"The Marriage at Cana", c. 1500 A.D., by Gerard David, Musée du Louvre, Paris
Excerpts from: "Marriage and Parenthood, the Catholic Idea"
By Rev. Fr. Thomas J. Gerrard, 1911 A.D., Imprimatur
"The state of marriage, therefore, as reflected in the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Church is seen to have the high function not only of procreating human beings to replenish the earth, but also of training them in the higher life
of grace and thus preparing them for the still higher life of glory....
[T]he chief reason for the institution of matrimony was the welfare of the offspring, not merely the existence
of the offspring, but its growth and development, the promotion of all its interests. Therefore it was that God so made man and woman that they should love each other, that they should foster that love and concentrate it on each other by excluding all other
love of the same kind, that they should make it so strong and lasting that only death should be able to bring about a breach of the union.
All this points to the fact that
the marriage bond is a law of nature. It is a mutual agreement by which a man and a woman give themselves to each other until death, and this chiefly for the sake of the highest interest of the children which shall be born to them....
The Church then... sets aside all false modesty and tells them in grave and plain language what their duties are. The first duty is the bringing of children into the world and the educating of them in
the service of God; the second duty is mutual love and service in the companionship of domestic life....
More important, however, is the case where the young man finds the single
life a constant temptation to impurity. Then must he seriously turn his attention to marriage as to his salvation. "It is better to marry than to burn." And it is best of all to marry early, before bad habits are formed. The number of unhappy homes, caused
through youthful indiscretion before marriage, is appalling. It were better therefore to marry, even with poverty in prospect, than to lead a single life continually tempted and perhaps continually falling....
There are three ends for which marriage was instituted, and consequently three reasons which make the marriage act lawful and holy. The first and chief is the begetting of children. The second is the calming of concupiscence,
and consequent avoiding of incontinence. The third is the fostering of conjugal love and affection... ."