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The Catholic Church distinguishes between a legal marriage and the Sacrament of Matrimony. Marriage is regulated by the civil government which has certain rules that make it legal. Being legally married in the eyes of the government doesn’t necessarily mean that two people have necessarily participated in the Sacrament of Matrimony. The Sacrament of Matrimony means becoming husband and wife through a sacred covenant with God and each other. But the legal marriage is a union that’s recognized by the state alone
Because marriage is a vocation and a sacrament, marriage imparts a special grace that gives the recipients the strength and the ability to assume and fulfill all the duties and responsibilities of Christian marriage. Three elements are required for a marital union to be a valid sacrament. The participants must enter the Sacrament of Matrimony with the intention that their union will be
PERMAMENT UNTO DEATH.
FAITHFUL, WITHOUT ADULTERY.
FRUITFUL, OPEN TO THE POSSIBILTY OF CHILDREN IF IT IS GOD'S WILL.
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