Recent Posts

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Confusion Concerning The Sacrament of Marriage

A few bullets on the Catholic teaching concerning marriage seem appropriate today.
  • The Catholic Church recognizes marriage between two Catholics married in the Catholic Church. 
  • The Church recognizes Christian marriages witnessed by a Protestant pastor, between two Protestants.
  • The Church does not recognize civil marriage between anyone as valid. Only sacramental marriages, or Christian marriages are recognized. 
  • The Church can convalidate an irregular marriage if both persons involve repent and want to be married in the Catholic Church and live as Catholics. However, if one or the other was married before, no convalidation can occur until the party who was married is given an annulment.
  • If no annulment is given, and until that time, the two must live as brother and sister. 
  • Convalidations are more and more common as people return to the Church later in life.
  • To go to an irregular or civil marriage is to be a witness to something which is not real. So do not do this.
  • Homosexuals and lesbians cannot get married sacramentally, and all those marriages are also invalid, not real.
  • If a Catholic leaves the Church and marries outside the Church in a Protestant ceremony, that marriage is also irregular and invalid. 
  • If a Catholic marries someone who is known to be not baptized, that marriage is not sacramental either.
  • Catholics must be confirmed before getting married.

Can.  1071 §1. Except in a case of necessity, a person is not to assist without the permission of the local ordinary at:
1/ a marriage of transients;
2/ a marriage which cannot be recognized or celebrated according to the norm of civil law;
3/ a marriage of a person who is bound by natural obligations toward another party or children arising from a previous union;
4/ a marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith;
5/ a marriage of a person who is under a censure;
6/ a marriage of a minor child when the parents are unaware or reasonably opposed;
7/ a marriage to be entered into through a proxy as mentioned in  can. 1105.
§2. The local ordinary is not to grant permission to assist at the marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith unless the norms mentioned in  can. 1125 have been observed with necessary adaptation.


Can.  1083 §1. A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage.
§2. The conference of bishops is free to establish a higher age for the licit celebration of marriage.
Can.  1084 §1. Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature.
§2. If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether by a doubt about the law or a doubt about a fact, a marriage must not be impeded nor, while the doubt remains, declared null.
§3. Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of  can. 1098.
Can.  1085 §1. A person bound by the bond of a prior marriage, even if it was not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.
§2. Even if the prior marriage is invalid or dissolved for any reason, it is not on that account permitted to contract another before the nullity or dissolution of the prior marriage is established legitimately and certainly.
Can.  1086 §1. A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid.
§2. A person is not to be dispensed from this impediment unless the conditions mentioned in cann.  1125 and  1126 have been fulfilled.
§3. If at the time the marriage was contracted one party was commonly held to have been baptized or the baptism was doubtful, the validity of the marriage must be presumed according to the norm of  can. 1060 until it is proven with certainty that one party was baptized but the other was not.
Can.  1087 Those in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.
Can.  1088 Those bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute invalidly attempt marriage.
Can.  1089 No marriage can exist between a man and a woman who has been abducted or at least detained with a view of contracting marriage with her unless the woman chooses marriage of her own accord after she has been separated from the captor and established in a safe and free place.
Can.  1090 §1. Anyone who with a view to entering marriage with a certain person has brought about the death of that person’s spouse or of one’s own spouse invalidly attempts this marriage.
§2. Those who have brought about the death of a spouse by mutual physical or moral cooperation also invalidly attempt a marriage together.
Can.  1091 §1. In the direct line of consanguinity marriage is invalid between all ancestors and descendants, both legitimate and natural.
§2. In the collateral line marriage is invalid up to and including the fourth degree.
§3. The impediment of consanguinity is not multiplied.
§4. A marriage is never permitted if doubt exists whether the partners are related by consanguinity in any degree of the direct line or in the second degree of the collateral line.
Can.  1092 Affinity in the direct line in any degree invalidates a marriage.
Can.  1093 The impediment of public propriety arises from an invalid marriage after the establishment of common life or from notorious or public concubinage. It nullifies marriage in the first degree of the direct line between the man and the blood relatives of the woman, and vice versa.
Can.  1094 Those who are related in the direct line or in the second degree of the collateral line by a legal relationship arising from adoption cannot contract marriage together validly.

Can.  1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage:
1/ those who lack the sufficient use of reason;
2/ those who suffer from a grave defect of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and duties mutually to be handed over and accepted;
3/ those who are not able to assume the essential obligations of marriage for causes of a psychic nature.
Can.  1096 §1. For matrimonial consent to exist, the contracting parties must be at least not ignorant that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman ordered to the procreation of offspring by means of some sexual cooperation.
§2. This ignorance is not presumed after puberty.
Can.  1097 §1. Error concerning the person renders a marriage invalid.
§2. Error concerning a quality of the person does not render a marriage invalid even if it is the cause for the contract, unless this quality is directly and principally intended.
Can.  1098 A person contracts invalidly who enters into a marriage deceived by malice, perpetrated to obtain consent, concerning some quality of the other partner which by its very nature can gravely disturb the partnership of conjugal life.
Can.  1099 Error concerning the unity or indissolubility or sacramental dignity of marriage does not vitiate matrimonial consent provided that it does not determine the will.
Can.  1100 The knowledge or opinion of the nullity of a marriage does not necessarily exclude matrimonial consent.
Can.  1101 §1. The internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words and signs used in celebrating the marriage.
§2. If, however, either or both of the parties by a positive act of the will exclude marriage itself, some essential element of marriage, or some essential property of marriage, the party contracts invalidly.
Can.  1102 §1. A marriage subject to a condition about the future cannot be contracted validly.
§2. A marriage entered into subject to a condition about the past or the present is valid or not insofar as that which is subject to the condition exists or not.
§3. The condition mentioned in §2, however, cannot be placed licitly without the written permission of the local ordinary.
Can.  1103 A marriage is invalid if entered into because of force or grave fear from without, even if unintentionally inflicted, so that a person is compelled to choose marriage in order to be free from it.
Can.  1104 §1. To contract a marriage validly the contracting parties must be present together, either in person or by proxy.
§2. Those being married are to express matrimonial consent in words or, if they cannot speak, through equivalent signs.
Can.  1105 §1. To enter into a marriage validly by proxy it is required that:
1/ there is a special mandate to contract with a specific person;
2/ the proxy is designated by the one mandating and fulfills this function personally.
§2. To be valid the mandate must be signed by the one mandating and by the pastor or ordinary of the place where the mandate is given, or by a priest delegated by either of them, or at least by two witnesses, or it must be made by means of a document which is authentic according to the norm of civil law.
§3. If the one mandating cannot write, this is to be noted in the mandate itself and another witness is to be added who also signs the document; otherwise, the mandate is invalid.
§4. If the one mandating revokes the mandate or develops amentia before the proxy contracts in his or her name, the marriage is invalid even if the proxy or the other contracting party does not know this.
Can.  1106 A marriage can be contracted through an interpreter; the pastor is not to assist at it, however, unless he is certain of the trustworthiness of the interpreter.
Can.  1107 Even if a marriage was entered into invalidly by reason of an impediment or a defect of form, the consent given is presumed to persist until its revocation is established.

Obviously, bishops and canon lawyers deal with these issues, as well as parish priests at the initial level.