Q. 1. What is the Catholic definition of a marriage? And how does that definition disqualify same sex marriage?
A. 1. Those are very good questions. First of all, a Catholic marriage is not only a marriage, it is a "Sacramental Marriage" instituted by Christ Himself.
The Cathechism of the Catholic Church defines a marriage, called a "matrimonial covenant" as follows:
"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament." (Rev 19:7, 9; cf. Gen 1:26-27.) [C.C.C. # 1601]
This teaching is reinforced in the following Canon Law.
"A valid marriage between the baptized is... ...called ratum et consummatum if the spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh." [Canon Law # 1061 §1]
The following highlights the definition of a Catholic marriage:
a. The matrimonial covenant (marriage) was instituted by Jesus Himself.
b. The matrimonial covenant is between a man and a woman as intended by God.
c. The matrimonial covenant embraces the intent of procreation of offspring.
d. The matrimonial convenant involves the "conjugal act" with the aforementioned intent. (See # c)
As can be appreciated from the above, a same sex marriage does not meet the requirements of a Catholic matrimonial covenant. Why? Because it:
- was not instituted by Jesus.
- is not between a man and a woman as intended by God.
- excludes the intent of procreation of offspring.
- excludes the "conjugal act" as defined by the Catholic Church. The "conjugal act" (sexual intercourse) must be between a man and a woman. This excludes any and all sexual activities such as oral sex or anal intercourse, whereas these cannot lead the the procreation of offspring. The absence of the "conjugal act" also excludes the adoption of children.
This condition is no different than the exclusion of a man and a woman who meet some of the above requirements but who use contraception. Such a usage does not consummate a marriage. (To consummate a marriage, you must have complete the sexual intercourse with the intent of having children.)
In conclusion, any religion that marries individuals of the same sex, their actions are contrary to the teachings of the Holy Bible.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church further states:
"A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationship are to be evaluated." [C.C.C. # 2202]