A Quick Guide to the Catholic Understanding of Marriage
The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget their common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. “The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.”
At the Beginning when God created the Human Race, there was one man and one woman. Adam knew Eve as “Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones”. In other words, in Eve, Adam found a complete and total partner for the whole of his life. Together they formed a family, God blessed them and commanded that they be fruitful and multiply. Together they were tempted, together they disobeyed God, together they fell and together they were rescued by Him he taught them how to live in their new reality. Even though they were both excluded from heaven (the garden) as a result of their sin, God promised both of them that one day they and their descendants would be completely saved from their sin.
In the Old Testament, God wedded himself to Israel, and one of the Big Ten Rules of their marriage covenant was “#6 Do not commit adultery”. God often compared Israel to a wife, whom he would never divorce, even if she proved unfaithful. The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a reflection of God’s love – a love “strong as death” that “many waters cannot quench.”
The nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.” On the threshold of his public life, Jesus performs his first sign – at his mother’s request – during a wedding feast.105 The Church attaches great importance to Jesus’ presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ’s presence.
Jesus made it clear to all who would listen that the Creator’s intention is that a man and a woman should cleave to each other and the two become “one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together let no one pull asunder.”(Mark 10:9)  He also said that should a man divorce his wife and marry another he commits adultery against her. (v11) This is a most important statement because in Jesus’ day the Law of the land said it was “impossible” for a man to commit adultery against a woman.
Unlike secular law, the Church has always held marriage in high regard. She believes people when they profess their I DO, She believes that people say what they mean and mean what they say, and that marriage is precious and is to be protected. Jesus’ unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of marriage may leave some people perplexed and can seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear. In fact this Revelation about marriage is indeed GOOD NEWS. Children can have parents who love and care for each other and them, no matter what, a wife has a man who is faithful, kind, loving, and true to her. A husband has a woman who is faithful kind loving and true to him.
The Catholic Church understands marriage to be A “covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring”. Covenants bind for life and they create Family. (Adoption is a type of covenant where adults say to a child I give you myself and I claim you as my child and we will be a family forever.)
Building a marriage is like building a new house. The Wedding day is the day the keys to the house are handed over.  A lot goes into the lead up to that day. In building a house the builder needs expertise, planning permission, A good design, the proper materials and construction methods. In building a marriage we need the right things also. For “Expertise” the marriage partners need a certain level of Maturity. For “planning permission” they need at the very least Government permissions, but also (if a catholic) the Church’s participation. For a ‘good design’ they need a proper understanding of what marriage really is. For ‘materials’ they have the ‘right’ intention, for construction methods – a time of evaluation, good marriage preparation (which is not the same as planning the wedding) and a deliberate decision ‘Yes I can marry that particular man/woman especially the bits that annoy me”.
Preparation for Marriage is not quick nor simple. The Parish requires at least 6 months notice. Please contact the office for more information.