schism of the German Bishops is just the beginning, and it has everything to do with mammon, not souls. The German Bishops conference is willing to compromise with the world at the expense of persons salvation. The German Bishops are united in wanting to change Church teaching that cannot be changed. But, they “feel” it can be changed. They want to find a compromise. They want to wheel and deal at the expense of a person’s salvation. They want our Holy Father to co-sign their heresy, period. We need to pray for our Holy Father and the Church as a whole more than ever during this lent. May we pray and fast for our Beautiful Catholic Church and Her true pastors. This one is a little harder, however, we should also pray for those German Bishops that wish to separate from the ” constant and very firm teaching ” of the Church. Beware of the wolves dressed as sheep, even more, beware of wolves dressed as shepherds!
Now, I also have to state that their are some Bishops, of German descent, that are remaining true to Christ and His teachings such as His Eminence Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Mueller and His Eminence Walter Cardinal Brandmuller. These two faithful Bishops each wrote a chapter in the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ by Ignatius Press. You may have read about this book recently. This is the same book that was reportedly confiscated and blocked from reaching the Bishops before the synod started. You can read about this fiasco and deceit here . About this book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ. I have to say that I found it an excellent read. This book leaves no question at all, about Marriage , the Sacraments, family and the duty and obligation of the Bishops to guard and protect these precious Truths from error. You can purchase this book at Branches Catholic Bookstore here in the Niagara Region or from Ignatius Press. I always go to my local Catholic bookstore first. I know for a fact that Branches has a few copies of this wonderful book, that all should read. Also, His Eminence Cardinal Burke also wrote a masterful chapter in the book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ.
Now, a little short catechesis on Marriage by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell – this excerpt is borrowed from the Catholic Thing :
Interestingly, Jesus’ hard teaching that “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:6) follows not long after his insistence to Peter on the necessity of forgiveness (see Mt 18:21–35).
It is true that Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman who was threatened with death by stoning, but he did not tell her to keep up her good work, to continue unchanged in her ways. He told her to sin no more (see Jn 8:1–11).
One insurmountable barrier for those advocating a new doctrinal and pastoral discipline for the reception of Holy Communion is the almost complete unanimity of two thousand years of Catholic history on this point. It is true that the Orthodox have a long-standing but different tradition, forced on them originally by their Byzantine emperors, but this has never been the Catholic practice.
One might claim that the penitential disciplines in the early centuries before the Council of Nicaea were too fierce as they argued whether those guilty of murder, adultery, or apostasy could be reconciled by the Church to their local communities only once—or not at all. They always acknowledged that God could forgive, even when the Church’s ability to readmit sinners to the community was limited.
Such severity was the norm at a time when the Church was expanding in numbers, despite persecution. It can no more be ignored than the teachings of the Council of Trent or those of Saint John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI on marriage can be ignored. Were the decisions that followed Henry VIII’s divorce totally unnecessary
ps also see here , for an earlier post, regarding catechesis on marriage
Confraternities of Catholic Clergy Agreed Statement on Marriage
January 30, 2015
This was article was first seen on Rorate Caeli and now borrowed from the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy website
Marriage was instituted by God, not invented by man (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1603). The Creator has built it into human nature, even into the human body, in its two complementary forms, male and female. ‘Male and female He created them’ (Gen.1: 27): man for woman, and woman for man, united in marriage as ‘one flesh’ for the procreation of new life: ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen. 1: 28).
God has given marriage its essential characteristics and proper laws: unity (one man married to one woman); indissolubility (nothing but death can end a marriage); and openness to procreation (in every act of physical love). No president or religious leader, no senate or synod, nor any government, has the authority to re-define marriage.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament. The marriage of a Christian man and woman is a sacramental sign of His union with His Church (cf. Eph. 5: 32). Since the union of Christ with the Church, His Bride, cannot be dissolved, no power on earth, not even the Pope himself, can dissolve the valid sacramental marriage, once consummated, of a Christian man and woman. ‘Those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder’ (Mt. 19: 6).
The Church’s discipline is built upon the doctrine of the faith, and gives practical expression to it. To introduce a discipline at odds with a doctrine thus implicitly undermines the doctrine. The discipline of not admitting to the Sacraments divorcees who have entered a subsequent civil ‘marriage’ follows directly from the doctrine of Marriage and the Eucharist as the Church has received it from Christ and His Apostles. Unless an annulment has recognized the invalidity of the original marriage, then the state of life of divorced and ‘remarried’ Catholics ‘objectively contradicts the union of love between Christ and the Church signified and effected by the Eucharist’ (Pope St John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, n. 180). However sorrowful for their sins they may be, the divorced and ‘remarried’ remain ‘one flesh’ (cf. Gen. 2: 24; Mt. 19:5) with their original and only spouses. Therefore, their second ‘marriages’ cannot participate in the one flesh union of
Christ and His Church that is signified and effected by the Eucharist.
In the absence of a clear appreciation of marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, a number of associated moral challenges have arisen. Amongst these is the growth of widespread homosexual activity and the promotion of such behaviour. The Church teaches, as she has always taught, that homosexual activity is gravely sinful, as it distorts one of the most sacred and fundamental dimensions of human life. Even the inclination to homosexual activity is ‘objectively disordered’ (CDF, 1986) in the sense that such a sexual inclination, with its associated tendencies, feelings and expressions, is not properly directed to spousal union, marriage, and procreation. The Church, of course, welcomes all human beings created in God’s image, who by His grace have the power to renounce their sins, live a chaste life and become saints. But the Church cannot bless, or tolerate, sin in any form, nor structures and lifestyles that encourage or promote sin, disorder, and temptation.
The Church in so many ways reaches out to those broken and hurt by the breakdown of marriage in our society and by the widespread confusion of what it means to be male and female. No-one is turned away. The first mercy and true compassion is offering to sinners the truth of Christ as the light by which to live. The greatest help for those who struggle is to point out with charity the way of Christ, the only way conducive to virtue and true joy.
The Church has nothing, can do nothing, is nothing, without Christ, her Head and Bridegroom. She is the servant of the Word of God (cf. Dei verbum, n. 10). Her pastors therefore have no power whatever to change what He taught about the nature and goods of marriage and have the duty to promote and defend that truth for the good of every person and society.
What is a Christian Marriage?
October 3, 2014
What is a Christian Marriage?
The Savior Sanctifies Christian Marriage at Cana and performs His first Public Miracle by changing Water into Wine
I think it is an appropriate time to take a pause on catechesis of the Apostle’s Creed and look at what is a Christian marriage ; let us look at what the Church’s “constant and very firm teaching” is concerning the Sacrament of Marriage. The Third Extraordinary General assembly of the Synod of Bishops is scheduled to take place in Rome from October 5-19. The theme is The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in Context of Evangelization. I received a letter this week from our International Director of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, His Emminence Cardinal Raymond Burke, who will be presenting at the Synod. He asks all members of the Apostolate, and all the faithful for our daily prayers, especially during the time of the Synod. Here is what His Emminence asks of us in the letter,” As you well know, the understanding of marriage and the family as the foundation and the first cell of the life of society and of the Church is under siege in our society. I ask you to pray daily, for the duration of the Synod, the enclosed Chaplet of the Holy Face, asking that the Holy Spirit will inform the hearts and minds of all Synod participants, so that all the activities and deliberations of the Synod will reflect clearly the truth about marriage and the family.” So please, let us pray this Chaplet of the Holy Face together during the time of the Synod in Rome and please consider fasting also.
The resources I will be using for this post will all be doctrinal in nature. Their will be no interpretations or side-stepping what the Church teaches now, and has always taught. Do not be deceived my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, Catholic Dogma is based In Divine Revelation and cannot change. Yes, doctrine and dogma in certain circumstances can become clearer and more defined but the content remains unchangeable. God is unchangeable and so are His timeless teachings. For those who wish to read more on Christian Marriage and check my sources, please, I encourage you to do so.
First off, for those who do not know, a Sacrament is a sensible sign, instituted by Jesus Christ, which confers the grace it signifies. Or can be described as an outward sign, of an invisible grace. Literally, the word “sacrament” means something sacred. Every sacrament requires two elements, matter and form. In the case of marriage, the matter is the mutual consent given freely by the man and woman to be married. The form of the sacrament consists in their expression of mutual consent to take each other. A marriage becomes a sacrament when contracted by a baptized man and a baptized woman. It is that simple actually. Once consent is given by both parties to one another, they confer the sacrament themselves. However, the priest, bishop or deacon is an indispensable witness to be sure. This is a very important note to any and all baptized Catholics ; unless dispensed by the bishop, a Catholic must marry before a duly authorized priest and two witnesses. Now, for all those who love those weddings on the beach in the Caribbean. This doesn’t mean you are not married or that it is invalid. But its best just to talk to your priest or bishop and make sure everything is on the up and up. Best case scenario is always to get married in a Catholic Church. You can go to the Caribbean afterwards!
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it is in Article 7, 1601 First, here is what the Catechism states, 1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. ” Now, what is this covenant? A covenant is a sacred, unbreakable bond between a person or persons , made directly with God. It is different than a contract, a contract is usually an exchange of goods or services for money. A covenant is an exchange of persons, in this case, the husband and wife, with God Himself. These two become one with one another and are united to God Himself. Like I stated before, you cannot break covenant with Almighty, Infinite God. The covenant is binding, even if the state says differently. God is the author of marriage, not the state.
I think it is important to understand the actual purpose of marriage. Some people, a lot of people, Catholics included, may believe that marriage is about personal satisfaction and happiness ,or even collecting more stuff. What can the other person do for me, what is in it for moi? I assure you, this is where the western secularized world has gone very wrong. If I could use three words to describe marriage, they would be self-giving love, or self-giving sacrifice. Love and sacrifice are synonymous, they are interchangeable. True love is actually not an emotion, true love is in the will. By its very nature, the institution of marriage and married love is for the procreation and education of the offspring (children) CIC 1013 Par 1. In Matthew Chapter 19, Jesus explicitly states,” Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” You just cannot get past our Lords Word.
As a married Catholic, I have access to a tremendous treasury of supernatural grace that I can call upon due to this most awesome sacrament. Sometimes, I do have to call upon these graces to get through the hurdles that life seems to throw at me. I also need to remember those beautiful words that St Paul left for us and remember that it isn’t about me and my wants, in Ephesians Chapter 5 St Paul states very clearly ”  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: ” How easy it is to forget, that as a husband, I have been called by Jesus Christ to love my wife like He loves the Church. What an awesome calling we have as Christian husbands and fathers! St Augustine used to refer to the fathers he preached to as his ” fellow Bishops“. Now, lets not let that one get out of control and go to our heads gentlemen lol. I have tried that one with my wife, and it doesn’t always go over so well. When I tell my wife that I am speaking as the “domestic Bishop”, she usually just rolls her eyes. But seriously, this is our calling as husbands ; to lead or Shepard our little domestic Church or flock, to heaven. It isn’t about BMW’s, or big fancy houses. All that stuff is nice, but anything that distracts us from getting our family to heaven needs to be taking a backseat. It is ok to own “stuff” but don’t let that “stuff” own you. We are called to raise little Saints and lead our family to the Heavenly Gates!
So, a couple more facts about marriage. Naturally, marriage can only be between a man and a woman. In the first Chapter of Genesis,”  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, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth. ” Also from the Catechism once again speaks of the marriage bond and its indissolubility here ” 1640 Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God’s fidelity. the Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.” This is our Catholic teaching, given to us from God, Divinely revealed through Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. No human power, not even the Pope with the Bishops can undo what God has fixed as a sure thing!
Please, we need to pray and fast more than ever for our Holy Father Pope Francis, our Cardinals, Bishops and priests. Surely satan is trying to wreak havoc and do what he does best, create confusion. Have faith in Jesus Christ and our Divinely revealed deposit of faith guarded in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Lets keep our eyes on the Cross of our Lord and not be distracted by the wolves dressed as sheep. Our teachings are secure, they cannot and will not change.
Our responsibility as Catholics to Christian marriage, is to teach it, preach it, and most importantly, live it. Everyday of our lives, we are to be witnesses of the Gospel in our Christian marriages, inside the home and outside also. . This would be next to impossible without the sacramental grace that comes with marriage, and the rest of the sacraments.The sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and frequent confession are necessary to fully live out our vocations as husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers. Yes, this is our vocation, for those of us who are married. Our ticket to heaven is our husband or wife and children, that is for sure! I am most certain that if I get to meet God one day, God willing, that a big part of that meeting will be about how I treated my wife and children. Did I try and love my wife and family, like Christ loved the Church? A good part of the pagan world converted as a direct result of the witness given by Christian married couples in the early centuries. We need to do this again, today, as in NOW, it is never to late, until it is to late!
May Almighty God protect us from the World, the devil, and ourselves!