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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding the
"47 SINS AGAINST
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONY."
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Revision # 1: December 11, 2015. Three additional sins were added: "Basic needs," "Mercy," and the "Sacramental life."

Revision # 2: December 31, 2015. In most instances, where a quote was not involved, the word "marriage" was replaced with the words "the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony."



Q. In the Catholic Church, is there such a thing as a list of sins against the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony?

A. The Catholic Church has not officially compiled such a list. As the same time, it is known that the following sins cry out to Heaven against the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony:

  1. Abandonment. Abandonment, as a sin against the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, is defined as the "abandoning of a child by a parent or both parents," to permanently depart from the child's life, or to give up completely on the child. A child is God's gift to the parents; to abandon a child is to reject God's gift! Children who lose a parent, they have been known to cry themselves to sleep at night. In the eyes of these children, they have been rejected, deprived of the love that they are entitled to receive as a child. Their tears cry out to Heaven, asking why this is happening to them.

  2. Abortion: "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae," [CIC, can. 1398] "by the very commission of the offense," [CIC, can. 1314] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. [CIC, cann. 1323-1324] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society." [C.C.C. 2272]

  3. Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations - even transient ones - they commit adultery. Christ condemned even adultery of mere desire. [Mt 5:27-28] The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery. [Mt 5:32; 19:6; Mk 10:11; 1 Cor 6:9-10] The prophets denounced the gravity of adultery; they saw it as an image of the sin of idolatry. [Hos 2:7; Jer 5:7; 13:27]" [C.C.C. # 2380]

    "Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents' stable union." [C.C.C. # 2381]

  4. Anal intercourse. This is intercourse via the anus, committed by a man with a man or a woman. This action is called "sodomy." This is viewed as sinful in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony because it goes against the law of nature that calls the married couple to procreate.

  5. Artificial insemination: Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children." [CDF, Donum vitae II, 5] "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union... Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person." [CDF, Donum vitae II, 4]" [C.C.C. # 2377]

    "Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other." [CDF, Donum vitae II, 1]" [C.C.C. # 2376]

  6. Basic needs. Parents have an obligation to ensure that the basic needs of their children are met in accordance with the local customs and their financial income. Basic needs consists of food, clean water, clothing, shelter, light, heat, sewage disposal and education (in some countries).

    To neglect these basic needs without cause is to show disrespect towards the human being in which dwells the Holy Spirit. [1 Cor. 3:16] The fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony cannot be achieved when a member of the family suffers due to neglect.

  7. Beastiality. Beastiality involves a sexual relations between a person and an animal. It is also referred to as "sodomy." According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, beastiality falls in the category of "Unnatural carnal sins." Such sins include sodomy, bestiality, masturbation, and any unnatural intercourse between married people (such as using contraceptives, consummated oral or consummated anal intercourse, etc...).

    On the subject of beastiality, the Holy Bible (King James Version) teaches: "Thou shalt not copulate with any beast, neither shalt thou be defiled with it. A woman shall not lie down to a beast, nor copulate with it: because it is a heinous crime." [Lev. 18:23] The penalty for such a crime was death. "He that shall copulate with any beast or cattle, dying let him die, the beast also ye shall kill. The woman that shall lie under any beast, shall be killed together with the same: their blood be upon them." [Lev. 20:15-16]

  8. Bigamy. Bigamy is the act of entering into the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony with one person while still legally married to another. Similarly, polygamy is a matrimonial union which includes more than two partners.

    According to the Catholic Church teaching found in Canon Law # 1055 §1 "The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptised, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."

    In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read, "The predicament of a man who, desiring to convert to the Gospel, is obliged to repudiate one or more wives with whom he has shared years of conjugal life, is understandable. However polygamy is not in accord with the moral law." [Conjugal] communion is radically contradicted by polygamy; this, in fact, directly negates the plan of God which was revealed from the beginning, because it is contrary to the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive." The Christian who has previously lived in polygamy has a grave duty in justice to honor the obligations contracted in regard to his former wives and his children. [C.C.C. # 2387]

  9. Birth Control. The following brief from 'Humanae Vitae' states: 'The encyclical opens with an assertion of the competency of the Magisterium of the Church to decide questions of morality. It then goes on to observe that circumstances often dictate that married couples should limit the number of children, and that the sexual act between husband and wife is still worthy even if it can be foreseen not to result in procreation.' Nevertheless, it is held that the sexual act must 'retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life', and the 'direct interruption of the generative process already begun' is unlawful."

    "Abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, is absolutely forbidden, as is sterilization, even if temporary. Similarly, every action specifically intended to prevent procreation is forbidden. This includes both chemical and barrier methods of contraception. All these are held to directly contradict the 'moral order which was established by God.'"

    "Therapeutic means which induce infertility are allowed (e.g., hysterectomy), if they are not specifically intended to cause infertility (e.g., the uterus is cancerous, so the preservation of life is intended). Natural family planning methods (abstaining from intercourse during certain parts of the woman's cycle) are allowed, since they take advantage of 'a faculty provided by nature.'" [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanae_Vitae]

  10. Child Marriage. ‘Child Marriage’ means a marriage in which either (or both) of the parties involves a child. In most countries, for the purpose of marriage, an individual is considered a child when a male is under the age of 21 or the female is below the age of 18 years.

    Child Marriage is usually arranged by the parents of the child. The children of such arrangements can be as young as seven years old. The reasons for such marriages vary greatly depending on the countries and their tradition. What cannot be denied is that Child Marriage destroys the childhood of the individual.

    Most of the girls either have not attained sexual and physical maturity and they are, therefore, not adapted to the perils that pregnancy poses to the ‘to be’ mother and such a pregnancy may even prove fatal. Young mothers under age 15 are five times more likely to die than women in their twenties due to complications including hemorrhage, sepsis, preeclampsia/ eclampsia and obstructed labour. Maternal mortality amongst adolescent girls is estimated to be two to five times higher than adult women. Maternal mortality amongst girls aged 15-19 years is about three times higher.

    Holy Matrimony, a Sacrament instituted by God, is a lifelong union voluntarily planned between a man and a woman of legal age, they being joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them.

  11. Common-Law relationship. A common-law relationship involves two persons, a male and a female, living together outside of Holy Matrimony. It may involve adultery, whereas one of the two persons is married, or fornication, where both person are unmarried. Either way, those involved in such a relationship are considered to be living in a ongoing life of mortal sin, such denying them the right to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist until such time as they truly and sincerely repent and receive the Sacrament of Confession.

  12. Contracting another marriage. First of all, it should be said that an annulment and a divorce are not the same. An annulment does not disolve a valid marriage. An annulment declares that at the time of the marriage, a condition was lacking in order for the sacrament of Holy Matrimony to be considered valid. In the words of the Catholic Church, by reason of some impediment at the time the ceremony was performed, no real marriage took place.

    In order for a Catholic person to be free to marry again, he (or she) must have obtained an annulment from the Church. To remarry outside the Church after having received a divorce (in accordance with civil law), prior to having received an annulment in accordance with Canon Law, such a person will then find himself in a situation of public and permanent adultery. [C.C.C. # 2384]

    When a person is married a second time prior to having received an annulment, the Catholic Church does not recognize the second marriage. Instead, it views that person as one who is living in adultery. Such a person can no longer receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

  13. Contraception, meaning birth control, it prevents pregnancy (conception) by interfering with the normal process of ovulation through the usage of a device, drug, or chemical agent.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil." [C.C.C. # 2370; Humanae Vitae #14]

  14. Divorce: "The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. [Mt. 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mk. 10 9; Lk. 16:18; 1 Cor. 7:10-ll] He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. [Mt. 19:7-9]"

    "For I hate divorce, says the Lord... So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless." [Malachi 2:16]

    "Between the baptized, "a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death." [C.C.C. # 2382]

    "It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the Sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage." [C.C.C. # 2386]

  15. Dowry, also known as the "bride price," is what is given to the bride's parents by the groom, be it real estate, animals, property or money, as a payment for the bride during the planning of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

    Dowry is unacceptable because it gets in the way of the bride's voluntary commitment to give herself to the groom without outside interference.

  16. Euthanasia: "Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, the sick, the elderly or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable."

    "Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded." [C.C.C. # 2277]

    "Living Wills" that order the withholding of one's basic medical needs, such as food and water, should a person's condition deteriorate to a certain degree, is condemned by the Catholic Church. Such Living Wills are viewed as a request to provide assisted suicide. Any person participating in such an act is committing murder. Both, the person committing suicide and the murderer, risk eternal damnation.

    Euthanasia violently destroys the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

  17. Female infanticide, also known as female homicide, is the killing of a human infant. In some countries, female infanticide is more common than the killing of male offspring, due to sex-selective infanticide. Such is found in China where parents are only allowed one child. Preference is for a male child, first of all to carry on the family name and secondly because a male can work and earn money to support the family while the female is considered a financial burden.

    The Catholic Church rejects the practice of female infanticide because it opposes God's choice of a child for the parents. Parents are expected to accept God's gift of a child, be it male or female, without having to turn to murder in order to obtain one's personal choice of gender. Such a crime is an offense against the Sacrament of Marriage.

  18. Forced Marriage "Forced marriage" is the term used to describe a marital union between a man and a woman in which one or both of the parties is/are married without his or her consent or against his or her will. In most, but not all forced marital unions, it is the female who is forced to participate in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

    The United Nations views forced marriage between a man and a woman as a form of human rights abuse, because it violates the principle of the freedom and autonomy of individuals.

    The Roman Catholic Church deems forced marriage as a ground for granting an annulment. For the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to be valid, both parties must freely give their consent.

  19. Fornication, the carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young. [C.C.C. # 2353]

    The lost of one's virginity prior to being married because of a sexual relationship with someone prior to marriage, even if that person is the spouse to be, offends the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

  20. Gender Selection (Also known as Sex Selection). In 1987, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a negative judgment on sex preselection. Quoting from the "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation (Donum Vitae)":

    "Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. These manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his or her integrity and identity. Therefore in no way can they be justified on the grounds of possible beneficial consequences for future humanity. Every person must be respected for himself: in this consists the dignity and right of every human being from his or her beginning."

    Sex selection, the method by which an offspring can be chosen uses reproductive technologies which attempt to achieve the conception of a child of a particular sex, such leading to the abortion of a child of an unwanted sex. As such, it is condemned by the Catholic Church!

    A newborn is God's Divine gift to the mother. Unknown to us, there is a reason in God's Divine Plan as to why the mother is called to conceive a boy or a girl. To go against God's Divine Plan is to elevate oneself, not only equal to God, but over and above God, by over-ruling his Divine decision. Such is bound to draw the wrath of God.

  21. Homosexuality "refers to relationships between two men or between two women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction towards each other. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has alwasys declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual acts to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved." [C.C.C. # 2357]

    "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual conditions; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." [C.C.C. # 2358]

    "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." [C.C.C. 2359]

  22. Incest "consists of an intimate relations between relatives or in-laws within a degree that prohibits marriage between them. [Lev. 18:7-20] St. Paul stigmatizes this especially grave offense: "It is actually reported that there is immorality among you... for a man is living with his father's wife... In the name of the Lord Jesus... you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh..." [1 Cor. 5:1, 4-5] Incest corrupts family relationships and marks a regression toward animality." [C.C.C. # 2388]

    "Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The offense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing." [C.C.C. # 2389]

  23. Lust "is a disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes." [C.C.C. # 2351]

  24. Masturbation: "By mastubation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. 'Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrisically and gravely disordered action.' The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is essentially contrary to its purpose. For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation is the context of true love is achieved."

    "To form an equitable judgment about the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability." [C.C.C. # 2352]

  25. Mercy. Mercy is a disposition to be kind and forgiving. The virtue of mercy differs from compassion or the feeling of sympathy in putting this feeling into practice with a readiness to assist. It is therefore the ready willingness to help anyone in need, especially in need of pardon or reconciliation.

    Where there is mercy, family separation is non-existent; where there is cruelty, there is a family breakdown.

    Catholic mercy has no boundary! It forgives all sins.*

    * Where violence against a spouse or a child is present, mercy is set aside because in many countries, the law requires intervention in order to protect the life of the victim.

    Let there be mercy where it can be applied!

  26. Murder of the spouse and child(ren). "The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. [Gen 4:10]"

    "Infanticide, fratricide, parricide, and the murder of a spouse are especially grave crimes by reason of the natural bonds which they break. Concern for eugenics or public health cannot justify any murder, even if commanded by public authority." [C.C.C. # 2268]

    Notes: "Infanticide" is the act of killing an infant. "Fratricide" is the act of killing one's brother or sister. "Parricide" is the act of killing one's father, mother, or other close relative.

  27. Non-Sacramental Marriage. This means to marry outside the Catholic Church, usually in a non-Catholic Church, including in front of a Justice of the Peace.

    To understand the full meaning of a "non-Sacramental Marriage," it is necessary for one to understand the meaning of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. For one opposes the other.

    The celebration of marriage between two Catholics normally takes place during the public liturgical celebration of the Holy Mass, because of its sacramental connection with the unity of the Paschal mystery of Christ (Communion). Sacramental marriages confers a perpetual and exclusive bond between the spouses. By its nature, the institution of marriage and conjugal love is ordered to the procreation and upbringing of offspring. Marriage creates rights and duties in the Church between the spouses and towards their children: "entering marriage with the intention of never having children is a grave wrong and more than likely grounds for an annulment."

    The following requirements are necessary for a valid Sacrament of Holy Matrimony:

    - To be a baptized christian,
    - Not closely related to the spouse to be (such as cousins),
    - To be free to marry,
    - Marrying someone of the opposite sex, and
    - To be in good standing with the Church.

  28. Obesity Under this subject, we refer to those who when they are bored, lonely, angry or sad, they turn to eating. Their action is not the result of a genuine bodily hunger. Their " God is their belly." [Phil. 3:19] Their obesity is associated with gluttony as a disordered appetite.

    On this matter, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called "capital" because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia. [C.C.C. # 1866]

    He who uses food (or drink) in such a way as to injure his health or impair the mental equipment needed for the discharge of his [marital] duties, is guilty of the sin of gluttony. The neglect of one's marital duties because of gluttony/obesity is a mortal sin. Over time, extreme increased weight may lead to medical conditions, over and above isolating and alienating the individual from others, such including one's spouse and children.

    Many children, because of embarrassment, have been known to withdraw from their peers because their parents are "fat." This is over and above not wanting to be seen with one or both of their parents because of their over-weight condition.

  29. Paedophilia: "Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The offense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing." [C.C.C. # 2389] (See also Incest, Rape and Prostitution)

  30. Parent of spouse interferring. In brief, the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony "is a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring."

    The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is not a union between a man, a woman and another member of the extended family. While it is admirable that grown up children take responsibility for the care of their aging parent by allowing the mother-in-law or father-in-law to move into their home, such kindness is not a licence for the parents to interfere in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony of their children.

    What God has united in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, let no human being separate or scar because of one's personal opinion.

  31. Pornography: "It consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each others. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immmerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials." [C.C.C. # 2354)

  32. Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays, he sins gravely against himself; he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents. While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure." [C.C.C. # 2355]

  33. Public Scandal brings shame, not only to the individual, but also to the family. Often originating in the media, it exposes one's scandalous actions. Public scandals can involve one's association with a prostitute, the divorce of a well known christian, a parent being charged as a drug pusher, funds being stolen from the Church or one's employer or even filing false income tax returns for the purpose of avoiding tax payments.

    These behaviours, and many more, bring disgrace to the family. It damages the reputation or character of the individual and often his/her family. Public disclosure of immoral or grossly improper behavior hurts every member of the family.

  34. Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and chastity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrisically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." [C.C.C. # 2356]

  35. Refusing the matrimonial duty. In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, we read, "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

    The duty of a married couple is to participate in intercourse with one another whenever it is reasonably asked for. To refuse one's spouse a reasonable request to participate in the act of sexual intercourse is to commit a mortal sin. Both spouses of the Sacramental marriage have a right to intercourse. Such a right was received on the wedding day.

    When a spouse is denied intercourse on an ongoing basis, such can give rise to other sins or severe temptations. Examples of such sins are adultery, masturbation, separation, divorce, anger and/or drunkenness. There are occasions when a spouse can refuse the marital duty. Examples are when the person asking for intercourse is drunk, in the case of illness, when there is danger to an unborn child or similar valid reasons.

    Both partners of the Sacramental marriage should be considerate of the other one's sexual needs. It is inappropriate for one spouse to always have to insist on his marital rights.

    When one partner denies the other the right to intercourse, that person is no longer open to the procreation of children, such action being contrary to a Sacramental marriage as instituted by God. ["Gaudium Et Spes # 48; "Casti Connubii" # 25]

  36. Sacramental life: The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the sacraments as "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is 'dispensed' to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions." [C.C.C. # 1131]

    The fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is achieved when each and every member of the family has received the fullness of the Sacraments to which he or she is entitled to receive in order to effectively participate in the life of the Church.

    Denying the Church Sacraments to a member of the Catholic family, biological or non-biological, intentionally or by neglect, constitutes a grave sin against the divinely ordained means of obtaining supernatural life.

  37. Same sex marriage: Marriage, as instituted by God, is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love. They commit themselves completely to each other and to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world and caring for them. The call to marriage is woven deeply into the human spirit. Man and woman are equal. However, as created, they are different from but made for each other. This complementarity, including sexual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that should be always open to the procreation of children (C.C.C. # 1602-1605).

    Same-sex union contradicts the nature of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony: It is not based on the natural complementarity of male and female; it cannot cooperate with God to create new life; and the natural purpose of sexual union cannot be achieved by a same-sex union. Persons in same-sex unions cannot enter into a true conjugal union. Therefore, it is wrong to equate their relationship to a marriage as defined by God.

    Because of the international abuse of the word "marriage," the Catholic faithful should now refer to the "Sacrament of Marriage" as the "Sacrament of Holy Matrimony." This term preserves from perversion the original intent of God when He instituted the holy union between a man and a woman. It excludes all the unethical unions that are now associated with the word "marriage."

    Same-sex couples may be able to obtain a civil marriage license from a local government or a non-christian church, but they will never be able to obtain a license to the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

  38. Separating and refusing the marriage debt. There are those who interchange the "Marriage Debt" with the "Conjugal Rights" as explained above under "Refusing the matrimonial duty." Refusing the Marriage Debt has nothing to do with denying sex to one's spouse.

    Refusing the marriage debt is observed in two different situations, first during marriages, and then following the separation of the spouses. In the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the spouses have an obligation to financially manage the basic needs of each member of the family. To withhold earned money from one spouse, be it in retaliation for being denied sex, because of limited visitations after separation, as a refusal to pay for the mortgage of the home that houses the children, such actions are mortal sins. They oppose charitable christian behaviour.

  39. Sex Change. In 2000, the Vatican pronounced that transsexualism "does not exist." The document concluded that "sex-change" procedures do not change a person's gender in the eyes of the church. If a person was naturally born a male, he remains a male; if a person was naturally born a female, she remains a female. Catholics who have undergone "sex-change" procedures are not eligible to marry. To undergo a sex change is viewed as sinful in marriage because it goes against the law of nature that calls the married couple to procreate.

  40. Sodomy has its origin in the Book of Genesis of the Holy Bible where it is mentioned that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the behaviour of homosexuality which was viewed as a "deviation." Hence the English word "Sodomy" is used to describe laws associated with sexual "crime against nature", namely anal sex, either homosexual or heterosexual.

    Accordingly, it can be said that any sexual act that is not intended for the creation of new life is viewed in the Catholic Church as sodomy because of its perversion of the gift to bring life.

    Referring to such unnatural acts, Saint Paul states in the Letter to the Romans, "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." [Romans 1:26]

  41. Sterilization involves any medical technique, applied by a male or female, that intentionally leaves a person unable to reproduce. In 1968, Pope Paul VI released the Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, "Human Life"), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.

    Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (Humanae Vitae 14). This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill, and all other such methods.

    Sterilization is condemned by the Catholic Church.

  42. Suicide: "Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of." [C.C.C. # 2280]

    "Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God." [C.C.C. # 2281]

  43. "Therapeutic" Abortion. On July 10, 2009, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement confirming that so called “therapeutic” abortion “has not been and can never be” accepted as Catholic teaching. Numbers 2270 to 2273 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church reinforces this teaching.

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explains that two “very different circumstances” can be involved in some medical treatments aimed at preserving the health of the mother. “On the one hand, an intervention that directly provokes the death of a fetus, sometimes inadequately called ‘therapeutic’ abortion, which can never be licit since it is the direct murder of an innocent human being; and on the other hand an intervention not abortive in itself which can have, as collateral consequence, the death of the child.”

    The condemnation of therapeutic abortion is a condemnation of those who promote that rape is a reason to justify an abortion.

  44. Tubal Ligation. This is a surgical procedure for sterilization in which a woman's fallopian tubes are clamped and blocked, or severed and sealed, either method of which prevents eggs from reaching the uterus for fertilization. Tubal ligation is considered a permanent method of sterilization and birth control.

    Such action opposes Canon Law # 1055 §1 whereas "The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life... and to the procreation and upbringing of children."

    The Catholic Church teaches that "the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth. Equally excluded, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or the woman." [Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Letter, Humanae vitae, n. 14. 1968.]

  45. Vasectomy. This is the surgical procedure for male sterilization and/or permanent birth control. During the procedure, the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner such to prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream. As mentioned under "Tubal Ligation" above, such is condemned by the Catholic Church.

  46. Violence and/or torture against spouse. To many, the violence and torture of one's spouse is known as "Domestic Violence. Such includes any kind of behavior that a person uses, or threatens to use, to control an intimate partner. The two key elements are threat and control. Domestic violence can take various forms.

    On this subject, the Catholic Church teaches, "As pastors of the Catholic Church in the United States, we state as clearly and strongly as we can that violence against women, inside or outside the home, is never justified. Violence in any form" (physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, economic or verbal) "is sinful; often, it is a crime as well.” [United States Catholic Bishops, 'When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women.']

    In "When I Call for Help: A Pastoral Response to Domestic Violence Against Women," the Catholic bishops emphasize that “no person is expected to stay in an abusive marriage.”

    No man, no matter his faith, has a right to abuse his wife, be it honour killing, by stoning, by torture and murder in any form. For God shall avenge the blood of the innocent that cries out to Heaven.

  47. Vitro Fertilization In-Vitro Fertilization involves removing from a woman's ovary a fertilizable ovum and placing it in a petri dish in which a few concentrated drops of sperm are added. Around the fourth day, the fertilized ovum is returned to the woman's womb. Only a small percentage of fertilized ova result in a child being born. The other children are lost or killed.

    Sometimes the ova that are put in the petri dish do not come from a man's wife but from another woman, or the sperm fertilizing his wife's ova comes from another man. Such action results in psychological and legal problems over and above a moral one.

    The Catholic Church considers the practice of In-Vitro Fertilization to be a mortal sin. It is the degrading of the sacred human act where in the sexual act, the man and the woman become one flesh as a vehicle of love in the formation of a new life.


Your sexuality, intended for the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God!

Matrimony "constitutes the only 'place' worthy of the call to existence of a new human being." [Pope Benedict XVI; February 25, 2012]


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