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How Does This Work?

Have you ever found that you were using something incorrectly? Maybe you found you were holding a tool incorrectly, or that you were disobeying a rule of the road? If we do not know how to use something, we should expect that there will be mistakes made. It may be as small as a sore muscle, or as big as a deadly accident. Knowing how something works is always important.

Ignorance about the Catholic teaching of Marriage has reached a staggering level in the modern age. And, I am not speaking about unbelievers (they, generally, never understand marriage); I am speaking about Catholics. Most Catholics today (even many of those with "good" marriages) think of marriage in pretty much the same way as the world does, but they add a layer of imagined sanctity because they call it a sacrament. To change the title does not change the reality. I have experienced this ignorance myself simply by hearing large numbers of Catholics speak about marriage in basically pagan terms.

The other proof is even more powerful: Catholics get divorced at about the same rate as pagans, so they obviously do not understand what marriage is all about. If they did, things would be quite different. For Catholics to practice marriage like the world and imagine all is good because they still go to church is a grave error. The Catholic concept of marriage is not a pagan contract that God approves of because we "really, really, really, don't plan on getting divorced". After a Sunday Mass that had a reading from Scripture about marriage, a parishioner came up to me and said (I kid you not), "Why are we still reading that Scripture? Didn't the Church do away with that old fashioned view of marriage?" I still am not sure what the priest was thinking who told her that.

Do you know the Catholic view of marriage? Chances are--just based on statistics--that you have at least a couple misunderstandings about it. Let me ask a few questions: 1) Who does God assign as "head of the home" and how does that work out in real life? 2) Who does God expect to be the primary "bread winner" and why is that important? 3) How does someone correct his or her spouse if there is a genuinely impenitent behavior? 4) What does the unity of marriage look like? 5) How does the discipline of children get balanced between husband and wife? 6) Why is marriage called "matrimony" and not "patrimony"? These are just a few; I could go on for paragraphs.

Are you able to answer these in complete accord with the Church's position? If not, it may be a good idea to go back and read the Trent Catechism section on Holy Matrimony.


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