Marriage and Family

"The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life." (Catechism, 1603).

The Knights of Columbus considers marriage to be the basic building block of every society. Not only does marriage perfect the human love between spouses, it is also the only institution ordained to the procreation and education of children. For these reasons, marriage is recognized in the Church as a sacrament, established by God with its own purpose, shared between Christ and His Bride, the Church. Marriage, according to the Catechism of the Church, “strengthens two partner’s indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (1661).”

The Knights of Columbus thus believes marriage’s fundamental nature is a life-long, indissoluble union between a man and a woman tending toward the fruitful communion of their persons. Marriage is not a mere instrument for the individual self to seek satisfaction in matters pertaining to sex and romance. It involves the total self-giving act of love, revealed to humanity in the form of the Crucified Christ, and inscribed into the nature of the human person as his fundamental and innate vocation. Only through “the personal willingness of the spouses to share their entire life-project, what they have and what they are,” does marriage obtain its fulfillment and perfection (Familiaris Consortio, 19). Children, the precious gift of marriage, are the living reflection of this married love and a permanent sign of the conjugal unity shared between husband and wife. It is no exaggeration, then, to say that marriage is of its very nature responsible for the existence and perpetuation of the Church and of civilization.

With this in mind, the Knights of Columbus confidently supports public policies designed to strengthen marriage and families, and opposes those that disregard its fundamental nature. Our Order reiterates, alongside the Church and all the major cultures of the world, the truth that marriage is not just any human relationship. It is an indispensable institution established by the Creator with its own essential properties, purpose, and nature, and that civil laws are unable to alter.