Church, especially of pastors. Many remain
without a human family,
often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the
spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary
fashion. The doors of homes, the “domestic churches,” and of the great
family which is the Church must be open to all of them. “No one is
without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for
everyone, especially those who ‘labor and are heavy laden.’”
St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ
loved the Church. . . . This is a great mystery, and I mean
in reference to Christ and the Church” (
The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman
form with each other an intimate communion of life
and love, has been founded and endowed with its own
special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is
ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the
generation and education of children. Christ the Lord
raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of
a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf.
48 § 1).
The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of
Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to
love each other with the love with which Christ has
loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus
perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens
their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the
way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).
Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting
parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each
to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live
a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.
Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of
life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public,
in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the
priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the wit-
nesses, and the assembly of the faithful.
Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are
essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with
the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has