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The Law of Christian Marriage: According to the Teaching and Discipline of the Catholic Church

The Law of Christian Marriage: According to the Teaching and Discipline of the Catholic Church

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  • ISBN-13: 9781491248539
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Release Date: Aug 01, 2013
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 0.87 x 9.00 x 6.00 inches


MARRIAGE, as an institution of the law of Nature and of the Christian law, is a subject of the greatest importance, and one that calls for careful and wise explanation in every age. Questions regarding it are beset by many difficulties, as they involve the happiness and well-being of the married couple, of their children, and of the community at large. False teaching and theories concerning it strike at the root of the Christian family, and therefore are calculated to undermine the foundations of society and to destroy private happiness, public peace, and public morality, which depend so much for their maintenance upon marital fidelity and domestic purity. It is for these reasons that the Church of Christ has constantly exercised the authority divinely conferred upon her in providing, by her laws, for the due sanctity and protection of marriage. She has taught the world the inherent sacred character of marriage from its first institution: that Christ raised the contract of marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament; she has always maintained its unity and the indissolubility of the marriage tie, and has always reprobated and condemned the law of divorce, that fruitful parent of so many evils which lay ,vaste families, deprave the morals of the people, and open out a way to demoralization in public as well as in private life. Outside the Catholic Church questions concerning this sacred institution are raised and discussed and settled, in their own fashion, by the statesman, the social student, and the Christian moralist; and, as regards all these, the only conclusion at which they ultimately arrive is that the contract of marriage is from first to last the creation of the civil law, and that divorce is a mere matter of expediency regulated by statute. According to Christian law, defined by the Church, marriage is not only a natural contract, but one of the seven Sacraments, and therefore subject to a higher authority than that of the State; and divorce is divinely prohibited, and therefore outside all human power. There is the question of property and temporal interests in connexion with marriage, which fall under the power of the State; and as these are often based on the rules of succession and the principles which determine legitimacy, the relations of Church and State in respect to marriage have to be considered and determined. Concord between both these parties is to be greatly desired in the sense laid down by Pope Leo XIII. in his Encyclical on Christian Marriage. He writes: 'No one doubts that Jesus Christ, the Founder of the Church, willed her sacred power to be distinct from the civil power, and each power to be free and unshackled in its own sphere: with this condition, however-a condition good for both, and of advantage to all men-that union and concord should be maintained between them; and that on those questions which are, though in different ways, of common right and authority, the power to which secular matters have been entrusted should, happily and becomingly, depend on the other power which has in its charge the interests of heaven. From these considerations it may be seen that a treatise on the Law of Christian Marriage, such as I have endeavoured to arrange and to put together in the present small volume, may be opportune at the present moment, when, perhaps more than at any former period of the Church's history, Christian citizens in general need instructions concerning the laws of marriage, and directions as to their practical issues. The Christian law of marriage must be founded on the principles taught us by Jesus Christ, as contained in the New Testament, and as explained and applied by the Church which He founded and commissioned to teach all nations.

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