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Matrimony is an indissoluble bond between a man and a woman, created by human contract and ratified by divine grace. Christian spouses signify and partake of the mystery of that unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and his Church, helping each other attain to holiness in their married life and in the rearing and education of their children. So that the "I do" of the spousese may be a free and responsible act and so that the marriage covenant may have solid and lasting human and Christian foundations, preparation for marriage is of prime importance.
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ's instrument for his Church. This sacrament includes three degrees: episcopate, priesthood and diaconate.
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