The Sanctifying Function of the Church
» The Sacraments
» Matrimonial consent
The following are incapable of contracting marriage:
1° those who lack sufficient use of reason;
2° those who suffer from a grave lack of discretionary judgement concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted;
3° those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage.
§1 For matrimonial consent to exist, it is necessary that the contracting parties be at least not ignorant of the fact that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman, ordered to the procreation of children through some form of sexual cooperation.
§2 This ignorance is not presumed after puberty.
§1 Error about a person renders a marriage invalid.
§2 Error about a quality of the person, even though it be the reason for the contract, does not render a marriage invalid unless this quality is directly and principally intended.
A person contracts invalidly who enters marriage inveigled by deceit, perpetrated in order to secure consent, concerning some quality of the other party, which of its very nature can seriously disrupt the partnership of conjugal life.
Provided it does not determine the will, error concerning the unity or the indissolubility or the sacramental dignity of marriage does not vitiate matrimonial consent.
Knowledge of or opinion about the nullity of a marriage does not necessarily exclude matrimonial consent.
§1 The internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words or the signs used in the celebration of a marriage.
§2 If, however, either or both of the parties should by a positive act of will exclude marriage itself or any essential element of marriage or any essential property, such party contracts invalidly.
§1 Marriage cannot be validly contracted subject to a condition concerning the future.
§2 Marriage entered into subject to a condition concerning the past or the present is valid or not, according as whatever is the basis of the condition exists or not.
§3 However, a condition as mentioned in §2 may not lawfully be attached except with the written permission of the local Ordinary.
A marriage is invalid which was entered into by reason of force or of grave fear imposed from outside, even if not purposely, from which the person has no escape other than by choosing marriage.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 1103, 23.IV.1987]
§1 To contract marriage validly it is necessary that the contracting parties be present together, either personally or by proxy
§2 The spouses are to express their matrimonial consent in words; if, however, they cannot speak, then by equivalent signs.
§1 For a marriage by proxy to be valid, it is required:
1° that there be a special mandate to contract with a specific person;
2° that the proxy be designated by the mandator and personally discharge this function;
§2 For the mandate to be valid, it is to be signed by the mandator, and also by the parish priest or local Ordinary of the place in which the mandate is given or by a priest delegated by either of them or by at least two witnesses, or it is to be drawn up in a document which is authentic according to the civil law.
§3 If the mandator cannot write, this is to be recorded in the mandate and another witness added who is also to sign the document; otherwise, the mandate is invalid.
§4 If the mandator revokes the mandate, or becomes insane, before the proxy contracts in his or her name, the marriage is invalid, even though the proxy or the other contracting party is unaware of the fact.
Marriage can be contracted through an interpreter, but the parish priest may not assist at such a marriage unless he is certain of the trustworthiness of the interpreter.
Even if a marriage has been entered into invalidly by reason of an impediment or defect of form, the consent given is presumed to persist until its withdrawal has been established.
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