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When did marriage become a sacrament?
Question from colleen on 8/25/2001:

I asked this question a week ago of Father Levis, but now I realize that I should have directed it to you. (Father Levis has not replied.)

A couple of Fridays ago, when the Gospel was about marriage and divorce, our new pastor (fresh from the diocese's marriage tribunal) said that he teaches a 6 month course on marriage at the diocesan pastoral center. He shared some thoughts from his course, beginning with the point that the Church didn't make marriage a sacrament until the 11th century.

Is this true? My husband and I haven't been able to find anything on it. The CCC makes it sound like marriage became a sacrament with Jesus' words to his disciples (above). Is there any documentation that shows the early Church celebrating marriage as a sacrament? Do you have any idea what our pastor might be referring to when he talks about the 11th century?

Thanks for your help.

Answer by Dr. William Carroll on 8/26/2001:

Marriage has always been a sacrament. People like your pastor become confused because "sacrament" as a technical theological term was not developed until the 11th century. But regardless of the term used, marriage was always regarded as it is now, as a holy bond blessed by God and indissoluble, throughout the Church's history. - Dr. Carroll

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