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284 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

and faith life the parents hand on to their children. Parents, as principal

educators of their children, are at the service of life.

Together with their children, parents form what the Second Vatican

Council called the domestic church. The Church lives in the daily life of

families, in their faith and love, in their prayers and mutual care. The

1. Why is the family called “the domestic Church”?

The Christian home is the place where the children

receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason

the family is rightly called “the domestic church,” a com-

munity of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues

and of Christian charity. (CCC, no. 1666)

2. What is essential in the consent of those to be married?

The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man

and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express

their consent; “to be free” means:

—not being under constraint;

—not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law. (CCC,

no. 1625)

3. Why should the couples be prepared for marriage?

So that the “I do” of the spouses may be a free and

responsible act, and so that the marriage covenant may

have solid and lasting human and Christian foundations,

preparation is of prime importance. . . . It is imperative

to give suitable and timely instruction to young people,

above all in the heart of their own families, about the

dignity of married love, its role and exercise, so that, hav-

ing learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a

suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter

upon a marriage of their own. (CCC, no. 1632)