The Sanctifying Function of the Church
» The Sacraments
» Diriment impediments in general
A diriment impediment renders a person incapable of validly contracting a marriage.
An impediment is said to be public, when it can be proved in the external forum; otherwise, it is occult.
§1 Only the supreme authority in the Church can authentically declare when the divine law prohibits or invalidates a marriage.
§2 Only the same supreme authority has the right to establish other impediments for those who are baptised.
A custom which introduces a new impediment, or is contrary to existing impediments, is to be reprobated.
§1 The local Ordinary can in a specific case forbid a marriage of his own subjects, wherever they are residing, or of any person actually present in his territory; he can do this only for a time, for a grave reason and while that reason persists.
§2 Only the supreme authority in the Church can attach an invalidating clause to a prohibition.
§1 The local Ordinary can dispense his own subjects wherever they are residing, and all who are actually present in his territory, from all impediments of ecclesiastical law, except for those whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic
§2 The impediments whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic See are:
1° the impediment arising from sacred orders or from a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute of pontifical right
2° the impediment of crime mentioned in can. 1090
§3 A dispensation is never given from the impediment of consanguinity in the direct line or in the second degree of the collateral line.
§1 When danger of death threatens, the local Ordinary can dispense his own subjects, wherever they are residing, and all who are actually present in his territory, both from the form to be observed in the celebration of marriage, and from each and every impediment of ecclesiastical law, whether public or occult, with the exception of the impediment arising from the sacred order of priesthood.
§2 In the same circumstances mentioned in §1, but only for cases in which not even the local Ordinary can be approached, the same faculty of dispensation is possessed by the parish priest, by a properly delegated sacred minister, and by the priest or deacon who assists at the marriage in accordance with can. 1116
§3 In danger of death, the confessor has the power to dispense from occult impediments for the internal forum, whether within the act of sacramental confession or outside it.
§4 In the case mentioned in §2, the local Ordinary is considered unable to be approached if he can be reached only by telegram or by telephone.
§1 Whenever an impediment is discovered after everything has already been prepared for a wedding and the marriage cannot without probable danger of grave harm be postponed until a dispensation is obtained from the competent authority, the power to dispense from all impediments, except those mentioned in can. 1078
§2, n. 1, is possessed by the local Ordinary and, provided the case is occult, by all those mentioned in can. 1079
§§2-3, the conditions prescribed therein having been observed.
§2 This power applies also to the validation of a marriage when there is the same danger in delay and there is no time to have recourse to the Apostolic See or, in the case of impediments from which he can dispense, to the local Ordinary.
The parish priest or the priest or deacon mentioned in can. 1079
§2, should inform the local Ordinary immediately of a dispensation granted for the external forum, and this dispensation is to be recorded in the marriage register.
Unless a rescript of the Penitentiary provides otherwise, a dispensation from an occult impediment granted in the internal nonsacramental forum, is to be recorded in the book to be kept in the secret archive of the curia. No other dispensation for the external forum is necessary if at a later stage the occult impediment becomes public.
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