Religion: The Debate over Catholic Marriage

THE Roman Catholic Church holds that marriage between Christians is more than a social institution or a physical bond. In its view, it is a sacrament: a spiritual union that bestows supernatural gifts on the marriage partners. Moreover, it is indissoluble. As Jesus Christ told the Pharisees, "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder." Divorce, the church concludes, is an evil: civil divorce, but not remarriage, is permitted only to those Catholics who have been allowed to live apart by ecclesiastical courts. For a Catholic who wants to remarry and remain in the church, the only escape from...

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