canonical requirements for marriage
Some theologians regard a marriage in which only one party is baptized as a sacrament. Such a condition, though possible, is not frequent nor even permissible except in cases of rare virtue. Hence disciplinary laws, regulating solemnities to be observed in marriage, and laws defining qualifications of parties to marry, are not so rigid as to admit of no change, if the Church sees fit to change them, owing to difference of time and place; the change too may affect the validity or the legality of a marriage. Someone with this understanding of marriage may go though with a wedding, but is incapable of entering a sacramental marriage. Thus: “I marry, but you must avoid having children”; or, “I marry you until I find someone to suit me better.” The condition must be actual, predominant in the will of one or both, denying perpetual union or interchange of conjugal rights, or at least limiting them, to make the marriage null and void (Decretals, IV, tit. The moral law looks to the conduct of those who marry; canon law regulates matrimonial courts of the Church. It would exclude polyandry, but not polygamy or divorce. One result of the defection from the Church in the sixteenth century was a belief that marriage is a civil ceremony. Canon law does not absolutely require the personal presence of both parties to marriage; but, one being present, giving his consent to marry the absent party, the absent party must signify her consent by proxy or by letter. Marriage is, in its essential requirements, ever the same, monogamic and indissoluble. In the latter case (public impediment) the doubt has always to be settled pro foro externo in the matrimonial courts; for no general laws can be made to cover all possible circumstances, and the practical application of the canonical and moral laws of marriage to actual cases, just as happens with civil laws involves at times questions de jure and de facto, which must be settled by competent judges. Marriage is natural in purpose, but Divine in origin. Thus, for instance, she recognizes that a defect of mind or a lack of proper discretion is an impediment to matrimony. ).”If any one should say, matrimony is not truly and properly one of the seven sacraments of the Gospel law, instituted by Christ, but an invention of man, not conferring grace, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, Sess. If the condition concern the past or the present, the contract is valid if the condition is verified at that moment, thus: “I take you for my husband, if you are the man to whom I was betrothed.” If the condition regard the future, it must be noted that, if it frustrates any essential property of marriage, it nullifies the act of marriage; if it postulates an act against the very nature of marriage, the marriage is null. From the decisions of the diocesan and the metropolitan courts, particularly in questions involving nullity of marriage, appeal can be taken to the courts of the Holy See. When men pretend to be the final arbiters of the marriage contract, they base their claim on the assumption that this contract is merely of human institution and is subject to no laws above those of man. Under the prior 1917 Code, ecclesiastical impediments applied to the marriages of non-Catholic Christians as well, unless specifically exempted. Still, marriage never lost its sacred character in the Old Dispensation. And in like manner the husband also hath not power of his own body, but the wife” (I Cor., vii, 4).