Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

October 24, 2008

Learning More about Marriage


How well do you and your students know the history of the Sacrament of Matrimony? Use this True or False "test" from the Marriage and Holy Orders: Your Call to Love and Serve as a way to test yours and their knowledge. Answers follow at the bottom of this post.

A Brief History of Marriage
Mark each of the following statements T for true or F for false.

__ Marriage was never considered an institution established by God—that is, something natural and good on its own—until the second or third century AD.

Jesus restored the ideal of marriage—two people becoming one.

__ Christian marriage is modeled on the relationship between Christ and the Church.

From earliest days, the Church discouraged using the customs of local cultures—for example, exchange of rings, processions, bridal veils, dowries— in the celebration of Christian marriage.

__ In the fifth century, St. John Chrysostom taught that marriage is not an obstacle to salvation, that God established marriage for the procreation of children; and that marriage is a means of salvation for the couple.

According to St. Ambrose, marriage is good because God creates it and that it offers three good things: (1) the procreation of children; (2) the chastity of the couple and their mutual fidelity; (3) an indissoluble union.

__ By the Middle Ages the Christian wedding ceremony had become quite formal, requiring an exchange of vows, the presence of a priest and witnesses, and being performed in a church.

By the twelfth century, the Church formally recognized Marriage as a sacrament that endures until the death of a spouse .

__ The Second Vatican Council declared that the essential element of the sacrament is the exchange of rings.

__ In Christian marriage, a man and woman accept each other in permanent and exclusive union which is open to procreation.



For Enrichment
To extend the discussion on marriage, share the following quote with the students. Have them write their responses and then share them with the large group.

Looking for love? Do you think you need to find your “soul mate” to have a good marriage? If that’s what you think, sorry, but you’re wrong. You’re never going to find your soul mate. Everyone you meet already has soul mates: a mom, a dad, a life-long friend. You get married, then, after years of loving, bearing and raising children, meeting challenges, you’ll have created your soul mate.

What do you think? do you agree or disagree with the above statement?

"Test" Answers
(1) F: Marriage was always (from the beginning of creation) deemed a divinely established state; (2) T; (3) T; (4) F: In fact, the Church generally encouraged employing the customs of local cultures in the celebration of Christian marriage; (5) T; (6) F: The teachings are from St. Augustine not St. Ambrose; (7) T; (8) T; (9) F: Vatican Council II declared that the essential element of the sacrament is the couple’s mutual consent; (10) T.

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