Can I say that two athiests are married?


#1

I got in a conversation about Gay marriage on facebook, and I defined marriage as

“Marriage is the union of a man and a woman before God, in which the two become one, in which their love is open to give forth new life through the marital act.”
(That’s correct right? I didn’t give a false definition contrary to what the church teaches right?)

I was then asked if two non religious people have the right to call themselves married.

Its my understanding that the church does not recognize their marriage. So then my question is, if 2 atheists get married in a courthouse, should I refrain from calling them married? Or should I still call them married because they fulfilled all the other criteria?

What did the early Christians say about pagan marriages? Would the early Christians while taking to a pagan say “Why don’t you and your ‘wife’ come over for dinner?”

So are the two non religious people married or not? And why or why not?


#2

That’s not exactly true. The marriage would be natural and not sacramental, but it’s possible that it would be a valid natural marriage.

So then my question is, if 2 atheists get married in a courthouse, should I refrain from calling them married?

No.


#3

Thank you!

So I should be more careful with how I define marriage. I should maybe leave out the “before God” part of it, and only insert it when talking about sacramental marriage.


#4

Whether they believe or not, it’s still “before God”.

Also consider that two atheists could very well be baptized. Don’t we all know at least one person who was baptized as an infant and now claims to believe in nothing?

If they are baptized and their marriage is valid then it’s also a sacrament whether they believe in that or not.


#5

Two non-religious people of the opposite sex, yes.

this is not correct. Non-Catholics marry validly when they marry civilly.

No, they are married.

That they are valid marriages.

Yes.

Marriage predates Christianity and the Church has never claimed one must be validly baptized, or a member of the Church, to marry.


#6

No, nothing false.


#7

Two non-Catholics of the opposite sex who marry civilly or under the rites of their own religion are considered by the Church to be validly married. Such a married is called a valid natural marriage. Two Catholics who marry under the rites of the Church enter into a valid sacramental marriage.


#8

It’s also a sacramental marriage for baptized non-Catholics.


#9

Yes that’s true, thanks for the memory assist :wink:


#10

Okay, wait a minute.

If two people married outside of the Catholic Church have a “natural marriage” than what is the point of having a sacramental marriage? Is a natural marriage still a true marriage? Is one better than the other? This bothers me, because it was always in my knowledge that before Vatican II, Catholics couldn’t (or at least were heavily discouraged from) attending Protestant marriages or non-Christian marriages, because we didn’t want Protestants getting the idea that we approved of what they were doing.

So is a natural marriage sinful? If I decided to marry somebody in a courthouse instead of a church and that would be a natural marriage, would the “marriage act” then be sinful?

EDIT: This goes onto this: So can a natural marriage be broken up? Like if I were to have a natural marriage, and then divorce, would the second natural marriage be valid?

Also: If a protestant gets married in a protestant way, then divorces that person, can they still be sacrementally married?


#11

[quote="FlaviusGratian, post:10, topic:320385"]
Okay, wait a minute.

If two people married outside of the Catholic Church have a "natural marriage" than what is the point of having a sacramental marriage? Is a natural marriage still a true marriage? Is one better than the other? This bothers me, because it was always in my knowledge that before Vatican II, Catholics couldn't (or at least were heavily discouraged from) attending Protestant marriages or non-Christian marriages, because we didn't want Protestants getting the idea that we approved of what they were doing.

So is a natural marriage sinful? If I decided to marry somebody in a courthouse instead of a church and that would be a natural marriage, would the "marriage act" then be sinful?

[/quote]

Two baptized non-Catholic Christians who marry, whether in their church or civilly have contracted a Sacramental Marriage.

Non-baptized persons contract a natural marriage (that is also the case when one spouse is un-baptized). Of course, Sacramental Marriages are better! In a Sacramental Marriage the couple receive the graces of the Sacrament - not just when the marriage ceremony is performed, but all through their marriage.

Our being discouraged from attending Protestant marriages, or non-Christian marriages had nothing to do with Protestants "getting the idea that we approved of what they were doing". It was to do with the fact that we are all weak of will and intellect due to Original Sin and the Church did not want anyone going to a non-Catholic Church, because people could be enticed away from the true religion.

Of course, natural marriages are not sinful.


#12

And of course…by that definition, any two people --atheists or theists or deists–who don’t get married in a religious institution or by a religious leader…are not married. So anyone who gets married at the courthouse isn’t really married.


#13

Further question…if a Catholic couple got married in the church, but never fill out the proper legal documents for it so are never considered legally married…would you considered them married?


#14

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:13, topic:320385"]
Further question....if a Catholic couple got married in the church, but never fill out the proper legal documents for it so are never considered legally married...would you considered them married?

[/quote]

They are not legally married but they are married as the Church understands it.

That's why in places where the law forbids a marriage that is not against natural law (forbidding mixed-race marriages, for example) the Church would be willing to celebrate a secret marriage to allow the couple to be married even if the law forbids it, doesn't recognize it and in some cases might persecute the couple because of it.


#15

[quote="DaddyGirl, post:13, topic:320385"]
Further question....if a Catholic couple got married in the church, but never fill out the proper legal documents for it so are never considered legally married...would you considered them married?

[/quote]

In most states, the couple must obtain a civil marriage license first, and present this to the priest or deacon who will witness the marriage ceremony. He signs and sends it back to the county court.


#16

[quote="Bryan77, post:1, topic:320385"]
I was then asked if two non religious people have the right to call themselves married.

Its my understanding that the church does not recognize their marriage.

[/quote]

You're mistaken. If one or both of the parties is unbaptized, it is not a sacramental marriage. It may, however, still be a valid marriage.


#17

The point is that the latter is a sacrament and the parties receive the graces of the sacrament. :slight_smile:

Yep.

One is a sacrament and one is not.

Nope.

If you’re Catholic, you’re bound by the Catholic form unless you receive a dispensation.

A natural marriage is dissoluable, cf. “Pauline privilege” and “Petrine privilege.”

If a Protestant marries another baptized Christian, the marriage is sacramental.


#18

I’m not a Catholic, but I think if two atheists get married, then they are still married. Maybe my thinking is a little too liberal.


#19

[quote="Aaron_Creagh, post:18, topic:320385"]
I'm not a Catholic, but I think if two atheists get married, then they are still married. Maybe my thinking is a little too liberal.

[/quote]

You're not "too liberal", that is what the Church teaches. Somewhere along the way, a lot of Catholics got the erroneous idea that only Catholics have valid marriages. Totally not true.

In Christ,
Ellen


#20

[quote="aspirant, post:17, topic:320385"]

Originally Posted by FlaviusGratian

                 [forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_khaki/viewpost.gif]("http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=10547193#post10547193")                 
             *Also: If a protestant gets married in a protestant way, then divorces that person, can they still be sacramentally married? *

If a Protestant marries another baptized Christian, the marriage is sacramental.

[/quote]

As the Catholic Church understands it, the second marriage is invalid and if that person ever decided to be received into full communion the first marriage would have to be investigated to see if it was valid.

If the first marriage were found to be valid, the second marriage is obviously invalid since that person was not free to marry anyone else, regardless of what the divorce court said.

If, upon investigation, it was found that the first marriage is not valid then the couple would be considered in a sacramental marriage.


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