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Three Requirements

Conjugal love involves the appeal of body and instinct,

the power of feeling and affectivity, the aspirations of spirit and will. All of these aim at a union beyond the flesh, a union of heart and soul. This definitive mutual self-giving demands indissolubility, faithfulness, and openness to children. In this way, natural conjugal love expresses Christian values.

No Longer Two
This community of spouses embraces their entire lives

for "they are no longer two, but one flesh" (Mt 19:6, Gen 2:24). They must continually grow in self-giving. Christ confirms this human communion by the sacrament of Matrimony and deepens it by the Eucharist.

The unity of marriage is made clear when spouses have

an equal personal dignity. Therefore, polygamy is contrary to exclusive and undivided conjugal love.

Fidelity and Indissolubility

Conjugal love requires inviolable fidelity. Love is not

an arrangement "until further notice." Marriage itself and the good of the children demand total fidelity. This teaching is based upon God's fidelity to the Old Covenant and Christ's fidelity to his Church. This indissolubility receives a deeper meaning from the sacrament. Because this seems so difficult, the spouses must hear the Good News of God's irrevocable love for them. They share in this love and witness to God's love by their own fidelity

Separated But Still Married

Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, common life

between the spouses is impossible. The Church permits the spouses to live apart (a physical separation). They are still husband and wife and are not free to remarry. If possible, they should reconcile. In either case, the Christian community must help them to live out their original indissoluble commitment.

New Civil Marriage

Sometimes, spouses divorce and contract a new civil marriage.

This violates Christ's clear words, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mk 10:11-12). Since this situation objectively contradicts God's law, they cannot receive Eucharist. Reconciliation through Penance can be granted only if they live in complete continence (as brother and sister). Many in this situation remain in the Church, practice their faith and bring up their children religiously. They must be encouraged by the parish not to see themselves as separated from the Church. They must persevere in prayer and bring up their children in the Catholic faith, each day imploring God's grace.

Open to Children
Marriage, by its nature, has the goals of the

procreation and education of children (the crowning glory of marriage). "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28). Although having other goals, married love disposes the spouses in a special way to cooperate with the Creator to increase his family. Parents are the first educators of their children, and must give them the fruits of a moral and supernatural life. Marriage and family are at the service of life. Even spouses who cannot conceive can have a conjugal life filled with the fruitfulness of charity and sacrifice.