Why Marry in the Catholic Church?
Getting married in the Catholic Church is important because you believe that Jesus Christ is God’s love revealed in human flesh, and that today Christ is embodied in the gathering of his followers—what we call the Church.
The Church believes that a marriage between two baptised Christians is a sacramental marriage, provided it is entered into in accord with the teachings of the Church. Such a marriage has supernatural as well as natural dimensions. By celebrating marriage sacramentally, you are uniting yourselves not only with one another, but with Christ. You are enlivening your marriage with God’s love, which never runs out (CCC 1641-1642).
When you actively invite Christ into your marriage, he will always be there to renew and deepen the love between you and your spouse. He will give you both the strength to confront the inevitable difficulties that life will bring.
Whilst a marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptised person is not sacramental, the Church still considers that such a marriage can be valid and good. St Paul wrote: “The unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband.” (1 Cor 7:14)
Won’t God be present anyway?
Some couples view marriage in the Church as unnecessary because they believe that God will be present at their wedding whether it is witnessed by the Church or not. It is true that wherever there is love, God is present. But just as you want those friends and family who love you to come to your wedding, God wants all those who love him to worship him together, united by their love for him—not as individuals separated from one another (CCC 781).
Catholics believe that Christ gathered his friends together for this purpose; this gathering, or assembly, is the Church (CCC 764). Christ promised that he would be present in this gathering of believers (Matthew 18:20, 28:20).
It is through the Church that God has chosen to love us in tangible ways. In the Church, we hear the words of Christ spoken through the proclamation of the Scriptures; we encounter Christ in one another through the common worship of the assembly; we even enter into communion with Christ through the Eucharist (CCC 1088).
In short, to have a Catholic wedding is to invite Christ to your wedding, just as that couple from Cana once did—with wonderful and unexpected results.