Arcanum, Encylical on Christian Marriage
- Posted by Mary's Advocates
- On February 10, 1880
19. Marriage has God for its Author . . . . is holy by its own power, in its own nature, and of itself, it ought not to be regulated and administered by the will of civil rulers, but by the divine authority of the Church. . .
20. Next, the dignity of the sacrament must be considered, . . . it is plainly absurd to maintain that even the very smallest fraction of such power has been transferred to the civil ruler.
23. Let no one, then, be deceived by the distinction which some civil jurists have so strongly insisted upon – the distinction, namely, by virtue of which they sever the matrimonial contract from the sacrament, with intent to hand over the contract to the power and will of the rulers of the State. . . A distinction, or rather severance, of this kind cannot be approved; for certain it is that in Christian marriage the contract is inseparable from the sacrament, and that, for this reason, the contract cannot be true and legitimate without being a sacrament as well. For Christ our Lord added to marriage the dignity of a sacrament; but marriage is the contract itself, whenever that contract is lawfully concluded.
24. Neither, therefore, by reasoning can it be shown, nor by any testimony of history be proved, that power over the marriages of Christians has ever lawfully been handed over to the rulers of the State.
29. Truly, it is hardly possible to describe how great are the evils that flow from divorce.
39. . . . marriage was not instituted by the will of man, but, from the very beginning, by the authority and command of God; . . . Christ, the Author of the New Covenant, raised it from a rite of nature to be a sacrament, and gave to His Church legislative and judicial power with regard to the bond of union. On this point the very greatest care must be taken to instruct them, lest their minds should be led into error by the unsound conclusions of adversaries who desire that the Church should be deprived of that power.