THE MARRIAGE SACRAMENT
The matrimonial covenant, by which a couple establishes between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by it nature ordered toward the good of the spouses; this covenant between persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
For us, The Vocational Mystery of Marriage is considered to be more than a natural institution. It was elevated by Christ Himself, in His participation in the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), to be one of the seven Mysteries of the Church. A marriage between two spouses, therefore, has a supernatural element as well as a natural one.
The ministers of the Mystery of Marriage are the spouses themselves, because of the mark - the visible sign - of the Mystery is not the wedding Mass, but the marriage contract itself. This does not mean the marriage license that the couple receives, but the vows that each spouse makes to the other. As long as each spouse intends to contract a valid marriage, the Mystery (sacrament) is performed.
Paragraph 1601 CC states: “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.”
The Sacrament of Matrimony is theologically defined by the potential of a man and woman to create a new life in the form of offspring. All Sacraments of the Church reflect a strong bias in keeping with producing life in its many forms. The Sacrament of Matrimony was not instituted to give free license to individuals so that they may engage in morally acceptable sexual behavior, nor was it created to become a financial convenience of political law. It was provided as a Sacrament so that mankind might fulfill God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. Because a same-sex union cannot, by virtue of its establishment. The Orthodox Catholic Church feels such a dramatic change in Sacramental definition and validity must come directly from an ecumenical council, as no one bishop or a small gathering of bishops is qualified to redefine Sacramental Theology to this extent. We pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in this matter. We feel the queer community deserves an enlightened answer, which the Orthodox Catholic Church admits it regretfully does not possess at this time.
The effect of the Sacrament is an increase in sanctifying grace for the spouses, participation in the divine life of God Himself.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RITE
While the church as a whole has not agreed on the issue of the Marriage Sacrament for same-sex couples, we recognize that in many jurisdictions, same-sex marriage is legal. It is resulting in the celebration of same-sex marriage rites at many Old Catholic Rite churches across the country, including our own. Also, couples can request gender-neutral marriage rites.
To request clergy for your special day (Sacramento or Rite), please contact us at least nine months before your wedding date.
In addition, we offer Pre-Cana or Marriage Prep courses to help plan for the matrimonial covenant.
Parish clergy may receive honoraria and gifts for baptisms, weddings, quinceañeras, and funerals, but it is important to note that clergy never charges any fees for his or her services. Free-will offerings (The Law of Amra) are often made to him or her or the parish. As given to us by Christ (Matt 10:8), it is sinful, sacrilegious, and rude for any cleric to ask for money while performing his or her sacred ministry.