Holy Matrimony

MATRIMONY, HOLY. With regard to the Marriage Laws, the Church and the State are not agreed. The former maintains Holy Matrimony to be a religious ceremony, while the State recognises the legality of mere civil contracts, and allows people to enter into the nuptial state by a civil ceremony. We find the early Fathers distinctly stating that marriage is of a sacred nature. Paley, in his Moral Philosophy, says, "Whether it hath grown out of some tradition of the Divine appointment of marriage in the persons of our first parents, or merely from a design to impress the obligation of the marriage-contract with a solemnity suited to its importance, the marriage-rite, in almost all countries of the world, has been made a religious ceremony; although marriage, in its own nature, and abstracted from the rules and declarations which the Jewish and Christian Scriptures deliver concerning it, be properly a civil contract, and nothing more." It was forbidden in the 4th century during Lent, and so custom and propriety forbid it now during the same season. In the Manual marriages were prohibited in the following seasons:—(a ) Advent to the octave of Epiphany, (b ) Septuagesima to the octave of Easter inclusive, (c ) Rogation Sunday to Trinity Sunday.

The Roman Church has exalted Holy Matrimony into a Sacrament.

The State so far recognises the position of the Church with regard to Holy Matrimony that no clergyman can be forced to marry a divorced person, though he may be obliged to lend his church to any other who will perform the ceremony.