Marriage of any type is not seen as a ‘soul union’ by the Catholic Church.
Between Baptized persons, the couple impart Sacramental Grace on each other, but their souls remain distinct and separate. The sins of one party do not condemn the sins of the other.
Between non-Baptized persons, the marriage lacks the Sacramental gifts that are imparted between the Baptized, but are fully valid in the eye of the Church.
I have never heard that term applied in reference to marriages in the Catholic Church.
Can you explain what a “soul union” is?
The Catholic Church sees marriage as a Covenant between a man and a woman. Non-Catholics and Non-Christians can certainly enter into that covenant and have a valid marriage. If both parties are baptized, the marriage is considered a Sacrament (even if they are not Catholic) by the Catholic Church. If one or both of the parties are not baptized it is not a Sacrament, but it is considered a valid natural marriage.
Marriage is simply a man and a woman agreeing to live together and share each others’ lives, including creating and raising children, paying the bills, doing the chores. The whole gambit. There is no change in the souls, no “fusion” of the souls.
The only difference in Catholic marriage is that God puts His hand into the circle, too, so three people are working together rather than only two.
The Church doesn’t look at any marriage as a “soul union.” If anything, it is a “body union” as the two become one flesh. This, incidentally, is why two men or two women cannot marry. They don’t have the physical complementarity to become “one flesh”.
A marriage can only be a carnal union, not a spiritual one.
I didn’t know the correct terminology.
What I’m trying to say is how are “secular marriages” seen as different to Catholic ones?
Also what if one person was baptised but no longer religious and the other was Agnostic etc?
In my post #3 above I explained that.
A “secular marriage” between two baptized non-Catholics is valid and sacramental.
A “secular marriage” where one or both of the parties is not baptized is valid, but not sacramental.
Catholics may marry non-Catholics or non-Christians (those not baptized) with proper dispensations from the Bishop. If both parties are baptized, the marriage is valid and sacramental. If one is not baptized, the marriage is valid, not sacramental.
In your scenario, if the baptized person was non-Catholic and married the non-baptized agnostic person in a non-religious ceremony, the marriage is seen as valid, provided there are no impediments to the marriage (such as previous marriages that have not been declared null, etc.).
If the person was baptized Catholic (whether they are religious or not) and did not receive the proper dispensations to marry the non-Catholic non-believer, the marriage would not be considered valid.
All of this should really be directed to a priest if this is an actual case. It can become complicated.
Generally the biggest difference, in practical terms, has to do with whether or not the marriage can be dissolved (as opposed to declared invalid).
If two non-baptized people marry, they have a natural marriage. If one party wishes to be baptized, the other party leaves them, and the party wishing to be baptized wants to contract a new marriage with a Catholic spouse, the bishop can dissolve the marriage. This is called the Pauline Privilege.
If one baptized and one non-baptized party marry, they have a natural marriage. If the marriage ends, and it was NOT primarily the baptized party’s fault, and the baptized party wants to remarry a baptized person, the Pope can dissolve the marriage. This is called the Petrine Privilege, or the favour of the faith.
A consummated marriage between two baptized persons can NEVER be dissolved, except by the death of one party. If the marriage ends, the Church must examine the marriage and declare it to be invalid. If a non-baptized person wishes to become Catholic and has been divorced, but does not intend to remarry, the Pauline Privilege will not apply. I think usually the Pauline and Petrine privileges are only options if the person who is or desires Baptism wants to remarry. If they don’t want to remarry, strictly speaking a declaration of nullity is not necessary, but if they want the Church to recognize that they are not married, they are free to seek a declaration of nullity.
Why does the Catholic Church recognise natural marriages it believes that marriage is also a spiritual union?
Why would it not?