What is the prime purpose and meaning of marriage in the modern world taught by the Church?

Dear friends in Christ:

I am a Taiwanese currently attending RCIA(-like) programs in Taiwan. I have read some documents by the Church with information about marriage, but from them I still don’t know how to clarify, conclude and summarize the prime purpose and meaning of marriage in the modern world taught by the Church in a consistent way. Could someone please teach me about this topic?

Here is an excellent recent statement by Archbishop Sample of Portland Oregon: Of its very nature, marriage exists for the communion of life and love between spouses, ordered to the procreation and care of children, in an exclusive and permanent bond between one man and one woman. In this natural bond, existing even between unbaptized spouses, we are given “an image for understanding and describing the mystery of God himself…”

Christ our Lord elevated the natural bond of marriage to the dignity of a sacrament whereby the union of man and woman signifies the “union of Christ and the Church.”
This is the best summary of marriage you will find anywhere. Normal Marriage can be elevated to Sacramental Marriage if both spouses are baptized.

Thank you. But is such kind of purposes (and meanings) of marriage better than the major kind of purposes (and meanings) held by non-Catholics, non-Christians and even non-theists? It seems there is no difference to me…
So is such kind of teaching possibly outdated in the modern world?

Marriage is about helping each other and the world through creating families.

Sacraments are for helping people get to Heaven.

In Holy Matrimony, the two are put together. It depends on the spouses being baptized. God grants graces ordered toward that supernatural purpose of sanctification.

You are asking a lot of questions here on the forum, which is good, but if you have a Catechism, you will see that there are footnotes at the bottom. A lot of your curiosity can be satisfied by going through the sources listed there. :thumbsup:

Historically, most pagan people in the world would have agreed that marriage is for the alliance of a man and a woman, and for the procreation and raising of children. But societies differed greatly about whether or not love should be involved, or even consent. (Although usually the clans of the married couple were expected to consent, even if the couple disagreed…)

The more healthy a society was, the more it approached this sort of understanding. Monogamy is healthier than polygamy. Fidelity is healthier than adultery. Affection between spouses is healthier than opposition. Care for children is healthier than neglect or abandonment.

Also, many pagan societies had an intuition that there was something sacred about marriage, although they disagreed about what it was. (Usually they figured it was fertility, the alliance of families, or contractual obligation, although marital love was never out of the question.)

But the Catholic teachings about marriage are much more complete and explicit, and they draw lines about what is universally right and wrong about marriage. They also explain why even a natural marriage is something sacred, and how a sacramental marriage is something even more.

Thanks for everyone who replied in this thread! :slight_smile:
In fact I have a concern that motivates me starting this thread, but I did not express explicitly my concern in this thread previously:
"Is adopting children together with my spouse inconsistent with the purpose of marriage taught by the Church?"
Then I Asked an Apologist and got an answer here:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=1029382

If we mean by the purpose of marriage that is commonly idealized by marriage couples, then there is probably not much different in any kind of marriages as held by different kind of people with different belief. Generally couples would want a happy, peaceful and perhaps productive child bearing marriage at some point in time. They would want a marriage that is permanent and unchanging love.

Christian marriage, however, while cherishing those values, put God as part of that marriage communion between the couple. IOW, God is the Lord of the Christian marriage, and therefore the values and practices held by marriage couple must be on the foundation of the teaching of the Church and the word of God.

This makes Christian marriage stands out from ordinary marriages.

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