I propose a new form be added to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but for the help of marriages.
There is the Sacrament of Matrimony in which the husband and wife make a covenant to give themselves to each other for their earthly life and in which Grace is given to help the spouses live out their marriage in accordance with God’s plan.
However, there is absolutely no documented sacramental form or means directly available for the reconciliation and strengthening of that matrimonial bond when it has come under attack leading to the loss of Grace and making possible the deconstruction of a marriage which was meant to prosper and bear earthly fruit for the Kingdom of God.
The Baptized go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for their reconciliation with God and for the healing of their individual souls, but marriages are relegated to the general help of the wisdom and support of other couples (sinners who are not ordained ministers) in the parish community.
CHURCH: WAITING UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE TO HELP THE COUPLE?
Why aren’t waning marriages handled through a Sacrament of Reconciliation for Marriages?
Why does the Church, in some cases, ill-prepare couples and then wait until the “shipwreck” of the marriage, stepping in late in a reactionary way (instead of proactive way) with programs like Retrouvaille and the long and painful process of deconstructing what was thought to be an irrevocable marriage bond through the canonical Annulment process?! Far too much damage has been done by this time.
Where is the proactive help which works with young, married couples as they build and strengthen their commitments together – throughout their marriages? Where do couples go to refresh their matrimonial bonds?
LET THE LORD GIVE THE CHURCH A NEW HELP: SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION AND REJUVENATION OF MARRIAGE
I propose a draft outline for the new Matter/Form the married couple, to be added within the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Rejuvenation of Marriage. I do not propose a new Sacrament, but a new form for the healing and strengthening of marriages:
- Sins against the gift of marital unity
- Sins against the gift of marital fidelity
- Sins against the gift of marital fertility
- Act of Contrition unique to the Marriage Covenant and what it means for eternal salvation.
- Absolution for sins committed.
- Mutual recommitment of the couple to their original marriage covenant, witnessed by a priest.
- Blessing of the restatement of the marriage covenant.
- Grace which strengthens the desire for the gift and attainment of deeper marital unity in which the two indeed become one in Christ.
- Grace which heals damage to the gift of the irrevocable marital / conjugal bond.
- Grace which strengthens the prudent and temperate desire for the gift of marital fertility.
Credit for picture: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals, http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/