What is a Natural Marriage?

What, exactly, is a Natural Marriage?

And

If a protestant couple marries in a protestant church, yet otherwise, all the criteria of a “sacramental marriage” are met…is it considered to be a sacramental marriage?

Put another way, must a couple specifically be married in the Catholic Church in order to achieve a sacramental marriage? If so, why?

My questions make it evident that I know very a little about this topic…give me credit for trying to learn!:blush:

Thanks…:slight_smile:

A ‘natural’ marriage is a valid marriage between two unbaptized or one unbaptized and one baptized persons. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc who are validly married have natural marriages.

A ‘sacramental’ marriage is a valid marriage between two people who were baptized with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They could be Protestant or Catholic or one of each.

Protestants married in their own Church who have no impediment to marriage (not divorced, not closely related, etc) are presumed to be in a valid marriage. If both are baptized it’s sacramental.

So, if it’s a sacramental marriage, Catholic or not, if the couple divorces, they are still married in the eyes of God unless they seek and obtain a Decree of Nullity?

All marriages are considered valid unless proven otherwise. Natural marriages are valid if there were no impediments. Protestant marriages are valid and sacramental unless proven otherwise through the annulment process. So yes divorced protestants are considered married in the eyes of God.

Yes.

And even if it’s only a natural marriage, the couple are considered married in the eyes of God.

So a natural marriage, if it ends in divorce, would also require an annulment before either party could remarry?

Hate to sound so nit picky but I am trying to clearly understand this…I am in a dialogue with someone who has questions about Catholic churches and annulments. I just want to make sure my ducks are in a row!

Yes. Natural marriages also require a ruling of nullity from the marriage tribunal.

However there are circumstances where a natural marriage can be dissolved rather than ruled null. (Do a search for threads about the Petrine privilege and Pauline privilege. Or do a Google search.)

Not necessarily. In addition to nullity, which declares no valid marriage existed, a natural marriage can also be dissolved by the Pauline or Petrine Privilege if the criteria are met.

I suggest you not try to explain this to someone else without a very solid understanding of it yourself.

I suggest you read the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster before proceeding.

Thanks 1ke. I am just trying to gather as much information as I can. It is indeed very involved.

But don’t some protestants maintain that there are biblical grounds for divorce, and if divorced for those reasons, they are therefore also released from the covenant? Automatically…by virtue of the divorce itself, no annulment needed.??

They may believe this but according to the Catholic Church to whom God gave earthly authority ,they are still married. If one of them were to attempt a marriage to a catholic for instance they would have to pursue an annulment despite the beliefs of their church.

1ke,

But don’t some protestants maintain that there are biblical grounds for divorce, and if divorced for those reasons, they are therefore also released from the covenant? Automatically…by virtue of the divorce itself, no annulment needed.??

So in dialogue with someone who believes this, we come to an impass…

Yes, sometimes that happens.

a natural marriage is a valid marriage between two unbaptized persons, or one baptized and one unbaptized person. It cannot be sacramental because both parties are unbaptized and only the baptized can be admitted to the other sacraments. It is valid if both are free to marry, and the conditions for valid marriage and consent are present. A sacramental marriage is a valid marriage contracted betweent two baptized persons, no matter who witnesses it. If one or both parties are Catholic they are also bound by canon law in order for the marriage to be valid.

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