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Part Two

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” (


5:25, 32).


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



85; cf.