The Sanctifying Function of the Church
» The Sacraments
» The separation of spouses
» Dissolution of the bond
A marriage that is ratum et consummatum can be dissolved by no human power and by no cause, except death.
For a just cause, the Roman Pontiff can dissolve a non-consummated marriage between baptized persons or between a baptized party and a non-baptized party at the request of both parties or of one of them, even if the other party is unwilling.
§1. A marriage entered into by two non-baptized persons is dissolved by means of the Pauline privilege in favor of the faith of the party who has received baptism by the very fact that a new marriage is contracted by the same party, provided that the non-baptized party departs.
§2. The non-baptized party is considered to depart if he or she does not wish to cohabit with the baptized party or to cohabit peacefully without affront to the Creator unless the baptized party, after baptism was received, has given the other a just cause for departing.
§1. For the baptized party to contract a new marriage validly, the non-baptized party must always be interrogated whether:
1. he or she also wishes to receive baptism;
2. he or she at least wishes to cohabit peacefully with the baptized party without affront to the Creator.
§2. This interrogation must be done after baptism. For a grave cause, however, the local ordinary can permit the interrogation to be done before baptism or can even dispense from the interrogation either before or after baptism provided that it is evident at least by a summary and extrajudicial process that it cannot be done or would be useless.
§1. The interrogation is regularly to be done on the authority of the local ordinary of the converted party.
This ordinary must grant the other spouse a period of time to respond if the spouse seeks it, after having been advised, however, that his or her silence will be considered a negative response if the period passes without effect.
§2. Even an interrogation made privately by the converted party is valid and indeed licit if the form prescribed above cannot be observed.
§3. In either case, the fact that the interrogation was done and its outcome must be established legitimately in the external forum.
The baptized party has the right to contract a new marriage with a Catholic party:
1. if the other party responded negatively to the interrogation or if the interrogation had been omitted legitimately;
2. if the non-baptized party, already interrogated or not, at first persevered in peaceful cohabitation without affront to the Creator but then departed without a just cause, without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. 1144 and 1145
For a grave cause, however, the local ordinary can allow a baptized party who uses the pauline privilege to contract marriage with a non-Catholic party, whether baptized or not baptized; the prescripts of the canons about mixed marriages are also to be observed.
§1. When he receives baptism in the Catholic Church, a non-baptized man who has several non-baptized wives at the same time can retain one of them after the others have been dismissed, if it is hard for him to remain with the first one. The same is valid for a non-baptized woman who has several non-baptized husbands at the same time.
§2. In the cases mentioned in §1, marriage must be contracted in legitimate form after baptism has been received, and the prescripts about mixed marriages, if necessary, and other matters required by the law are to be observed.
§3. Keeping in mind the moral, social, and economic conditions of places and of persons, the local ordinary is to take care that the needs of the first wife and the others dismissed are sufficiently provided for according to the norms of justice, Christian charity, and natural equity.
A non-baptized person who, after having received baptism in the Catholic Church, cannot restore cohabitation with a non-baptized spouse by reason of captivity or persecution can contract another marriage even if the other party has received baptism in the meantime, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1141
In a doubtful matter the privilege of faith possesses the favor of the law.
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