Natural versus Sacramental Marriage

My understanding is that prior to the institution of Baptism there was natural marriage. Following the institution of Baptism, marriage was raised to the sacramental level. But what happened to natural marriage for the unbaptized. I know that it still exists, but has the natural of marriage changed for them? Is divorce, for instance still possible among the unbaptized?

Baptism of course not only erases all sin and temporal punishment, but also marks the soul for life. But, does Baptism allow these ordinary events of daily life become extra-ordinary means of commuting God’s Grace?

Asked another, more textured way, is Baptism (given grace by Christ’s death and resurrection) alone what transforms humanity? For instance, Jewish law permitted divorce (and remarriage???). They had a natural marriage, but marriage today is considered insoluble. **Is divorce still possible among the unbaptized, or did something other than Baptism also transform human nature? **

Let me explain my confusion: marriage is fundamental to human nature. The first two humans on Earth were a married couple, and marriage is a state of union that all couples could enter into.

So, if divorce were possible under the old law, then the so called “natural marriage” must have been “dissoluble” in its “natural” state in the time before Christ’s Death and Resurrection.

Baptism of course renders marriage indissolubly sacramental, but my question is, did Christ change human nature such that all marriage is indissoluble, and if he did, did he do so, then what extraordinary means do you believe he used other than Baptism?

Christ also recalled natural marriage to “as it was in the beginning”…

I believe the answer to your question is in Matthew 19:8…

God bless

By the way running… I love your signature :slight_smile:

Natural marriages (two unbaptized or a baptized/unbaptized combo) are considered **valid **by the Catholic Church. The unbaptized can enter into natural marriage by exchanging consent/vows.

Marriage, natural or sacramental, has three essential properties: perpetuity, fidelity, and fecundy.

Marriage between the baptized is a sacrament and *indissoluability *is a characteristic of the sacrament.

Natural marriage bonds can be dissolved in specific situations but it is the *Catholic Church *that has this authority to dissolve the bond, not the individuals in the marriage. So, no, those in a natural marriage are not free to divorce and remarry.

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