God’s plan for marriage is that a man and a woman give themselves 100% to each other. God intends the spouses to find joy, delight and hope, creating with Him a new ‘wholeness’ so concrete that a new life, a child, is the natural fruit of that love.
Christ raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament (Matrimony). It is easy to imagine why he did so, for there is no other state, besides the priesthood, that pleads so demandingly for grace.
Matrimony is the sacrament by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties.
The Marriage Bond is perpetual, exclusive and indissoluble: it cannot be dissolved by any human power (e.g. a decree of divorce, etc.). What God has joined together, let no man put asunder (Mark 10:9).
The sacramental grace of Matrimony enables the couple to reach holiness in their married life, through learning to accept lovingly each other’s limitations, and the burden of raising children. Spouses should also frequently go to Confession and Communion, since these are the usual channels Christ left us for staying on the path of holiness.
The Celebration of Matrimony establishes spouses in a public state of life in the Church and takes place in the presence of a priest (or other authorized person) and other witnesses. The ministers of this sacrament are the spouses themselves, for it is their Consent that constitutes Matrimony. This consent is essential and must be conscious, free and exempt from all coercion.
|A Christian marriage is not just a social institution, much less a mere remedy for human weakness. It is a real supernatural calling. A great sacrament, in Christ and in the Church, says St Paul. It is a permanent contract that sanctifies in cooperation with Jesus Christ. He fills the souls of husband and wife and invites them to follow him. He transforms their whole married life into an occasion for God’s presence on earth. Husband and wife are called to sanctify their married life and to sanctify themselves in it. The marriage union, the care and education of children, the effort to provide for the needs of the family as well as for its security and development, the relationships with other persons who make up the community, all these are among the ordinary human situations that Christian couples are called upon to sanctify.St Josemaría Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 23.|
Every couple marrying in the Catholic Church is required to give a minimum of three months notice to their priest and complete a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form with local priest of each party.
There are at least three forms that you need to get before going to meet your priest.
- A copy of your Baptismal Certificate (issued within 6 months of date of marriage).
- A recently issued copy of your Confirmation Certificate (in some cases the Baptismal Certificate may also certify date of Confirmation).
- Document(s) establishing Freedom to Marry. This is a supplementary requirement to the notation made on a recently issued Baptism Certificate. It can be done in one of the following ways
- Letter of Freedom from each parish you have lived in for 6 months of more since you were 18. (Such a letter can be issued after consulting the marriage register for the period in question to ascertain that there is no record of a previous marriage).
- Statement of Freedom to Marry – made by the father, mother, brother or sister of the party in the presence of a priest/deacon who witnesses the attestation. (This form can be downloaded below).
- Sworn affidavit made in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths, where the party states that he/she has never been married before, either civilly or religiously.
Marriage preparation course
To help ensure suitable preparation for marriage, in June 2010, the Irish Episcopal Conference approved Criteria for Courses of Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage. Some options:
On 4 September 2012, the Archdiocese of Dublin issued the following statement on the the unsuitability of the Avalon DVD Course:
Many parishes have been contacted recently with information regarding a pre-marriage DVD course being marketed by Avalon RC Limited. The information and the Avalon website suggest that this course meets the “Bishops’ Guidelines”.
This DVD course and online questionnaire cannot meet the Irish Episcopal Conference Criteria for Courses of Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage and is not an acceptable course of marriage preparation in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
State Regulations (More details here).
In the Republic of Ireland, according to the Family Law Act 1995, you must notify the Registrar of Marriages, in person, at least three months before the date of the marriage.
To notify the Registrar of your intention to marry you may book a Marriage Notification appointment at www.crsappointments.ie
Find out where marriages are registered in your local area and contact that office. In the Republic of Ireland contact the General Register Office, 8-11 Lombard Street East, Dublin 2, tel 01 635 4000 or visit www.groireland.ie.
See more comprehensive information at: www.civilregistrationservice.ie
Some useful resources on Marriage:
- Catechism of the Catholic Church: (nos. 1601-1658)
- Compendium: (nos. 337-350)
- The Iona Institute