Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
Yes. Every valid marriage between baptized Christians constitutes the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Prior to Christ it existed as a matrimonial contract, but Christ elevated it to the dignity of a Sacrament of the New Law. Christ therefore instituted matrimony as a Sacrament. He blessed marriage by His presence at Cana, and declared its indissolubility when He said, "What God has joined, let not man put asunder." Henceforth, what was formerly a union by human contract was to be regarded by Christians as sealed by God in a new and special way.
A Sacrament is a visible rite instituted by Christ for the signifying and giving of grace. Marriage is a visible rite, witnessed by men. It has been elevated by Christ to sacramental dignity. It signifies something very sacred, the union of Christ with His Church, as St. Paul tells us. Eph. V., 22-33. There is but one Christ and one true Church. So there must be but one husband and one wife in each case. As there is no divorce between Christ and His Church, so there can be no divorce between husband and wife. And as the union between Christ and the Church results in the production of grace, so this sacred union in marriage conveys grace to the contracting parties that they may rightly fulfill their duties to each other, and to their children, for the love of God.
If no law spiritual governs marriage, why did Christ say, "But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another committeth adultery"? Christ was not the civil ruler, and He had said explicitly, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's." If marriage belongs solely to civil authority, Christ woul< have left it to civil authority. And why did St. Paul say, "Marriage is a great Sacra ment, but I speak in Christ and in the Church"? He did not say, "But I speak for the viewpoint of civil authority." Again, elsewhere he writes, "Let her marry to whom she will, only let it be in the Lord." I. Cor. VI., 39.
Christ clearly tells us that, whatever concessions were made in the Old Law, it was God's intention from the very beginning that a man should cleave to his wife, not to his wives, and that they should be two in one flesh. God had made concessions because of the hardness of men's hearts in the less perfect Law, but those concessions were withdrawn in the more perfect Law. Christ restored the primitive law, and said, "Henceforth what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Mk. X., 2-9.