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The Catholic Church views marriage as not merely a necessary union in order to create more humans, but in fact as a holy covenant between a man and a woman which mirrors the relationship of Christ and His Church.

The Catholic  Church’s views marriage as permanent and only between a man and a woman, and divorce as an abomination.

The importance of the teaching & Scriptural support

Many people do not view marriage as essential or even important; it is viewed as a means to avoid sexual sin and provide for the procreation of the species, but is not actually thought to be a means by which a person can be made holy. Of course, this is not the case – the sacrament of matrimony is a source of grace and is the natural state for mankind. In the early chapters of Genesis (before the Fall) marriage is present as the right and correct state for men and women. Finally, the closing passages of the Bible in the book of Revelation speak of the marriage of Christ and the Church. Marriage is not only a source of emotional strength, but a conduit for grace and a mirror of Christ’s relationship with His Church (Ephesians 5:22-32)

The Church teaches that a man and a woman who are married are “one flesh” following Matthew 19:5-6. This is connected with Genesis 1:27 and 2:21-24 which is the prototype of marriage. These passages should be enough to show that marriage is very important indeed and is not merely an afterthought or anything of the sort.

Marriage as only between one man and one woman

In the modern world there are many notions of sex outside marriage, marriage between people of the same gender, open marriages, sexual relationships between three or more people and various other perversions of God‘s clear commandment.

Open to the transmission of new life

Similarly, a number of people maintain that they are “all for traditional marriage” but engage in the use of contraception. This is in defiance of God’s clear commands – not only is contraception opposed to the moral law but the use of contraception has knock-on effects on the rest of morality.

Marriage as a spiritually good thing

In addition to simply being the way God wants people to have children and the only way to have a sexual relationship which is not a sin, marriage and childbearing is a spiritually good thing. In Hebrews 13:4 it is made clear that marriage is to be honored by everyone – this book of the Bible is concerned with spiritual things, and so it is entirely reasonable to assume that marriage should be considered as a spiritual good. In addition, in I Timothy 2:11-15 it says that woman are saved by bearing children – this does not mean that only mothers can enter Heaven, but it means that faithfully bearing and raising children is a source of grace. In addition, it is obvious that educating children correctly and bringing them up to be a faithful Christians is a good thing. Only a family can do this effectively – further demonstrating that marriage is a good thing.

Divorce and remarriage

A number of people today consider that divorce is acceptable to God. This is clearly not the case. When speaking of marriage and divorce in Mark 10:2-12 Jesus makes it clear that man and wife are put together by Godand that man should not seek to divide that. This shows that not only is marriage ordained by God but that divorce is condemned by Him. This passage is a very clear example of the teaching concerning the permanence of marriage – but it is not the only one.

Folio 31r - David Foresees the Mystic Marriage...

Folio 31r – David Foresees the Mystic Marriage of Christ and the Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Malachi 2:14-16 makes it clear that God hates divorce. Matthew 5:32-33, 19:4-9, Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18 make is clear that divorce and remarriage is adultery. Romans 7:2-3 and I Corinthians 7:10-11 also contain clear teaching about divorce. How anyone can argue – based on these verses which equate divorce and remarriage with adultery – that God is somehow “okay” is a mystery to the Catholic Church. Many of those who hold these views, however, have simply not read these verses – merely presenting the verses to them is often enough to prove the Catholic viewpoint.

Annulments

A number of non-Catholics (and even Catholics) are of the opinion that the Catholic Church is hypocritical, condemning divorce but allowing annulments (a similar view exists among some people concerning contraception and NFP). This is based on the faulty understanding that an annulment is a Catholic divorce and breaks the marriage bond.

In the first place, the word annulment is misleading and slightly inaccurate – the correct term is a “decree of nullity”. The word annulment implies that the Church makes a choice and decision to actively annul (i.e. make void) the marriage – this is not what happens. A decree of nullity is a declaration – not that the marriage is now void – but that there never was a marriage in the first place.

The process of obtaining a decree of nullity is designed to test and see if the marriage was correctly celebrated and entered into – if it was not, then no marriage existed in the first place. The tribunal seeks to determine if there are any defects in the sacrament – were the people who entered into the marriage entering into it with full consent and knowledge of what marriage entailed? Did they hold the Catholic view of marriage? Were they psychologically capable of making the vows? Was there any deceit in the marriage, or were there things such as pre-nuptial agreements which pointed towards an acceptance of divorce? Were the two people actually able to marry (or were they already married?)

As can be imagined there are many things which can happen which would make a marriage void – that is, prevent there from being a marriage in the first place. Marriages never “become void” but it can be discovered that what people thought was a marriage was not.

In order to minimize the potential for prospective spouses to enter into a marriage which is not valid (and also to strengthen the marriage bond) the Catholic Church encourages and requires those wanting to get married to go through various courses and retreats in order to better understand what is required for them. Some couples – after learning the great commitment and devotion required for marriage – choose not to get married at that time, or indeed ever, as they feel they are incapable of it. While this can seem sad, this is much, much better than couples who are not suited being joined together in marriage.

Marriage after death

A very popular phrase spoken by lovers is “I will love you forever” – which is hopefully true, as all people want their spouses to get to Heaven, where everyone loves everyone else! But what many people mean is that they will be married forever – something which is not supported by Church teaching, although is believed by the Mormons.

Marriage is a physical joining of two people into “one flesh” and lasts only until death. It is for this reason that both men and women are allowed to marry again after being widowed – the marriage bond is dissolved on death.

This teaching – in addition to being common sense based on the fact that marriage is a physical union of man and woman (through sexual activity) which makes them one flesh, and we will not have bodies in Heaven until the resurrection of the body – follows the Scriptures. In Mark 12:18-27 Jesus is tested by the Sadducees (who denied the physical resurrection of the body). Here Jesus makes it very clear that men and women are not married in Heaven. Not only is Jesus correcting the Sadducees’ false notions about the resurrection of the body, but is also giving us very important teaching concerning the nature of marriage after death – something that most Mormons conveniently ignore.

Source: Catechism of The Catholic Church

 

Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Jul 29, 2012 / 11:55 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI called for an immediate halt to “all violence and shedding of blood” in Syria during his weekly Angelus address on Sunday. 

“I ask God to give the wisdom of the heart, especially for those who have the greatest responsibilities, so that no effort is spared in the quest for peace, including the international community, through dialogue and reconciliation, for a proper political settlement of the conflict,” said the Pope to pilgrims at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo July 29. 

His comments come as government forces and rebels battle for control of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. The armed revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011 and has since claimed over 10,000 lives according to latest U.N. estimates. Opposition forces claim the true figure is nearer to 20,000. 

The Pope said that he has been following events “with concern” for the “growing and tragic episodes of violence in Syria” which have created a “sad sequence of deaths and injuries among civilians.” He also lamented the large number of internally displaced people and refugees who have moved to neighboring countries. 

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

He called for humanitarian assistance to be provided to those in need and he assured those suffering of his prayers. 

The situation in Syria has been a consistent feature of Pope Benedict’s comments in recent months. In July he expressed a fear that the internal conflict “risks becoming a generalized conflict which would have highly negative consequences for the country and the entire region.” 

In June he called upon the international community to “spare no efforts to resolve this crisis through dialogue and reconciliation.” 

Earlier in his Angelus address, Pope Benedict reflected on Sunday’s gospel in which St. John recounted Christ’s feeding of the five thousand by the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Pope described the episode as “a sign of God’s immeasurable providence in the Eucharist.” 

Source: Catholic News Agency

 

Mainline protestant churches – those apart from their evangelical counterparts, have liberalized their standards and have since lost members. Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutherans have provided provisions for the blessing of same-sex unions and ordination of transgender people and have seen a downturn in attendance. Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence, the Episcopal bishop of South Carolina fears that his church will soon be adrift with the adoption of secular values.

 

Shortly after the U.S. Episcopal Church voted to approve a provisional rite for gay unions, Bishop Lawrence said in an interview with NBC News that his denomination is moving from out of the mainstream.

“Do I think that these two decisions will cause further decline? I believe they will,” Bishop Lawrence said. “I think we’ve entered into a time of sexual and gender anarchy.”

Memberships at Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutherans have fallen over the past few decades, and some observers attribute to their supposed leftward drift.

“Practically every denomination – Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian – that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance,” wrote columnist and author Ross Douthat in a New York Times editorial.

The Episcopal Church has lost more than 16 percent of its membership since the turn of the century. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in 2008 reported that “the proportion of the population that is Protestant has declined markedly in recent decades.”

As the Episcopal Church weighed gay-union rites last week, most of the Diocese of South Carolina’s delegation left the General Convention to show their concern.

Stripped image of John Wesley

Stripped image of John Wesley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I had an issue of conscience in which I believed that a line had been crossed in the church’s teachings, that I could no longer pretend that nothing significant had happened,” Bishop Lawrence says. He added that he has no intention of leaving the church.

“It’s not merely a matter of adapting the Church’s teachings about Jesus Christ, about salvation, about right and wrong to the culture,” he said. “The culture is adrift in sexual confusion and obsession.”

In contrast, Jenna Guy, an Episcopalian from Iowa, says the gay-rites are important to the younger generation of Episcopalians and that the resolution would bring more people into the church.

“It’s always with great pride that I tell [people] of the inclusive nature of this church,” Guy said.

Source:  Catholic Online

 

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. 72 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. 73 

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. 74 

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: 

You shall not killthe embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish. 75 

English: A six week embryonic age or eight wee...

English: A six week embryonic age or eight week gestational age intact Embryo, found in a Ruptured Ectopic pregnancy case. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. 76 

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae ,” 77 “by the very commission of the offense,” 78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. 79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. 

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation : 

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.” 80 

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.” 81 

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being. 

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.” 82 

2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.” 83 

“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.” 84 

“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity” 85 which are unique and unrepeatable. 

Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church

 

72 Cf. CDF, Donum vitae I,1.

73 Jer 1:5; cf. Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11.

74 Ps 139:15.

75 Didache 2,2:SCh 248,148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19,5:PG 2 777; Ad Diognetum 5,6:PG 2,1173; Tertullian, Apol . 9:PL 1,319-320.

76 GS 51 § 3.

77 CIC, can. 1398.

78 CIC, can. 1314.

79 Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324.

80 CDF, Donum vitae III.

81 CDF, Donum vitae III.

82 CDF, Donum vitae I,2.

83 CDF, Donum vitae I,3.

84 CDF, Donum vitae I,5.

85 CDF, Donum vitae I,6.

 

 

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