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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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Matrimony is the seventh Sacrament. It is a sign of the union between 
Christ and the Church. The efficient cause of Matrimony is the mutual 
consent expressed in words effective in the present by the parties.33
Matrimony has a threefold good. The first is the birth of children and the 
educating of them to the worship of God. The second is that fidelity which 
one must render to the other; and the third is that it is a Sacrament, or, 
in other words, the indivisibility of Matrimony which shows forth the 
indivisible union of Christ and His Church.
Concerning Matrimony there are a number of errors. The first is that of 
Tatian, who condemned marriage, and against such it is written: "If thou 
take a wife, thou hast not sinned."34 The second error is that of Jovinian, 
who made marriage equal to virginity. The third is that of the Nicolaitae, 
who mutually exchange their wives. There were also many other heretics who 
taught and worked impurities, and against which are the words of St. Paul: 
"Marriage honorable in all, and the bed undefiled."35

. "This means that the consent is the effective cause of marriage, . . . 
because without the consent and the contract, the obligation and the bond 
cannot exist. . . . God Himself instituted marriage, and, as the Council of 
Trent declares, He made it perpetual and indissoluble. 'What God hath 
joined together, let no man put asunder,' said Our Lord (Matt., xix. 6). It 
belongs to marriage as a natural contract to be indissoluble; but, above 
all, its indissolubility arises from its nature as a Sacrament. This 
sacramental character raises marriage to the highest perfection. Moreover, 
dissolubility of marriage is immediately contrary to the proper education 
of children and to the other advantages of marriage. Holy Scripture 
frequently proposed to us the divine union of Christ and His Church under 
the figure of marriage" ("Roman Catechism," "Matrimony," 11-15).

. Cor., vii. 28.

35. Heb., xiii. 4.

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