Marriage as a Sacrament


#1

I have a friend who is by no means a religious person, and he is adamant that Marriage is not a Sacrament. In fact, he is very set in thinking that it is merely a civil contract. How do I explain to him that it is in fact a Sacrament? I might also note that he does not support gay "marriage" if that matters for anything.


#2

[quote="AndreM73, post:1, topic:343270"]
I have a friend who is by no means a religious person, and he is adamant that Marriage is not a Sacrament. In fact, he is very set in thinking that it is merely a civil contract. How do I explain to him that it is in fact a Sacrament? I might also note that he does not support gay "marriage" if that matters for anything.

[/quote]

That will be a toughie, if one looks at the history of marriage, even within the church, over history.

It was a while before the Church made any official stance and became part of the marriage ceremony.

I think if you want to have a good discussion with him, reading up on the history of marriage and the family thru history will be your best place to start...

Good Luck.:)

"As early as the 12th Century, Roman Catholic theologians and writers referred to marriage as a sacrament, a sacred ceremony tied to experiencing God's presence. However, it wasn't until the Council of Trent in 1563 that marriage was officially deemed one of the seven sacraments, says Elizabeth Davies, of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Following the development of Protestant theology, which did not recognise marriage as a sacrament, the Council felt a need to "clarify" marriage's place. "There was an underlying assumption that marriage was a sacrament, but it was clearly defined in 1563 because of the need to challenge teaching that suggested it wasn't," Davies says."

(History of Marriage)


#3

Well, it is both. And of course it is only a sacrament between the baptized.

What is his argument against it being a sacrament? You say he is adamant it is not a sacrament, does he even know what a sacrament is?


#4

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:343270"]
Well, it is both. And of course it is only a sacrament between the baptized.

What is his argument against it being a sacrament? You say he is adamant it is not a sacrament, does he even know what a sacrament is?

[/quote]

What do you mean only a sacrament among the baptized? Does that mean only baptized people can be married in the church?


#5

[quote="billcu1, post:4, topic:343270"]
What do you mean only a sacrament among the baptized?

[/quote]

A marriage between two unbaptized people, or between a baptized and unbaptized person is not a sacrament. It is a natural marriage.

[quote="billcu1, post:4, topic:343270"]
Does that mean only baptized people can be married in the church?

[/quote]

No.


#6

, and he is adamant that Marriage is not a Sacrament. In fact, he is very set in thinking that it is merely a civil contract. How do I explain to him that it is in fact a Sacrament? I might also note that he does not support gay "marriage" if that matters for anything.

If your friend is not a believer then I doubt that you can can convince him of this. Isn't there a saying something like "if one has faith then no explanation is necessary; if one does not have faith, then no explanation is possible."


#7

[quote="AndreM73, post:1, topic:343270"]
I have a friend who is by no means a religious person, and he is adamant that Marriage is not a Sacrament. In fact, he is very set in thinking that it is merely a civil contract. How do I explain to him that it is in fact a Sacrament? I might also note that he does not support gay "marriage" if that matters for anything.

[/quote]

The New Testament clearly states that a marriage between a believing spouse and an unbeliever will sanctify (to make holy) the unbelieving spouse. This sacrament saves the unbelieving spouse. Yes, it is a sacrament.


#8

[quote="boomerang, post:7, topic:343270"]
The New Testament clearly states that a marriage between a believing spouse and an unbeliever will sanctify (to make holy) the unbelieving spouse. This sacrament saves the unbelieving spouse. Yes, it is a sacrament.

[/quote]

You mean saves as in sanctifying grace?


#9

[quote="billcu1, post:8, topic:343270"]
You mean saves as in sanctifying grace?

[/quote]

Well, it says that the unbeliever is sanctified. To me, that implies that the unbeliever is saved just like the believing spouse. But that doesn't mean the unbeliever won't do a stint in purgatory first. But since the two become one flesh, how can they be separated, one half in heaven and one half in hell? I would say the unbeliever will be pulled into heaven by the believing spouse's graces. My two cents.


#10

[quote="billcu1, post:8, topic:343270"]
You mean saves as in sanctifying grace?

[/quote]

1 Corinthians 7:19 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.


#11

[quote="billcu1, post:4, topic:343270"]
What do you mean only a sacrament among the baptized? Does that mean only baptized people can be married in the church?

[/quote]

Baptism is the gateway to all the other sacraments. Since the non-baptized cannot receive a sacrament, the marriage can't be a sacrament for only half of the couple.

In the case of a Catholic marrying a non-baptized, it can be done validly, in the Church, with a dispensation from the Bishop. It can't be during Mass and the word 'sacrament' isn't spoken during the ritual uniting a Catholic to a non-baptized.


#12

[quote="boomerang, post:7, topic:343270"]
The New Testament clearly states that a marriage between a believing spouse and an unbeliever will sanctify (to make holy) the unbelieving spouse.

[/quote]

That does not mean the marriage is a sacrament. It is not. It is a natural marriage.

[quote="boomerang, post:7, topic:343270"]

This sacrament saves the unbelieving spouse. Yes, it is a sacrament.

[/quote]

A) It does not SAVE the unbelieving spouse. It can call that spouse to holiness, and hopefully to belief.

B) A marriage between the baptized is a sacrament. That is Church teaching. What you have stated is NOT Church teaching.


#13

Nope. Sanctified and “saved” are NOT the same thing.

Same way any husband or wife can be in Hell while the other spouse is in Heaven. We are each judged on our OWN merits, not each other’s. If my spouse, God forbid, died in mortal sin and I did not, then we would not be in Heaven togeher.

And, Christ also says there is no marriage in heaven. That is why we can remarry if our spouse dies.

Your 2 cents, but NOT Church teaching in any way, shape, or form. We are not “pulled” into Heaven by others. We must stand in judgment on our own faith and works.


#14

I never claimed to be the mouthpiece of Church teaching. This is my opinion. If something is made holy, it is not destined for hell. This is just my take on the verse from 1 Corinthians.


#15

We are all made holy in baptism. Yet, we can by our own free will commit mortal sin and separate ourselves from God.

Actual grace and sanctifying grace of the sacraments are two different things. The unbeliever receives actual grace via the marriage, actual grace via the intercession and prayers of the believing spouse. Sanctifying grace of the sacraments can only be received if one is baptized.


#16

As a baptized catholic in the church during the RCIA process, if I married a non-catholic christian then it would be a natural marriage right? But what if they were a validly baptized baptist? I think the church accepts that; would that be a sacramental marriage? What is the difference is sanctifying and saving? In this marriage thread?


#17

[quote="billcu1, post:16, topic:343270"]
As a baptized catholic in the church during the RCIA process, if I married a non-catholic christian then it would be a natural marriage right? But what if they were a validly baptized baptist? I think the church accepts that; would that be a sacramental marriage? What is the difference is sanctifying and saving? In this marriage thread?

[/quote]

If you married a non-Christian, it would be a natural marriage.
If you married a baptized Baptist it would be a sacramental marriage even if the Baptist party doesn't believe that Baptism and Marriage are sacraments.


#18

So what’s the real difference in a natural marriage and a sacramental one?


#19

The real difference is the Grace imparted by a sacrament. But a visible difference in day to day life? Probably nothing you could see.

Of course a natural marriage can be dissolved. A sacramental marriage, if consummated, cannot be dissolved.


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.