The Sacrament of Marriage

The Sacrament of Marriage

JPI 634/826
3 Credits

This course offers a systematic reflection on the sacrament of matrimony, addressing both the concept of sacramentality generally and its relationship to marriage in particular. The Sacrament of Marriage is a privileged point of contact between nature and grace. Christ did not establish a new “outward sign” or a new form for entering into marriage. Instead, he recalled the original truth of creation: “he who made them from the beginning made them male and female . . . ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one . . . therefore what God has joined together let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:4-6). Rather than “adding” something to marriage from outside, Christ reveals the fullness of God’s original plan for marriage and accomplishes this plan through his death and Resurrection. Henceforth, marriage between baptized persons represents and participates in Christ’s spousal love for the Church. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this mystery, the course consists of three parts. Part one provides an overview of the nature and sacramentality of Christian marriage. The second part of the course explores the history of the doctrine of marriage within the Catholic tradition from Augustine through the Second Vatican Council. We will also consider the understanding of marriage in Protestant theology and in the Orthodox Churches. The last part of the course explores some disputed questions and controversies regarding the nature and sacramentality of marriage in light of the theology of John Paul II and in the context of questions surrounding the interpretation of Pope Francis’s Amoris laetitia.

Selected Texts


Nicholas Healy portrait

Nicholas Healy

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Culture
M.T.S. Program Advisor

Dr. Healy teaches and writes in the area of metaphysics, theological anthropology, and sacramental theology. Since 2002 he has served as an editor of the North American edition of Communio: International Catholic Review. He is a founding member of the Academy of Catholic Theology.

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