I know the marriage debate is all the rage these days. That’s why I thought it would be fitting to review the Catholic definition of marriage.
Traditionally, the Catholic Church has defined a marriage with much more detail than contemporary ears may be accustomed.
These days, if you bothered to ask them, most so-called “gay marriage” supporters would give you a shallow, short definition of marriage. They largely would base the meaning of marriage on feelings. Isn’t it enough that the people care about each other?
When you read the definition below, pay attention to what the definition isn’t. You will find no reference to feelings, which come and go. No, rather, love is a matter of the will. In fact, love is willing the good of the other person.
I realize each Catholic definition of marriage will vary, depending on what source you cite. That is why I wanted to present the one from Fr. John A. Harden, SJ.
You know whatever he teaches or emphasizes is worth listening to. By reviewing this traditional Catholic definition of marriage, you will have heard a solid definition at least once.
SO, WHAT IS A CATHOLIC DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE?
“As a natural institution, the lasting union of a man and a woman who agree to give and receive rights over each other for the performance of the act of generation and for the fostering of their mutual love.
“The state of marriage implies four chief conditions:
“1. there must be a union of opposite sexes ; it is therefore opposed to all forms of unnatural, homosexual behavior;
2. it is a permanent union until the death of either spouse;
3. it is an exclusive union , so that extramarital acts are a violation of justice; and
4. its permanence and exclusiveness are guaranteed by contract; mere living together, without mutually binding themselves to do so, is concubinage and not marriage.
“Christ elevated marriage to a sacrament of the New Law. Christian spouses signify and partake of the mystery of that unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and his Church, helping each other attain to holiness in their married life and in the rearing and education of their children.”
Among many other places, a similar Catholic definition of marriage can be found here as well.
So much more could be said about this, and I will write more on this later. But for now, I will just let this Catholic definition of marriage stand on its own.
Were you aware the Catholic Church used to speak this way of marriage not too long ago?
Please share your thoughts below.