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What Do the Marriage Vows Demand From a Catholic Couple In Living Out Their Marriage?

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Introduction

What do the Marriage Vows demand from a Catholic Couple in living out their Marriage? Describe and explain the teaching of the Catholic Church on: * Sex outside of Marriage * Responsible Parenthood * Divorce How does the Sacrament of Marriage highlight the above? I am going to consider the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church, and what it means for a couple when they decide to make that commitment to each other. I will explain what the vows made by a couple during a Catholic marriage ceremony mean. I will then look at the Catholic Church's teachings on Sex outside of marriage, Responsible parenthood and Divorce, and how the words and actions involved in the Marriage ceremony emphasise these teachings. I will begin by explaining and discussing the Marriage Vows. For a Catholic, marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament is described (by the Catechism of the Catholic Church) as: "An outward sign of inward Grace, ordained by Jesus Christ, by which Grace is given to the soul." "...An outward sign..." refers to the words and actions carried out, that openly display the intentions and the faith of a person. "...Inward grace..." refers to the relationship a person has with God. 'Grace' is our own special relationship with God. It is said to be 'Inward' because nobody can actually see it, but the person who gains it can feel it themselves. "...Ordained by Jesus Christ..." is in reference to the times when Jesus told his followers to do something, indicating that these sacraments should be celebrated. To 'ordain' is to decide or organise something. "...By which Grace is given to the soul." The soul is the name we give to the inner part of us that feels emotions, and experiences a relationship with God. The Celebration of a sacrament is a way to improve a relationship with God, as is praying and Thanksgiving. ...read more.

Middle

There are three recognised forms of sex outside of marriage, and they are: Adultery, Fornication, and Homosexual activity Adultery is any sexual act between a man and woman, where at least one of them is already married to another person. This also includes situations where at least one of the adulterers is separated or legally divorced. The church teaches that when a person gets married, if they then have sex with someone other than their spouse, they commit adultery. Adultery cannot fulfil the two sacred requirements for Sex. If a man and woman are having an affair, it is extremely unlikely that they are happily prepared to become pregnant with a child, and therefore the sexual act is not open to human life. Furthermore, sex is to deepen the relationship between a couple who have made lifelong commitments. If the couple is not married, they do not have that commitment. This issue links in with the Church's teachings on divorce, which I will detail on later. Fornication is a sexual act between an unmarried couple. This includes boyfriends and girlfriends, and even engaged couples who are to be married. Since it is generally more likely for a couple not to want to start a family until they are married, there is no guarantee that a sexual act between an unmarried couple is open to the creation of new human life. Moreover, the couple can have made no lifelong commitment while they are still unmarried. Homosexual Activity is a sexual act between two people of the same sex. It is not considered to be a gift from God. Clearly, to create new human life, both a man and woman are needed, and therefore a homosexual act cannot be open to the creation of new life. Neither the church nor the state accepts homosexual marriage (because human life cannot be made), and therefore no lifelong commitment can be made between the couple. ...read more.

Conclusion

They are asked if they come to give themselves freely, if they will love and honour each other for life, and if they will accept children lovingly from God. These three questions all link back to the four topics I have covered. "Love and Honour each other for Life" links back to divorce, and marriage lasting forever, and the vows about loving and cherishing. Accepting children links back of course to responsible parenthood, where each sexual act between the couple must be open the transmission of new life, without any hesitation when new life is formed. Next are the Marriage Vows, which I have already covered at the start. The acceptance of Consent and Blessing follows the Vows. The priest accepts the consent of the bride and groom, on behalf of the people of God and the Church. By saying these words: "You have declared your consent before the church...What God has joined together let no man put asunder." This part links in with divorce, as the Church does not believe anything made by God can be broken, and Marriage is a sacred, God-given gift. Also, the consent ensures that the couple both want to be married and are sure they should be. Next is the exchange of rings. This is a visual symbol of their love and fidelity, and also show s how marriage is Holy and from God. The couple are blessed, and then sign the Marriage register, which I can refer back to marriage being a legal status as well. When a couple is married, they are married in the eyes of God and in the eyes of the State also. I have now answered the question. I have explained the Marriage vows, by examining what they mean, and how they link in with the Catholic Church's teachings on Sex outside of marriage, Responsible parenthood and Divorce. I have also explained each of these topics, what the Catholic Church teaches of them, and how they are highlighted during the Sacrament of Marriage. I have given an outline of a Marriage ceremony. Francesca Cunnane R.E Marriage Vows 3 ...read more.

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