The Sanctifying Function of the Church
» The Sacraments
» The separation of spouses
» Dissolution of the bond
A marriage which is ratified and consummated cannot be dissolved by any human power or by any cause other than death.
A non-consummated marriage between baptised persons or between a baptised party and an unbaptised party can be dissolved by the Roman Pontiff for a just reason, at the request of both parties or of either party, even if the other is unwilling.
§1 In virtue of the pauline privilege, a marriage entered into by two unbaptised persons is dissolved in favour of the faith of the party who received baptism, by the very fact that a new marriage is contracted by that same party, provided the unbaptised party departs.
§2 The unbaptised party is considered to depart if he or she is unwilling to live with the baptised party, or to live peacefully without offence to the Creator, unless the baptised party has, after the reception of baptism, given the other just cause to depart.
§1 For the baptised person validly to contract a new marriage, the unbaptised party must always be interpellated whether:
1° he or she also wishes to receive baptism;
2° he or she at least is willing to live peacefully with the baptised party without offence to the Creator.
§2 This interpellation is to be done after baptism. However, the local Ordinary can for a grave reason permit that the interpellation be done before baptism; indeed he can dispense from it, either before or after baptism, provided it is established, by at least a summary and extrajudicial procedure, that it cannot be made or that it would be useless.
As a rule, the interpellation is to be done on the authority of the local
Ordinary of the converted party. A period of time for reply is to be allowed by this
Ordinary to the other party, if indeed he or she asks for it, warning the person however that if the period passes without any reply, silence will be taken as a negative response.
§2 Even an interpellation made privately by the converted party is valid, and indeed it is lawful if the form prescribed above cannot be observed.
§3 In both cases there must be lawful proof in the external forum of the interpellation having been done and of its outcome.
The baptised party has the right to contract a new marriage with a catholic:
1° if the other party has replied in the negative to the interpellation, or if the interpellation has been lawfully omitted;
2° if the unbaptised person, whether already interpellated or not, who at first persevered in peaceful cohabitation without offence to the Creator, has subsequently departed without just cause, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1144
However, the local Ordinary can for a grave reason allow the baptised party, using the pauline privilege, to contract marriage with a non-catholic party, whether baptised or unbaptised; in this case, the provisions of the canons on mixed marriages must also be observed.
§1 When an unbaptised man who simultaneously has a number of unbaptised wives, has received baptism in the catholic Church, if it would be a hardship for him to remain with the first of the wives, he may retain one of them, having dismissed the others. The same applies to an unbaptised woman who simultaneously has a number of unbaptised husbands.
§2 In the cases mentioned in §1, when baptism has been received, the marriage is to be contracted in the legal form, with due observance, if need be, of the provisions concerning mixed marriages and of other provisions of law.
§3 In the light of the moral, social and economic circumstances of place and person, the local Ordinary is to ensure that adequate provision is made, in accordance with the norms of justice, christian charity and natural equity, for the needs of the first wife and of the others who have been dismissed.
An unbaptised person who, having received baptism in the catholic
Church, cannot re-establish cohabitation with his or her unbaptised spouse by reason of captivity or persecution, can contract another marriage, even if the other party has in the meantime received baptism, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1141
In a doubtful matter the privilege of the faith enjoys the favour of law.
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