Archives > Apologetics and Questions about Traditional Catholicism Archive II

Question on Validity of a Marriage...

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AdoramusTeChriste:

--- Quote from: doozer ---It is not necessary for a natural marriage to be made sacramental in order to enter the Church.  The only way that a natural marriage can be made sacramental is for the unbaptized spouse to get baptized.  If the two spouses are unbaptized and one spouse decides to enter the Church, he may do so without his spouse getting baptized.  One can be a Catholic in good standing and have a non-sacramental marriage because one can be a Catholic in good standing and be married to an unbaptized person.
 
--- End quote ---
  In this case though, it is the unbaptized party who desires to enter the Church and the other party is presumed to be baptized.   I have a friend (baptized Catholic) who had her marriage (to an unbaptized man) convalidated while she was still in the NO. Her natural marriage did have to be convalidated to put her in good standing. Her spouse had been in a previous marriage, but that impediment was fairly easily resolved. Their ceremony was held right after a regulary scheduled Mass one evening.   I was reading about the Sacrament in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma last night and it appears that there is some contention among theologians over this issue. It is then no wonder that there is confusion among the laity.     I read that the contract of marriage and the sacrament of marriage are inseparable for the baptized, that the consent of the parties is the form and matter of the sacrament, but the intent has to be to do what the Church intends.

FlosCarmeli:
I knew this would be an interesting thread!


But it would seem as if any man and woman could just marry themselves by saying: "I marry you" together, and this would be considered a natural marriage. This seems like a huge cop-out to me, how can that be a valid marriage? It is too weird and just doesn't seem right.

doozer:

--- Quote from: AdoramusTeChriste --- I have a friend (baptized Catholic) who had her marriage (to an unbaptized man) convalidated while she was still in the NO. Her natural marriage did have to be convalidated  to put her in good standing. Her spouse had been in a previous  marriage, but that impediment was fairly easily resolved. Their  ceremony was held right after a regulary scheduled Mass one  evening.
--- End quote ---
   
  Yes, this is always done.  The convalidation makes the invalid  marriage valid.  (Getting convalidated is really just getting married.)  Convalidation does not make the marriage sacramental unless both parties are baptized.  What these two people would have is a valid natural marriage.
   
   
--- Quote ---I  read that the contract of marriage and the sacrament of marriage are  inseparable for the baptized, that the consent of the parties is the  form and matter of the sacrament, but the intent has to be to do what  the Church intends.
--- End quote ---
 
 That's right except that  for Catholics the canonical requirements are also part of the form.  When two baptized persons get validly married, that marriage is automatically sacramental.  Furthermore, a valid natural marriage will become sacramental once both parties are baptized.

doozer:

--- Quote from: FlosCarmeli ---I knew this would be an interesting thread!


But  it would seem as if any man and woman could just marry themselves by  saying: "I marry you" together, and this would be considered a natural marriage. This seems like a huge cop-out to me, how can that be a valid marriage? It is too weird and just doesn't seem right.

--- End quote ---
 
  Actually what this would be is a valid marriage assuming that nothing was lacking in the parties' consent and neither party was Catholic (or, if at least one party was  Catholic, either a dispensation was granted or the requirements were  met for Catholic marriages during the long-term absence of a priest or  deacon).
 
 Assuming it was valid, the question of whether it  was natural or sacramental depends on whether both parties were  baptized. If they were, the marriage is sacramental. If neither or only  one was baptized, the marriage is natural.

gladius_veritatis:

--- Quote from: AdoramusTeChriste ---I am not sure "natural" and "valid" are interchangeable terms as you are trying to convince us, gladius.
--- End quote ---
  The reason you are not sure is that I am not trying to convince you that natural and valid are interchangeable, my lady.  What I am trying to get across is that natural marriage is marriage - period.  Is it a sacrament?  No, but it is marriage (or they would call it something else), and valid marriage at that (provided the parties contracting it are not bound by the laws of Holy Church).  When you are dealing with members of Holy Church, it is granted that there are other things which come into play, but that is not really ad rem.  
--- Quote ---A "natural" marriage needs to be made a sacramental one for anyone desiring to enter the Church, like the fellow in question.
--- End quote ---
  Which means nothing where the question of its validity prior to his conversion is concerned.   
--- Quote ---But this is reserved for a Catholic who has exchanged marriage vows in a civil service or false religion and has, as such, contracted an invalid marriage.
--- End quote ---
  Which simply means he broke the laws of the Church, by which he was bound, and thus was not actually married.  This does not apply to non-Catholics.  What does apply to non-Catholics is the natural law, according to which non-Catholics are validly married, provided they do a few simple things.  Marriage is not a difficult thing to do properly, and to prove invalidity is very difficult, indeed.  
--- Quote ---A natural marriage is an impediment to conversion if the candidate is unwilling or unable to have the the marriage made valid through the sacrament of matrimony.
--- End quote ---
  Here we are talking about the marriage being made valid as a Sacrament (having it elevated, now that he is a member of Holy Church), not marriage according to the natural law - which is the only thing the person was bound by at the time he entered into the valid contract with his spouse.

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