GOOD SHEPHERD INSTITUTE OF PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY INTRODUCTION TO SACRAMENTAL THEOLOGY AND SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION EXEGETICAL EXPLANATION OF THE FORMULA OF THE THREE QUESTIONS BEFORE THE CONSENT IN THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY Guide: Prof. Rev. Dr. Aleixo Menezes Written Paper submitted in partial fulfilment of Theology Course Student: Sem. Anmol J. da Costa Roll no. 05, IIIrd Year of Theology Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, Rachol, Goa 2022 “It is the presence of the Lord, who reveals Himself and the gift of His grace, that will render your marriage full and profoundly true.” ~ Pope Francis 1. Introduction: The Catholic Church coaxes us and makes us accountable for our commitments. In order to achieve this end, the Church has Her prerogative duty and more so, the authority to set an objective standard of accountability. This is not unusual. Persons wanting to become new citizens of a country are free to write essays or poetry to express their newfound patriotism, but that won’t gain them the proper government documents. They must observe a legal form that is established and commonly recognized in order to become a citizen. In matters of importance, proper form is essential and decisive. And marriage is a matter of grave importance.1 Man cannot exist alone (cf. Genesis 2:18), therefore, there arises a question mutuality, complementarity and companionship - i.e. man to woman and woman to man.2 Pope John Paul II would compare this complementarity and mutual relationship to that of the Trinity itself: “Being a person in the image and likeness of God thus also involves existing in a relationship, in relation to the other “I”. This is a prelude to the definitive selfrevelation of the Triune God: a living unity in the communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”3 In the study of our paper, we shall explore a short history of marriage, origin of a marriage rite and its development. At the heart of our study is the exegesis of the questions before the consent in marriage, which is used in the present Order of Celebrating Marriage. A Catholic wedding, as we know, is a public event. The Church sets down a standard, a certain traditional form that is recognized by the Church throughout the world4 to which, both the spouses-to-be, ought to affirm to before they enter into the Sacramental Covenant of Marriage. 2. History, Origin and Development: For much of the early history, marriage vows did not have to be exchanged in a Church, nor was a priest's presence required.5 A couple could exchange consent anywhere, anytime, perhaps in the presence or even in the absence of any witness/es. Matrimony, had been celebrated (as in Roman and Judaic traditions) without clergy and was done according to local customs. In the 4th century Eastern Church, there are some records of a custom in some areas, 1 Cardinal Donald Wuerl, The Marriage God Wants for You, (Maryland: The Word among Us Press, 2015), p. 80. Michael Miller, trans., Youcat, (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2011), p. 48. 3 Pope John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, n. 6, 15th August 1988. 4 Cardinal Donald Wuerl, The Marriage God Wants for You, ibidem, p. 78. 5 Shannon McSheffrey, Marriage, sex, and civic culture in the late medieval London, (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006), p. 21. 2 for marriages to receive a blessing by a priest merely to ensure fertility.6 The first available written detailed account of a Christian wedding (in the West) dates in the 9th century and appears to be identical with ancient Roman service. Although not entirely, we can conclude that, beginning only in the 4th century, through the involvement of a priest and his blessings, some kind of ‘liturgical framework’, which served to affirm God’s place in the marriage and the sanctity of the marriage itself, got incorporated into marriage.7 Around the year 1000, the Church had jurisdictional power over marriage. Over the centuries, eventually, the part played by the priest gained immense significance. By now, it was usually the priest who gave the bride to the bridegroom into marriage.”8 It was not until the 1440s that Catholicism, through the Council of Florence, declared that matrimony should be truly regarded as one of seven sacraments. 9 In (Church historian) Reynolds’s view, the Church’s affirmation of marriage as a sacrament established priestly dictates and authority and confined believers to marriages without continued existence of love due to the doctrine of marital indissolubility.10 The definitive word regarding marriage came with the Council of Trent in 1563 when it exposed clearly marriage as one of 7 sacraments.11 Reynolds notes the growing presence of the clergy, in the actual rite of marriage (as the priests were questioning the couple about impediments and about the freedom of their consent, culminating in the celebration of a nuptial Mass). He emphasizes that the Church, by deeming marriage as a sacrament, gained “exclusive legal competence” over the verdict of what constituted a valid marriage, dissolution of an invalid marriage, and separation without allowing remarriage.12 Following the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), the Church published a revised Order of Celebrating Matrimony (in Latin) in 1969 and the official English translation was published in 1970. In 1991, a revised version of this Order of Matrimony was published (in Latin), but the cf. Demetrios Constantelos, “Practice of the Sacrament of Matrimony according to the Orthodox Tradition”, in The Jurist, vol. XXXI, n. 04 (1971): p. 620. 7 cf. Matthew Levering, Engaging the Doctrine of Marriage, (Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2020), p. 468. 8 Ibidem, p. 469. 9 Reynolds Ekstrom, ed., The New Concise Catholic Dictionary, (Mumbai: St. Paul’s, 2000), p. 183. 10 cf. Matthew Levering, Engaging the Doctrine of Marriage, ibidem, p. 451. 11 cf. Jacques Dupuis, ed., The Christian Faith, (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2014), p. 764; Matthew Levering, Engaging the Doctrine of Marriage, ibidem, p. 453; Reynolds Ekstrom, ed., The New Concise Catholic Dictionary, ibidem, p. 183. 12 cf. Matthew Levering, Engaging the Doctrine of Marriage, ibidem, p. 457. 6 English translation was delayed for various reasons. In summer 2015 however, Rome gave its required approval to the work.13 3. Placement in the structure of the order/mass: The main elements of the celebration of Marriage are: the Liturgy of the Word, in which are expressed the importance of Christian Marriage; the consent of the contracting parties, which the person assisting asks for and receives; the venerable prayer by which the blessing of God is invoked upon the bride and bridegroom; finally, Liturgy of the Eucharist culminating in Eucharistic Communion (if circumstances so prevail) of spouses and of others present, by which, they are raised up to communion with the Lord and with their neighbour.14 At the heart of this is the couple’s consent. In fact, of all the seven sacraments, this is the only sacrament conferred by the recipients themselves and not by a minister. The minister of the Church is present only to witness the marriage in the name of the Church and to bless it. The wedding takes place through the public consent of the couple.15 That is precisely why the Code of Canon Law allows the ordinary, exceptional and extraordinary forms of the Sacrament of marriage. (The latter two have to be decided upon by Conference of Bishops.) Before a Marriage is celebrated, it must be established that nothing stands in the way of its valid and licit celebration.16 Therefore, the Church in Her wisdom, before receiving the consent from the couple, questions them about their freedom of choice, fidelity to each other, and the acceptance and upbringing of children.17 “The Questions before the Consent” are an important part of a Catholic wedding. True to its name, it entails the celebrant asking the bride and groom three questions before they exchange their consent and are married. It is a solemn moment, as bride and groom pledge before God and the community their intention to undertake through God’s grace the vocation of lifelong marriage, a permanent union open to the gift of new life.18 Fr. Dan Merz, Order of Celebrating Matrimony, Second Edition, What’s New? [article on-line] (Washington DC, accessed 02 July, 2022); available from https://www.foryourmarriage.org/marriage-rite-second-editionwhats-new/; Internet 14 cf. Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, November 1965, no. 3; cf. Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, November 1964, no. 12. 15 cf. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, The Marriage God Wants for You, ibidem, p. 82. 16 cf. Codex Iuris Canonici (C.I.C.), can. 1066, (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 1983), p. 239. 17 Congregation for Divine Worship & The Discipline of the Sacraments, The Order for Celebrating Marriage, (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2015), n. 60. 18 Fr. Dan Merz, The Questions Before Consent [article on-line] (Washington DC, accessed 02 July, 2022); available from https://www.foryourmarriage.org/the-questions-before-consent/; Internet 13 When the time comes for the Rite of Marriage itself, the bride and groom stand before the priest, who addresses them in these or other such similar words: “My dear friends, you have come together in this Church so that [….] the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church’s minister and the (Church) community. And so, [….] I ask you to state your intentions.” 19 The Holy See allows certain adaptions only at the request of the Conference of Bishops. In allowing such adaptions, following is one of the points which are to be kept in mind: Provided the structure of the sacramental rite is preserved, the order of the parts may be adapted and if necessary, even supplemented.20 4. Exegesis: The three questions before the consent validate the aspects of Indissolubility (based on the freedom of choice), unity (based on fidelity) and openness to acceptance and upbringing of children (based on procreation) respectively, which are essential to marriage.21 4.1. (Name) and (Name), have you come here to enter into Marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly? (This question is mainly directed to indicate the indissolubility of marriage) The bridegroom and bride each say: I have. Indissolubility (bonum sacramentum): Elliott emphasizes by citing that “husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church” (Ephesians 5:25) affirms that the effect of this sacred symbol is indissolubility.22 4.1.1. N. and N.: name holds a special characteristic value of importance within the tradition of the Bible (genealogy, the naming of persons after being called for a specific reason, etc.). It is something similar to the I believe (Credo), we profess our faith individually but within a community. “I (Yahweh) call you by your name, 19 cf. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, The Marriage God Wants for You, ibidem, p. 81-82.; cf. Congregation for Divine Worship & The Discipline of the Sacraments, The Order for Celebrating Marriage, (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2015), n. 59. 20 Congregation for Divine Worship & The Discipline of the Sacraments, The Order for Celebrating Marriage, ibidem, n. 40. 21 Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.), n. 1664, (New Delhi: Bloomsbury, 2012), p. 372.; cf. Austin Flannery ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Gaudium et Spes (G.S.), Pastoral Constitution on Church in the Modern World, (Mumbai: St. Pauls, 1975), n. 50 § 1. 22 cf. Matthew Levering, Engaging the Doctrine of Marriage, ibidem, p. 472. I surname you, though you do not know me. I know you” (Isaiah 45:4); one can also mention it to indicate the intimate knowledge God has of us. Also, it brings out the aspect of a public statement. God designs us in such a manner that a male and a female, longs for fulfilment and finds its completion in an encounter with the opposite sex.23 4.1.2. Have you come: The fact of the presence of the person in question so as to anticipate the further words (i.e. without coercion), therefore coaxing the contrary. In other words, the person has not been brought or been sent. That the coming of the person is not by chance, unintentional or unconscious. And is aware of what is about to happen and take place in his/her life. 4.1.3. Here: The fact of temporality of presence. The Marriage is to be celebrated in the parish of one or other of the engaged persons, or elsewhere with the permission of the proper Ordinary or proper Parish Priest.24 Marriage is to be celebrated in any Church or Oratory with due permission of the Parish Priest. The local Ordinary can allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.25 4.1.4. To enter into marriage: The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.26 Also inclusive of the understanding of marriage as stated in the introduction and also in Exegesis of the following question. 4.1.5. Without coercion: No one can be held (fully) responsible for something s/he did under coercion.27 Anyone who overlooks the conscience of a person, ignores it and uses coercion, violates that person’s dignity.28 The spouses should enjoy the two-fold freedom namely, from within and from the external forces.29 Thus, including fear, constraint, duress, as well as reservation of mind (and so forth). 23 Michael Miller, trans., Youcat, ibidem, p. 47. cf. Codex Iuris Canonici (C.I.C.), can. 1115, ibidem, p. 248. 25 cf. can. 1118, ibidem, p. 249. 26 cf. Codex Iuris Canonici (C.I.C.), can. 1055 § 1, ibidem, p. 237.; cf. Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Gaudium et Spes (G.S.), Pastoral Constitution on Church in the Modern World, ibidem, n. 48 § 1. 27 cf. Michael Miller, trans., Youcat, ibidem, p. 167.; cf. Fr. Donato Rodrigues, “Fundamental Moral Theology”, unpublished lecture notes, Faculty of Moral Theology, Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, ps. 7-8. 28 Ibidem, p. 171. 29 Dr. Fr. Nelson Sequeira, “Marriage Law”, unpublished lecture notes, Faculty of Canon Law, Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, ps. 3-4. 24 4.1.6. Freely: The Catechism of the Catholic Church expounds this concept when it states that: ‘The unity of marriage, […] must be accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection.’30 While keeping in mind the above stated meaning, in the Code of Canon Law (1983), there are 12 diriment impediments which invalidate the marriage. Impediments of natural law cannot be dispensed. However, the Local Ordinaries can dispense from the impediments defined by Ecclesiastical Law except those reserved by the Holy See.31 The third connotation that we can derive from this word could also imply the use of the faculty of freewill. Freedom is a God-given power to be able to act of one’s own accord; one does not act under any influence. God created us as free people and willed our freedom, so that we might decide in favour of the good.32 4.1.7. And wholeheartedly: One might almost bring to mind the ancient prayer of Israel and the Jews: ‘You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.’33 in order to incite and draw meaning of wholeheartedness. But this cannot be applied here in marriage (as the text is intended as to only be applied to God), except analogously. Secondly, wholeheartedly could also mean ‘of your own accord’, with your whole self and not with only mind or only heart, but in the fullness of both. This does definitely does not imply a one-time event. Vatican Council II insisted that a Christian marriage is a whole life-long journey to sanctity.34 Later, St. Pope John Paul II, reinforced this aspect.35 4.1.8. I have: The Bride and Bridegroom, both respond separately. The affirmation received from both will rely back upon the catechesis given to them in their preparation for marriage. Based on the understanding given to them, they will 30 Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.), n. 1645, ibidem, p. 368. Fr. Dr. Nelson Sequeira, “Marriage Law”, ibidem, p. 6. 32 cf. Fr. Dr. Donato Rodrigues, “Fundamental Moral Theology”, unpublished lecture notes, Faculty of Moral Theology, Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, ps. 5-7. 33 The Shema Israel. cf. Deuteronomy 6:5 34 cf. Fr. Dr. Donato Rodrigues, “Fundamental Moral Theology”, Ibidem, p. 5.; cf. Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Lumen Gentium (L.G.), Dogmatic Constitution on The Church, ibidem, n. 41.; cf. Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Gaudium et Spes (G.S.), Pastoral Constitution on Church in the Modern World, ibidem, ns. 47-52. 35 Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 22nd November 1981, n. 34. 31 respond affirmatively with those very same notions in mind. (Therefore, we can also know and need to understand the importance of proper Catechesis for couples entering into marriage.) 4.2. Are you prepared, as you follow the path of Marriage, to love and honour each other for as long as you both shall live? (This question is mainly directed to indicate fidelity within marriage) The bridegroom and bride each say: I am. Fidelity (bonum fidei): Fidelity within marriage and abstinence outside it, are the best ways to avoid infection and to halt the spread of the virus. Indeed, the values that flow from an authentic understanding of marriage and family life constitute the only sure foundation for a stable society.36 It is a decision to remain faithful to one’s partner with whom one has established marital covenant. It is a grace which is continually to be sought for and consciously chosen. It is neither a matter of spontaneity or chance, but a firm and conscious decision. 4.2.1. Are you prepared: In other words, the bride and groom is being asked whether they have taken necessary measures to understand the unity of unity, its rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities that it entails. It also brings forth the awareness of the Catechesis that is required and the marriage preparation course that Dioceses conduct for couples wanting to enter into marriage. Surely, it also includes the aspect for having duly fulfilled the Pre-nuptial procedures. 4.2.2. As you follow the path of Marriage: Marriage itself is not an event but an ongoing journey of union aimed at its union of perfection (towards sanctity). It is a path to holiness.37 The married life is a shared life. Marriage commitment must be a lifetime dedication (consortium totius vitae).38 Marriage is an intimate communion of life and love.39 So much so that, in the Vatican Council II documents, these words have very often been used synonymously. 40 Inclusive of all the above stated meanings of marriage. 36 Michael Miller, trans., Youcat, ibidem, p. 225.; Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to The Ambassador of The Kingdom of Lesotho, 14th December 2006. 37 cf. Austin Flannery ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Lumen Gentium (L.G.), Dogmatic Constitution on The Church, ibidem, n. 11. 38 De Bekkar & Taylor, Parish Priests and Marriage Cases, (Bangalore: Theological Publication in India, 1980), p. 31. 39 cf. Austin Flannery ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Gaudium et Spes (G.S.), Pastoral Constitution on Church in the Modern World, ibidem, n. 48 § 1. 40 Mendes, Rev. Fr. Socorro. "The Elements of Conjugal Love and The Gradual Development of its Theological Meaning in the Post Conciliar Period." Rome, 2013, p. 290. 4.2.3. To love: We are reminded that, marriage is intended before all else for the perfection of the couple’s love.41 To love, couldn’t perhaps be summarised in better words than in the words of St. Paul: Love is patient; love is kind; love is not jealous; love is not boastful, or puffed up or rude; it does not insist on its rights, it does not take offence, it does not plan evil, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It puts up with everything, it believes everything, it hopes everything, endures everything. Love never fails.42 4.2.4. And honour: The unity of marriage, distinctly recognized by our Lord, is made clear in the equal personal dignity which must be accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection.43 It is not only now that the Church as expressed, spoken and encouraged the equality aspect in marriage, but over the centuries, even in the Council of Trent stated that the rights of husbands and wives were made equal.44 Furthermore, in the Scriptures itself we find the very basis for such equal footing in a marital covenant.45 4.2.5. Each other: Marriage is not about others neither about one’s self only. Divorce separates what God has joined together46. Polygamy as well as extra marital sexual relations contradict the very unity of marriage.47 The sacramental covenant of marriage excludes and eliminates all that negates the unity intended towards the union of a married couple and their fidelity towards each other. 4.2.6. For as long as you both: It is an indefinite period of time. This phrase expresses an interdependent relationality. Jesus too said, “children of this world take wives and husbands, but […] in the resurrection they do not marry”.48 In physical, emotional, spiritual, financial and all other states of life, whether high or low. 41 Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation on The Family, Amoris Laetitia, n. 89; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.), n. 1641, ibidem, p. 367. 42 1 Corinthians 13;4-8. 43 cf. Austin Flannery ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Gaudium et Spes (G.S.), Pastoral Constitution on Church in the Modern World, ibidem, n. 49. 44 Jacques Dupuis, ed., Christian Faith, n.1839, (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2014), p. 777. Pope Leo XIII, Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae, 10th February 1880, n. 14. 45 cf. Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19. 46 Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.), n. 1664, ibidem, p. 372.; cf. Austin Flannery ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Gaudium et Spes (G.S.), Pastoral Constitution on Church in the Modern World, ibidem, n. 50 § 1. 47 Fr. Dr. Nelson Sequeira, “Marriage Law”, unpublished lecture notes, Faculty of Canon Law, Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, p. 17. 48 cf. Luke 20: 34-36. 4.2.7. Shall live: God Himself forms the bond of sacramental marriage; it is binding until the death of one of the partners.49 The partnership ceases with the cessation of one of the parties. It is an echo of the often heard saying, ‘until death do us apart’. 4.2.8. I am: By affirming to the question, the spouses, agree, in today’s fast-changing and mesmerizing world, to resist its offers and to take up the challenge that entails married life. It is not a mere question of fidelity but also that of loyalty, faithfulness, endurance and forbearance. *[The following question may be omitted if circumstances suggest this, for example, if the couple is advanced in years.] 4.3. Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and His Church? (This question is directed to indicate openness and responsibility towards children) The bridegroom and bride each say: I am. Procreation and upbringing (Bonum Prolis): The 1917 Code of Canon Law outlines a single end of marriage, and although there have been changes in the understanding of the ends in marriage, yet, both, the old as well as the present 1983 Code of Canon Law have been consistent in maintaining that procreation and upbringing of children is undeniably an end in marriage. 50 4.3.1. Are you prepared: The prepared in question here is with regards to new life and its nurture and care. It is a responsibility towards a gracious and benevolent gift of God. (For other nuances and similarities, kindly refer to exegesis 4.2.1. stated above.) 4.3.2. To accept children lovingly: The good that comes from the communion of the spouses results into new life. The fruit of the communion between spouses i.e. children is purely only by the will of God.51 The refusal of fertility turns married life away from its "supreme gift," the child.52 This also calls due attention that needs to be given, once again, to the catechising of the couple regarding their consummation, contraception, Natural Family Planning, etc. 49 Michael Miller, trans., Youcat, ibidem, p. 149. Fr. Dr. Nelson Sequeira, “Marriage Law”, ibidem, ps. 1 & 3.; cf. 1917 & 1983 Codex Iuris Canonici (C.I.C.) 51 Fr. Dr. Nelson Sequeira, “Marriage Law”, ibidem, p. 3. 52 Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.), n. 1664, ibidem, p. 372.; cf. Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II, vol. I, Gaudium et Spes (G.S.), Pastoral Constitution on Church in the Modern World, ibidem, n. 50 § 1. 50 4.3.3. From God: We find in the Old Testament, that with regards to family and childbearing, God often intervenes on behalf of the childless.53 God’s love is as creative as God is, so also the love between spouses, because from marriage new life comes forth.54 4.3.4. Bring them up according to: We are well aware that most of what we are as we grow up is what we have imbibed and learnt as children from our family members at home. Therefore, parents are the first and main educators of children.55 They have the first and inalienable duty and right to educate their children.56 An ideal parent cannot but be oblivious, neither shun away this right, responsibility and more so a privilege. 4.3.5. Law of Christ: The law of a Christian is Christ Himself. It is an ideal of conformity with Christ through the exercise of the Christian virtues (theological and cardinal)57 and the worthy reception of the sacraments. The point of departure may not be merely the decalogue, but the whole of the message of the Christ event. The Catholicism has ought to be inculcated within the growing child to the best possible extent of one’s capacity. 4.3.6. And His Church: The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason, the family home is rightly called "the domestic Church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.58 In other words, to allow the child to grow under the governance of the Ecclesial law. 4.3.7. I am: Conception, pregnancy, childbearing, birth and upbringing of a new life until they are independent, is remotely an easy task. It calls for sheer determination, openness, strength, endurance, forgiveness and most importantly love. In spouses in this third question before they consent to each other to marriage, set before themselves a major role/task, a challenge and an ideal, to which they affirm. 53 cf. Matthew Levering, Engaging the Doctrine of Marriage, ibidem, p. 467. cf. Michael Miller, trans., Youcat, ibidem, p. 48. 55 Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II, Gravissimum Educationis, Declaration on Christian Education, 28 October 1965, n. 3. 56 Ibidem, n. 6. 57 Edwin Kaiser, trans., The Law of Christ, vol. I, (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 1973), p. vii-viii. 58 Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.), n. 1666, ibidem, p. 372. 54 5. Conclusion: In the secular world today, people often question the meaning of marriage, and so, are hesitant to impose any limits on the form of a wedding. In some places, civil authorities will even permit couples to write their own vows, which can be open-ended or loaded down with qualifications to suit the preferences, fears, and eccentricities of each party to the contract. Catholic liturgy cannot and does not proceed that way.59 The Church—in every place and in every age—professes a common faith, a certain faith, a particular faith, which includes a clear doctrine of marriage. The Catechism of the Catholic Church predominantly refers to the celebration of Marriage as a Covenant. Now, though there may be some vestiges of the term ‘contract’ in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, liturgists and theologians engaged in preparing the New Marriage Rite have made sure that the New Rite does not bear a single trace of the term ‘contract’.60 The Sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church.61 Christian marriage, therefore, becomes an efficacious sign, the Sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church.62 The exegesis of the 3 questions before the consent that we have studied together, is like a short (though not exhaustive) anthology of the Church’s teaching regarding the Sacrament of Marriage. 59 Cardinal Donald Wuerl, The Marriage God Wants for You, ibidem, p. 79. Mendes, Rev. Fr. Socorro. "The Elements of Conjugal Love and The Gradual Development of its Theological Meaning in the Post Conciliar Period." ibidem, p. 290. 61 Catechism of the Catholic Church (C.C.C.), n. 1661, ibidem, p. 372.; cf. Jacques Dupuis, ed. Christian Faith, Council of Trent, n. 1806, ibidem, p. 768.; cf. Ephesians 5:21-33. 62 Ibidem, n. 1617, p. 362.; cf. Ibidem, n. 1800, p. 768.; cf. 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