Much has been written about marriage from the sociological and psychological point of view and as an object of civil and canon law. But in terms of systematic theology this treatment of marriage as a sacrament may very well be unique. Every effort has been made to keep the text from becoming too academic while at the same time providing the average educated reader with a wealth of original insights into the ""mystery"" of marriage: in creation and as transformed by Christ. Chapters cover sacramental consent, bond, and covenant as well as the quest for the sign. Such thorny problems as the role of faith in the sacrament, marriage with an unbaptized person, the most pressing ecumenical questions and the relationship between the sacrament and contraception are studied in depth. Finally, the ""sacrament of family"" is treated at some length with an eye to its social and redemptive dimensions. An Australian born in 1943, Father Peter J. Elliott majored in history at the University of Melbourne before going on to Oxford to study theology where he was received into the Church. He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in 1973 and worked as assistant pastor in several parishes, becoming well known as a popular religious writer and speaker. He began his doctoral research in Rome in 1984 at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family and, since May 1987, has worked in the Roman Curia as an official of the Pontifical Council for the Family where he deals with the pastoral concerns that occupy him in this book.