Matrimony, or Christian marriage, is one of the sacraments of the Catholic church. Sacraments are faith-filled acts during which the Catholic church and other Christian churches believe the power of God is present with Christian believers. Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Anointing the Sick are the seven sacraments. Each sacrament has certain religious symbolism important to its practice.
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The Saint Barnabas Roman Catholic Church points out that Christian marriage is distinct from other sacraments because it is conferred by each spouse onto the other. Ceremonial reciting of vows is part of this process of couples joining together in matrimony. This may include personal statements from one to the other, along with vows common to most Christian marriages during which each person recites commitment to the marriage.
Rings are a major symbol in a Christian marriage used to convey unity and to serve as a tangible reminder to each spouse of the marital commitment. Typically, during the matrimonial ceremony, the officiant directs each person to present a ring as they recite their vows. It is the physical symbol to coincide with the verbal expression of love and faithful commitment to the marital union.
Though many Americans refer to a church wedding as a general concept of having a traditional, large wedding in a church, the church serves as an important religious symbol to the Catholic Church and other Christian church denominations. Saint Barnabas indicates that holding a wedding in a church building demonstrates the couple's faithful commitment to a Christian marriage and it shows an outward sign of that commitment before invited family and friends.
A final blessing is common in many marriages, but it holds special significance as a symbol in the Catholic church's sacrament of matrimony. When the priest, recognised by the Catholic church as the head of the church, gives his final blessing to the couple and in marriage, he essentially degrees the marriage valid and worthy in the eyes of God and the church. This final blessing, traditionally, symbolises why the church abhors divorce.
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