The Inseparability of Sacrament with Contract
- Posted by Mary's Advocates
- On June 5, 2012
- contract, Pope Pius IX
Fr. David Sereno, from the Diocese of San Diego, has a doctorate in canon law. He graduated from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome summa cum laude. He provided to Mary’s Advocate background research emphasizing that Catholic sacramental marriages can never be separated from civil marriage contracts.
In an e-mail interview with Bai Macfarlane on June 5, 2012, Fr. Sereno offered a straightforward breakdown of the quote from Pope Pius IX, from September 27, 1852, in the allocution “Acerbissimum.”
Fr. Sereno’s breakdown of quote from Pope Pius IX:
- that the marriage contract and the sacrament of marriage are inseparable
- therefore, that the marriage contract among the Christian baptized cannot be considered as a civil contract alone.
- therefore, that marriage cases of the baptized should not all be deferred to the civil court.
- therefore, the mere civil marriages of the baptized, whom have not also married in the Church, are in reality no marriage at all, and thus are null, rendering those unions obviously mere living together unions.
The Inseparability of the Sacrament of Matrimony with the Marriage Contract
by Fr. David Sereno J.C.D.
The inseparability of the Sacrament of Matrimony with the Marriage contract between two baptized persons of different sex is a doctrinal statement held and defended by the Ordinary Church Magisterium and contained in c. 1055 2 CIC17 and c. 1012 §22 CIC83. In the collection “Leges Ecclesiae” by Ochoa there exist no decision of the Holy Office in April 1952 regarding this issue and the American Bishops. That, however, does not mean either that such a decision does not exist or that the Ordinary Magisterium does not hold the inseparability of the Sacrament of Matrimony and the marriage contract. In his Apostolic Letter “Ad Apostolicae” of August 22, 1851, Pius IX enumerates the following statements as an erroneous and needing to be rejected about the Sacrament and contract of marriage (note 1) :
On Setember 27, 1852, Pius IX in the allocution “Acerbissimum”, n. 3, writes to the Bishops of the ecclesiastical region of New Granada (Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama), the following regarding the civil legislation of that region enacted the previous year, which legislation was contrary to Church law (note 2) :
This same doctrine was asserted by Pius IX on September 9, 1852, in “La lettera”: “é domma di fede essere stato elevato il matrimonio da N.S. Gesu Cristo all dignitˆ di Sacramento, ed dottrina della Chiesa cattolica che il sacrameto non una qualita accidentale aggiunta al contratto …“. Pius IX also condemns the civil law established in the province of Umbria, Italy, which usurped the Church’s domain in Marriage (Multis gravibusque, 17 dec. 1860, n. 3).
There are other documents that are pertinent, among which Leo XIII’s Encyclical “Arcanum” of February 10 1880 is probably the most important. The entire Encyclical is dedicated to the Sacrament of Matrimony. Even as “Arcanum” states the inseparability (n. 12) and points out the evils of civil divorce (nn. 16-19), it strikes a note of cooperation with the civil authorities for the protection of marriage (nn. 25-26). The statement concludes with the formula “quin sit eo ipso sacramentum”, which is the formula used in the 1917 codification and its revision in 1983. Here is the statement about the inseparability (note 3) .
More Church document supporting not only this teaching of the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church but also this universal discipline of the Church are found in the annotated edition of the Code of Canon Law, promulgated in 1917, for canon 1055 §22 (CIC17) by Cardinal Gasparri.
It is clear that Thomas Sanchez (beginning of 17th century) wrote that the marriage contract and the Sacrament were identified together inasmuch as the matter and form of the Sacrament of Matrimony are founded in the very contract, because this shows how the persons contracting marriage are also the ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony (note 4) . Furthermore, writing on the sacramentality of Matrimony contracted by procurator, Thomas Sanchez plainly says that the marriage contract and the sacrament of Matrimony are “the same in number and in reality, and only differ with diverse considerations” (note 5) . These statements, for all practical purposes, are the equivalent of saying that the contract and the sacrament are inseparable. Closer to our times are the authors Franciscus Werz and Petrus Vidal (20th century). They plainly state that “the marriage contract, having been celebrated by the faithful baptized, is essential to the Sacrament of Matrimony, so much such that nothing comes between the contract and the Sacrament, and no true marriage is celebrated among Christians that is not equally a Sacrament of the Church” (note 6) . These are many important authors after the Council of Trent and up to our times that support the inseparability of the marriage contract from the Sacrament of Matrimony.
“Nulla ratione ferri posse Christum evexisse Matrimonium ad dignitatem Sacramenti; matrimonii Sacramentum non esse nisi quid contractui accessorium, ab eoque separabile, ipsumque Sacramentum in una tantum nuptiali benedictione situm esse: iure naturae Matrimonii vinculum non esse indissolubile, etc.”
“Nihil dicimus de alio illo decreto, quo Matrimonii Sacramenti mysterio, dignitate, sanctitate omnino despecta, eiusque institutione, et natura prorsus ignorata, et eversa, atque Ecclesiae in Sacramentum idem potestate penitus spreta, proponebatur iuxta iam damnatos haereticorum errores, atque adversus catholicae Ecclesiae doctrinam, ut matrimonium tamquam civilis tantum contractus haberetur, et in variis casibus divortium proprie dictum sanciretur, omnesque matrimoniales causae ad laica deferrentur tribunalia, et ab illis iudicarentur; cum nemo ex Catholicis ignoret, aut ignorare possit, matrimonium esse vere, et proprie unum ex septem Evangelicae legis Sacramentis a Christo Domino institutum, ac propterea inter fideles matrimonium dari non posse, quin uno eodemque tempore sit Sacramentum, atque idcirco quamlibet aliam inter Christianos viri et mulieris, praeter Sacramentum, coniuctionem cuiuscumque etiam civilis legis vi factam nihil aliud esse nisi turpem atque exitialem concubinatum ab Ecclesia tantopere damnatum, ac proinde a coniugali foedere Sacramentum separari nunquam posse, et omnino spectare ad Ecclesiae potestatem ea omnia decernere, quae ad idem Matrimonium quovis modo possunt pertinere.”
“Nec quemquam moveat illa tantopere a Regalistis praedicata distinctio, vi cuius contractum nuptialem a sacramento disiungunt, eo sane consilio, ut, Ecclesiae reservatis sacramenti rationibus, contractum tradant in potestaem arbitriumque principum civitatis. – Etenim non potest huiusmodi distinctio, seu verius distractio, probari; cum exploratum sit in matrimonio christiano contractum a sacramento non esse dissociabilem; atque ideo non posse contractum verum et legitimum consistere, quin sit eo ipso sacramentum.”
SANCHEZ, T., De matrimonio, Venetiis 1607, lib. 2, disp. 6, n. 4: “quia oportuit materiam et formam [sacramenti] in ipso contructu constitui, contractus autem fieri non potest nisi per contrahentium consensus”.
SANCHEZ, T., De matrimonio, lib. 2, disp. 11, n. 27: “Quarta, quia matrimonium, ut contractus, et ut sacramentum, est idem numero, et realiter, et tantum differt penes diversos respectus, quia ut respicit vinculum contrahentium, dicitur contractus, ut autem elevator a Deo ad repraesentandum unionem Christi cum Ecclesia, dicitur sacramentum, ergo utroque modo debet habere eandem materiam, formam, et causas agentes, et proinde si potest, ut contractus celebrari per procuratorem, poterit etiam, ut sacramentum”.
WERNZ, F. ÐVIDAL, P., Ius Canonicum, Romae 1946, t. 5 (ius matrimoniale), pars 1, cap. 1, art. 2, p. 50: “Quin immo contractus matrimonialis a fidelibus baptizatis celebratus adeo essentialis est sacramento matrimonii, ut nihil intersit inter contractum et sacramentum, nullumque verum inter christianos celebretur matrimonium, quod not sit pariter Ecclesiae sacramentum”.