The objective of the Office of Marriage & Family Life is to build up the Body of Christ by promoting an authentic, Catholic vision of marriage and family life. We offer programs for marriage preparation, marriage enrichment, marriage intervention and natural family planning, which reflects our vision. Each year in October we celebrate marriage anniversaries of 25, 50 and longer at the Marriage Jubilee Mass.
What Is Marriage
? Fom Marriage: Love & Life in the Divine Plan, A Pastoral Letter by the Catholic Bishops of the United States
Click links at left for the full letter or the Abridged Version
Marriage is a natural institution established by God the Creator. It is a permanent, faithful, fruitful partnership between one man and one woman, established by their free mutual consent. It has two purposes: the good of the spouses, called the unitive purpose, and the procreation and education of children.
Marriage is not merely a private institution. It is the foundation of the family, where children learn values and virtues that make them good Christians as well as good citizens. Marriage is important for the upbringing of the next generation, and therefore it is important for society.
Men and women are equal as persons. As male and female, they are two different ways of being human. These differences relate them to each other in a total and complementary way. They make possible a unique communion of persons in which spouses give themselves and receive each other in love. This communion of persons has the potential to bring forth human life and thus to produce the family. No other relationship symbolizes life and love as marriage does.
The two purposes of marriage are inseparable; they are two aspects of the same self-giving. The unitive purpose of marriage means that husband and wife participate in God’s own self-giving love. The two become one flesh, giving mutual help and service to each other through their intimate union.
The procreative purpose recognizes that married love is by its nature life-giving. The children who result from this union are the supreme gift of marriage. Some couples experience the tragedy of infertility and may be tempted to think that their union is not complete; however, it remains a distinctive communion of persons.