Essay on Marriage : Meaning, Functions and Forms

He added that marriage has a divinely ordered nature and purpose, and that sacramental marriage is “a public good in the Church, a common good.”

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The relatio also addressed the situation of those who have attempted remarriage after divorce without a declaration that the first relationship wasn’t a valid marriage. Although the Church cannot admit people to Holy Communion while they live in a presumptively adulterous relationship, it does call on all Catholics to treat them with acceptance, compassion, and love. And, again, the hope is that Mass attendance and spiritual communion will lead such persons out of adultery and back to the sacraments. The relatio reports—though it is hardly news—that some bishops expressed the view that “spiritual communion” is not enough. The obstacle for them, however, is the Church’s historic, solemn, and settled teaching on (a) the indissolubility of marriage, (b) the gravely immoral nature of non-marital sex, and (c) the need for persons to be in a state of grace in order worthily to receive Holy Communion.


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celibacy was dropped and this opened the gates for numerous priests throughout Zurich to enter the marriage sacrament

He continues: "man's participation in God'screative power, something that is denied him - the love between two humanbeings, the sanctification of nature, and not least, the sacramental characterof the married state. He will try to force love to take on an egotistical form,to infect it with jealousy, to destroy its permanence; he will move heaven andearth to bring disorder into every aspect of sex, to turn its stream into araging torrent, or to dry it up altogether, or to divert it into a false bed;he will lead the partners towards divorce, to petty bickering, to a sterileboredom of everyday life, even to mutual hatred; finally he will try toestrange children from their parents and, recalling his own origin, will infusetheir minds with the spirit of vainglory, of 'knowing better,' and ofingratitude."


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The bishop recalled that the bond of a ratified and consummated sacramental marriage “cannot be dissolved by any human power, neither civil nor ecclesiastical, neither by the passage of time after separation (culpable or not; brief or elongated), nor because love no longer exists between the spouses, nor by a personal conviction in conscience, even in good faith. Certainty of personal opinion regarding the invalidity of marriage is not a cause of nullity.”

Marriage is one of the sacraments

Scheebensays much the same: "Marriage, says the Apostle ( 5:32) is thegreat sacrament that is is, that is, it ranks so highly, because it is a figureof the union between God and his Church, and in consequence, of . Reality and type are more perfect thanfigure and representation; the union between God and the soul is thusincomparably more real than that of man and woman. They are one in flesh; ( 5:17). The union of God withthe soul is as far above the union of man and wife, as spirit is above flesh,as God is above matter. The union of the soul with God in one spirit is sointimate as to have no parallel in creation and the reasoning of the creaturecannot grasp it. God submerges the soul in the ocean of His light, floods itwith the torrent of His delights, fills it with the plenitude of His Being. Heclasps it in the arms of His love. He so binds to Himself that no power inheaven or earth can tear it from Him." (, pp. 170ff.)

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The Constitution produced by the The Second Vatican Council attempted to soften this teaching:"Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love andfidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christianspouses through the sacrament of Marriage. He abides with them in order that bytheir mutual self-giving, spouses will love each other with enduring fidelity,as he loved the Church and delivered himself for it." Here the teaching ofEphesians has been decisively abridged. Only what is agreeable has been takenfrom it, namely "love." The subordination of women, andcorrelatively, that of the Church to her Head, the basic outline of which hasbeen presented above, is simply disregarded. Drawing on this statement, theSynod of Wurzurg declared in 1975 that the husband and wife were to be seen aspartners, and that "the allotment of roles between husband and wife whichwas strongly patriarchal in character, has been corrected. In a parallel mannerJohn-Paul II has persistently insisted that love creates equality. In his (1981) and in his Charter of Family Rights" (1983) heteaches that God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity, endowing themwith the inalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person."Above all it is important to underline the equal dignity andresponsibility of women and men... in creating the human race 'male and female'God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity, endowing them with theinalienable rights and responsibilities proper to the human person." Thesame responsibilities and rights for man and woman clearly exclude man frombeing the head of the family. John Paul II is of course aware that he iscontradicting the constant teaching of the Church. In an article published inthe he explains that "the author of the letter[St. Paul] does not hesitate to accept those ideas which were proper to thecontemporary mentality and its forms of expression... Our sentiments arecertainly different today, different also are our mentality and customs, and,finally, different is a woman's social position vis-a-vis the man."(German ed., 27.8.82). (In 1953 the Church taught that "anyone who, as amatter of principle, denies the responsibility of the husband and father ashead of the woman and of the family, puts himself in opposition to the Gospeland the doctrine of the Church." - supplement to St. Korads Blatt., No.10, 1953)