Sunday, June 3, 2018

Adult Faith Formation, May 29 -- Matrimonial Consent and Indissolubility (Father Ryan Erlenbush, Corpus Christi Parish)

Objectives of Session 4 – Matrimonial Consent and Indissolubility
1) To recognize what is required for valid marital consent
2) To appreciate the four “marriage scenarios”  
3) To understand why all marriages are intrinsically indissoluble although some are extrinsically dissoluble
4) To be able to explain the difference between an annulment and a divorce

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Adult Faith Formation:
Marriage, In Scripture and in the Church
Session 4 – Matrimonial Consent and Indissolubility

I. Outline of Sessions:
1. May 1 – Introduction to marriage, in nature and in the Church
2. May 8 – Marriage and family life
3. May 22 – Marriage in Scripture, both the Old Testament and the New
4. May 29 – Matrimonial Consent and Indissolubility
5. June 5 – Celibacy and Marriage
6. June 12 – Modern objections to the Church’s teaching, Review

II. Matrimonial Consent
A. Consent makes the marriage
B. In what the consent consists: mutual, external, present
C. Consent and consummation

III. The four “marriage scenarios”
A. Two non-baptized persons
B. A baptized person and a non-baptized person
C. Two baptized persons, ratified but not consummated
D. Two baptized persons, ratified and consummated
E. Consideration of each of these in relation to validity, sacramentality, indissolubility

IV. Ways in which a marriage can be dissolved
A. Pauline Privilege, two non-baptized persons  (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:12-15)
B. Petrine Privilege, a baptized person and a non-baptized person
C. Papal dissolution, ratified but not consummated marriage of two baptized persons
D. Intrinsic and extrinsic (in)dissolubility

V. Annulments
            A. Not dissolving a marriage, but recognizing invalidity (not a ruling about sacramentality)
            B. The question of legitimacy and illegitimacy of children

I.  The matter of matrimony
The matter of this sacrament is the consent of the man and of the woman.

II. The form of matrimony
The form is the words by which this consent is expressed, externally and in the present tense.

III. Matrimonial consent
Consent for marriage can only be given by those who are free to do so. They are free who are not impeded by natural or ecclesiastical law, and who are not being forced to marry under some constraint.
It is this consent which “makes the marriage”. It must be mutual, external and present. Which is to say, both must make and receive the consent. This consent must be expressed by external acts. This consent must not be conditional or future (“I will marry you in two years” or “… if you do this”, etc).
According to the current law of the Church, for those baptized Catholic, this consent must be given according to canonical form – generally, according to the rites and norms of the Church, and received by a representative of the Church (usually, a priest or deacon). This binds for the validity of the sacrament.
However, it was not always the case that canonical form was required for validity – and this is something that could change.  At the time of its institution as a sacrament, a couple did not need to express consent before the Church in order to contract a valid marriage.  [discussion]

IV. Consummation of marriage
After the exchange of consent, the marriage is consummated upon the exercise of the rights of marriage in the marital act of sexual relations. Although the marriage itself consists in the consent, the bond is solidified in such a manner by consummation that a marriage ratified and consummated between two baptized persons can never be broken by any power.
[Brief discussion of ratum non consummatum. ]

Although the exercise of marital relations does bring the gift of grace, we do not say that this is the “sacrament” – the sacrament is the consent, and the bond that the consent establishes.


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