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45. Marriage Consent

1. The effecting cause of matrimony is the consent of theparties making the matrimonial contract, which is a sacramentalcontract as well.

2. This essential consent must be manifested outwardly, bywords if possible, or at least by unmistakable signs.

3. The consent must be expressed in the present tense.Expressions of future agreement may make a betrothal or engagement,but not a marriage.

4. The outwardly manifested consent must express a trueinner will and intention. Consent given falsely or jestingly doesnot make a true marriage.

5. Nor can the consent be secret. There must be witnessesto it. Secret consent of parties to a contract can make a truecontract, but not a true and sacramental marriage. According to theinstitution of Christ, sacraments are to be administered by theChurch. The Church cannot make or abrogate a sacrament; but theChurch can, and indeed must, determine the conditions in which asacrament can be received. The laws of the Church concerningsacraments are, on the one hand, a shield against irreverent use ofmost holy things; on the other hand, these laws consult the truegood of the faithful. Therefore, the Church has decreed most wiselythat the secret consent of parties to a marriage (that is,clandestine marriage) cannot constitute the sacrament ofmatrimony.

"God has no need of men."
St Philip Neri

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"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"God speaks to us without ceasing by his good inspirations."
The Cure D'Ars

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