Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What Makes Marriage Impossible

People are wondering about Catholic laws on marriage. Here's a summary on the laws on what makes marriage impossible. I'm including references to the laws themselves, which are numbered.
  1. One person is too young (1083)
  2. One person is impotent, or it is otherwise impossible for the two to have intercourse (1084)
  3. One person is still under the terms of a previous marriage (1085)
  4. One person is baptized and the other isn't, leading to irreconcilable disparity of cult (1086)
  5. One person is a priest (1087)
  6. One person is under a perpetual vow of chastity (1088)
  7. The woman has been abducted. (1089)
  8. One person killed a former spouse, for the purposes of ending the marriage (1090)
  9. The two partners are directly related by blood, marriage or adoption (1091-4)
#2 is the one which prohibits gay marriage, as a gay couple cannot have intercourse with each other, since "intercourse" is here defined as "sex which can result in pregnancy". This law is directed towards the impotent, but it can affect sterile and infertile people, as well as those couples who always use contraceptives.

The local Bishop is able to waive any of these requirements, except for #5, 6, 8 and 9. Only the Vatican has the ability to waive those requirements, but they never waive the "marriage partners cannot be related" requirement in the direct line or in the second degree of the collateral line (1078).

Could it be possible for a Bishop to waive Rule #2, in order to allow for gay marriage? I'm not a lawyer, but I would guess that the answer is "no". That one isn't an isolated law; it's directly connected to several other laws, making it more difficult to change. There are also laws (i.e. not just this one) that state that two spouses must be of different genders.

Of course, there are many other laws and situations which prevent marriage from occurring; this is just a list of specific situations that make it impossible to contract a marriage in the first place.

1 comment:

Sparksbet said...

So Catholicism bans infertile men and women from getting married? Yikes. That's horrible. What if you don't become infertile or find out about it until after you're married? Can your husband/wife divorce you? Or annul the marriage?