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Document Details :
Title: The Spiritual and Pastoral Meaning of the Marital Rite
Author(s): FUCHS, Ottmar
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Date: 2009
The Christian marriage rite possesses a definite meaning that needs to be made clear both theologically and pastorally. Since marriage is considered by Catholics to be a sacrament, this suggests a theological interpretation that radically emphasizes God’s grace in the rite. Such an interpretation then makes possible a new pastoral relationship to those who 'only' request the ecclesiastical sacraments while otherwise keeping their distance from the church as a social reality. For all who participate in it, whether distanced from the church or remaining near, the sacrament of marriage is to be understood pastorally not as a condition-filled requirement, but primarily as a place where the unconditional grace of God may be grasped in God’s promise to support, to develop, and to enable the covenant of marriage. This view has clear implications both for the spirituality of the married couple and for the spirituality of those who perform the church’s pastoral rites.