A history of the development of the belief that marriage is a sacrament

That Christian marriage i.

A history of the development of the belief that marriage is a sacrament

Livingstone Christian Marriage What is Marriage? In the Christian religion, the institution of marriage is believed to have originated with the first humans, Adam and Eve, and it was later affirmed by Jesus Christ, and given further elaboration and instruction by the Apostle Paul.

In recent years, especially in the Western world, marriage has become a controversial issue as the question of who can marry who has been asked, which is related to discussion of homosexuality in Christianity. According to the Council of Trent this dogma has always been taught by the Church, and is thus defined in canon i, Sess.

John Calvin in his "Institutions", IV, xix, 34, says: What man in his sober senses could so regard it? And Martin Luther speaks in terms equally vigorous. In his German work, published at Wittenberg in under the title "Von den Ehesachen", he writes p.

But the decision of Trent was not the first given by the Church. The Council of Florence, in the Decree for the Armenians, had already declared: This is a great sacrament, but I speak in Christ and in the Church.

Marriage in the History of the Church The acceptance of the sacraments administered in the Church had been prescribed in general in the following words: We believe that pardon is granted by God to penitent sinners. Even the few theologians who minimized, or who seemed to minimize, the sacramental character of marriage, set down in the foremost place the proposition that marriage is a sacrament of the New Law in the strict sense of the word, and then sought to conform their further theses on the effect and nature of marriage to this fundamental truth, as will be evident from the quotations given below.

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The reason why marriage was not expressly and formally included among the sacraments earlier and the denial of it branded as heresy, is to be found in the historical development of the doctrine regarding the sacraments; but the fact itself may be traced to Apostolic times.

With regard to the several religious rites designated as "Sacraments of the New Law", there was always in the Church a profound conviction that they conferred interior Divine grace.

But the grouping of them into one and the same category was left for a later period, when the dogmas of faith in general began to be scientifically examined and systematically arranged. Furthermore, that the seven sacraments should be grouped in one category was by no means self-evident.

For, though it was accepted that each of these rites conferred interior grace, yet, in contrast to their common invisible effect, the difference in external ceremony and even in the immediate purpose of the production of grace was so great that, for a long time, it hindered a uniform classification.

Thus, there is a radical difference between the external form under which baptism, confirmation, and orders, on the one hand are administered, and, on the other hand, those that characterize penance and marriage. For while marriage is in the nature of a contract, and penance in the nature of a judicial process, the three first-mentioned take the form of a religious consecration of the recipients.

The Character of Christian Marriage In the proof of Apostolicity of the doctrine that marriage is a sacrament of the New Law, it will suffice to show that the Church has in fact always taught concerning marriage what belongs to the essence of a sacrament.

The name sacrament cannot be cited as satisfactory evidence, since it did not acquire until a late period the exclusively technical meaning it has to-day; both in pre-Christian times and in the first centuries of the Christian Era it had a much broader and more indefinite signification.

Without this it would be very difficult to get from the Scriptures and the Fathers clear and decisive proof for all, even the unlearned, that marriage is a sacrament in the strict sense of the word.

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The process of demonstration would be too long and would require a knowledge of theology which the ordinary faithful do not possess. In themselves, however, the direct testimonies of the Scriptures and of several of the Fathers are of sufficient weight to constitute a real proof, despite the denial of a few theologians past and present.

The classical Scriptural text is the declaration of the Apostle Paul Eph. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it: So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself.

For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth it and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church: But considering the expression in its relation to the preceding words, we are led to the conclusion that it is to be taken in the strict sense of a sacrament of the New Law.

The love of Christian spouses for each other should be modelled on the love between Christ and the Church, because Christian marriage, as a copy and token of the union of Christ with the Church, is a great mystery or sacrament.

Marriage is first referenced in the Bible in the story of Genesis. God gives Adam a life partner because he knows that Adam cannot live alone. Matrimony was formally defined by the Catholic Church as a sacrament in the 12th Century. The sacraments of marriage and holy orders were distinguished as sacraments that aim at the "increase of the Church" from the other five sacraments, which are intended for the spiritual perfection of individuals. The Council of Florence in again recognised marriage as a sacrament. Although theologians had spoken of marriage as a “sacrament” prior to Verona, there was no clear consensus that the sacrament of matrimony was on the same level as baptism and Eucharist or that marriage was a cause of grace.

It would not be a solemn, mysterious symbol of the union of Christ with the Church, which takes concrete form in the individual members of the Church, unless it efficaciously represented this union, i. The first marriage between Adam and Eve in Paradise was a symbol of this union; in fact, merely as a symbol, it surpassed individual Christian marriages, inasmuch as it was an antecedent type, whereas individual Christian marriages are subsequent representations.

There would be no reason, therefore, why the Apostle should refer with such emphasis to Christian marriage as so great a sacrament, if the greatness of Christian marriage did not lie in the fact, that it is not a mere sign, but an efficacious sign of the life of grace.

In fact, it would be entirely out of keeping with the economy of the New Testament if we possessed a sign of grace and salvation instituted by God which was only an empty sign, and not an efficacious one. Paul emphasizes in a most significant fashion the difference between the Old and the New Testament, when he calls the religious rites of the former "weak and needy elements" which could not of themselves confer true sanctity, the effect of true justice and sanctity being reserved for the New Testament and its religious rites.

A history of the development of the belief that marriage is a sacrament

If, therefore, he terms Christian marriage, as a religious act, a great sacrament, he means not to reduce it to the low plane of the Old Testament rites, to the plane of a "weak and needy element", but rather to show its importance as a sign of the life of grace, and, like the other sacraments, an efficacious sign.

Source The Catholic Encyclopedia ed.Christian marriage (i.e. marriage between baptized persons) is really a sacrament of the New Law in the strict sense of the word is for all Catholics an indubitable truth.

The sacrament of marriage As early as the 12th Century, Roman Catholic theologians and writers referred to marriage as a sacrament, a sacred ceremony tied to experiencing God's presence.

A history of the development of the belief that marriage is a sacrament

Discuss the history and development of the belief that marriage is a sacrament. What is the significance of calling marriage a sacrament?

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Do you feel that marriage is/can be a sacrament 3/5(9). The History and Development of the Sacrament of Confirmation Printer Friendly The Spirit is present in the Church, moving and breathing where he wills, but allowing historical events and cultures to shape our practice and understanding of the faith.

Today, the Roman Catholic Church believes that marriage is a sacrament, a "sacred sign, instituted by Christ to give grace" (Bernard Cooke). Yet, the social practice of marriage or union between people was not always deemed a sacrament.

What About the "Sacraments"? : Christian Courier

Discuss the history and development of the belief that marriage is a sacrament/5(10). The purpose of marriage was the production of heirs, as implied by the Latin word matrimonium, which is derived from mater (mother). When did the church get involved? In ancient Rome, marriage was a civil affair governed by imperial law.

But when the empire collapsed, in the 5th century, church courts took over and elevated marriage to a holy .

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