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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.
The most important relationship to a Christian should be their relationship with Jesus Christ. Every other relationship is secondary, and not to be put before our Lord, God.And the Church does not hold that the non-Christian confers the sacrament of matrimony on the Catholic spouse either.It is impossible (according to Catholic teaching) that the sacrament can be conferred “halfway,” on one spouse but not on the other!849) both use the same language—baptism is the doorway (ianua in Latin) to the other sacraments. Thomas Aquinas used precisely the same phrase in his Summa Theologiae (III q. (See “Inclusive Language and Baptismal Validity” for a different but related discussion of this basic issue.) This means, obviously, that if a person who has never been baptized attempts to receive another sacrament—like confession or matrimony—he can’t.The non-Christian could go through all the external motions, so that the average onlooker might reasonably conclude that he received the sacrament; but in reality, nothing sacramental would take place.In other words, the sacrament would be conferred on the non-Christian invalidly.(The concept of sacramental validity was discussed in greater detail back in “Marriage and Annulment.”) Consequently, if a non-Christian marries a Catholic, in a Catholic wedding ceremony, the non-Christian spouse is not receiving the sacrament of matrimony.It is conferred by the spouses themselves, who administer it to each other when they exchange their consent.As canon 1057.1 observes, a marriage is brought into being by the lawfully manifested consent of two people who are legally capable of getting married.Since the Church generally recognizes the validity of non-Catholic baptisms, the Baptist spouse would indeed be receiving the sacrament along with the Catholic spouse.But if a Catholic marries a non-baptized person—a Muslim, let’s say—in a Catholic wedding ceremony, and if a Catholic wedding confers the sacrament of matrimony on the two spouses by definition, how can the non-baptized spouse possibly be receiving that sacrament?