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 Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:25 pm
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New post Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
The1917 CIC lists the spiritual relationship between a baptized person and their baptismal sponsor as a diriment impediment to marriage (C.1079). Knowing this, what should a person make of the following scenario?

A young man was married while in the Novus Ordo. After a few years of marriage, the woman he married apostatized and divorced him. At some point in this time, the man has also become more devout in his faith, and sedevacantist. He believes he’ll have to live the rest of his life single and celibate. He then discovers that being one’s baptismal sponsor is a diriment impediment, according to the 1917 CIC. This is significant, since prior to his marriage he was the woman’s baptismal sponsor. The Novus Ordo apparently didn’t see this as an issue when marrying them, likely because the 1983 Code does not list that spiritual relationship as an impediment.

Should this young man recognize that he was not validly married, due to the diriment impediment of spiritual relationship?



-- https://archive.org/stream/1917CodeOfCanonLawCommentary#page/n2123/mode/2up


Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:05 pm
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:08 pm
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
Supposing that it was an absolute baptism, and supposing that there is moral certainty about the sponsorship (proven with photos/testimony or at the very least paperwork), I'm of the opinion that the man should consider himself never married. Even if the baptism was invalid, then the marriage would be invalid due to disparity of cult.

I've been thinking about this a bit recently, as it's related to the issue of Novus Ordo annulments and how traditionalists (clergy and laity) treat "second marriages" after receiving a Novus Ordo annulment. Marriage enjoys the benefit of law so when it is a fact that a marriage has been attempted, it's assumed valid until proven invalid. Traditionalists regard second marriages after a Novus Ordo annulment as invalid, but it seems to me that the law would require those marriages to be considered valid. Of course considering them valid requires acknowledging the Novus Ordo Church to possess the proper authority to rule and bind consciences on such matters-- a recognition which assaults reality. So the solution to that problem is certainly *not* to begin regarding second marriages after Novus Ordo annulments as valid marriages.

I think the reasoning for denying the validity of second marriages (post N.O. annulment) is this:

Someone who is considered married by law must have their marriage annulled by the proper authority before they are free to marry
The Novus Ordo is not a proper authority
Ergo, marriages annulled by the Novus Ordo are not truly annulled, and the parties are not free to marry someone else

But really, I think the reasoning *has* to be based on a diriment impediment since marriage enjoys the benefit of the law, so the proper syllogism should be:

To be free to marry, N must not face any diriment impediments
N faces the diriment impediment of an existing bond of marriage (canon 1069, I believe)
N is not free to marry

If I'm correct that the true reasoning for not recognizing second marriages is because of a diriment impediment, then the principle is revealed that in an extraordinary instance such as ours (sans the proper authorities to rule on these matters) traditionalists can (and do) make judgments about matters which are, by the letter of the law, reserved to certain authorities. I know that canon law says that a marriage must be considered valid until proper authority issued a declaration of nullity, so this would seem to be an instance of epikeia. I can appreciate that a given priest would be apprehensive to marry someone in the scenario that Joe Cuperino described, but I think these priests are already making judgments which are substantially the same as telling this man that he isn't married when they tell those who've had second marriages that they're not married. Both judgments are caused by recognizing a self-evident and certainly existing diriment impediment.

I hope this post makes sense. I've been out of the forum posting game and am a bit rusty.


Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:20 pm
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
Too bad canon law is written with the accessibility of a functioning authority in mind. :D


Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:26 pm
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Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 4:53 pm
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
In my opinion this would constitute a diriment impediment nullifying the marriage. It is vital to verify that all the conditions for forming the spiritual connection were met.

The individual has to have been Catholic himself at the time of the baptism.

It had to be a valid baptism. This may be an issue for not all Novus Ordo baptisms are valid.

It would have had to be a baptism not a conditional baptism. This may be an issue if the person was coming over from let's say a lutherian church were perhaps the first baptism was valid.

The individual had to be designated the sponsor and preformed the physical act which is customarily viewed as the sign of sponsorship. Being a proxy would not form a spiritual relationship.

If all the conditions for the formation of a spiritual connection were clearly met, I would argue the mind of the Church, despite not having a proper authority to rule on this specific case, is clearly laid out in the canons of the Code (canon 1079 and 768) and the marriage was never contracted. Since there is no authority render a judgment on this specific case, I believe some of the theologians would argue this as a case were epikeia could be applied given the canon offers no ambiguity and expresses explicitly the mind of the lawgiver. I would agree with this application of the principle in this particular case, however as in all such cases, it is best to discuss this with a good priest.


Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:14 pm
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
Let’s throw in an additional detail.

The man was initially baptized as a Baptist, prior to converting to Catholicism. He was not conditionally baptized in the Novus Ordo, but plans to be conditionally baptized now. So, it’s in doubt whether he was actually baptized at the time he was sponsoring the woman’s baptism, and at the time he married her.

If the man’s baptism was certainly invalid, then neither his sponsorship nor marriage would have been valid.

If the man’s baptism was certainly valid, then his sponsorship would have been valid, and resulted in the diriment impediment causing his marriage to be invalid.

But, at this point, his baptism is not certainly valid or invalid, but simply doubtful. The conundrum here is that marriage enjoys the favor of the law. So, when either of the party’s baptism is found to be doubtful, the law still regards the marriage as valid. However, it seems that there is no such favor of the law for being a baptismal sponsor, which seems to mean that the existence of the spiritual relationship would remain in doubt as long as the sponsor’s baptism remained in doubt.

Since the spiritual relationship is in doubt, some may defer to the favor of the law given to marriage, and say there is not enough certainty for a person to make a judgment that the marriage is invalid.

Setting the favor of the law aside for a moment, if the spiritual relationship truly existed, then the marriage is invalid, and if the spiritual relationship does not exist in this case, then the marriage is also invalid for the very same reason that the spiritual relationship was never contracted (ie. the man wasn’t baptized). So, no matter how the doubt is resolved, if it’s resolved, the marriage is invalid.

Should this marriage be given the favor of the law until the doubt is resolved?


Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:40 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:44 am
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
Well, in this case, it would seem to me that if the civil law grants a divorce, there should be no problem (aside from possible scandal to those who don't know the details).
Mithrandylan wrote:
Even if the baptism was invalid, then the marriage would be invalid due to disparity of cult.

I thought that disparity of cult made the marriage illicit, but still valid under the natural law.

But if I'm wrong, then we'd have to define "disparity of cult", if we're talking about a Catholic and a non-Catholic. In other words, what's a "Catholic"? Is a Novus Ordo a "Catholic"? If so, why not a Protestant, since there's little substantive difference between Novus Ordos and Episcopalians or Lutherans?

AFAIK, it's tough to rule a marriage invalid under the natural law, and mainly would involve either party not knowing and consenting to basic marital vows, such as being open to the procreation of children, exclusion for the life of either party of other lovers, and an intention for the marriage to be lifelong. Although nowadays, I imagine many marriages are at least problematic due to marriage being considered by many if not most people in the broader society as more of a civilly-recognized boyfriend-girlfriend situation with a fancy commitment party otherwise known as a "wedding", with the vows not being taken seriously if they are known at all.


Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:57 am
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
Brendan wrote:
Mithrandylan wrote:
Even if the baptism was invalid, then the marriage would be invalid due to disparity of cult.

I thought that disparity of cult made the marriage illicit, but still valid under the natural law.

But if I'm wrong, then we'd have to define "disparity of cult", if we're talking about a Catholic and a non-Catholic. In other words, what's a "Catholic"? Is a Novus Ordo a "Catholic"? If so, why not a Protestant, since there's little substantive difference between Novus Ordos and Episcopalians or Lutherans?

What you're referring to is the impediment of "Mixed Religion", which is simply a prohibiting impediment (illicit, yet valid) between a baptized Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic. "Disparity of Cult" is a diriment impediment (illicit and invalid) between a validly baptized Catholic and a person who lacks a valid baptism.


Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:15 am
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:25 pm
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
Interesting to note, only those who were ever baptized as Catholics (or who are validly baptized and have ever converted to Catholicism) are bound to both impediments (Mixed Religion and Disparity of Cult). So, marriages between baptized non-Catholics (who were never Catholic) and unbaptized persons are valid marriages.


Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:42 am
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New post Re: Diriment Impediment to Marriage - Spiritual Relationship
Joe Cupertino wrote:
Let’s throw in an additional detail.

The man was initially baptized as a Baptist, prior to converting to Catholicism. He was not conditionally baptized in the Novus Ordo, but plans to be conditionally baptized now. So, it’s in doubt whether he was actually baptized at the time he was sponsoring the woman’s baptism, and at the time he married her.

If the man’s baptism was certainly invalid, then neither his sponsorship nor marriage would have been valid.

If the man’s baptism was certainly valid, then his sponsorship would have been valid, and resulted in the diriment impediment causing his marriage to be invalid.

But, at this point, his baptism is not certainly valid or invalid, but simply doubtful. The conundrum here is that marriage enjoys the favor of the law. So, when either of the party’s baptism is found to be doubtful, the law still regards the marriage as valid. However, it seems that there is no such favor of the law for being a baptismal sponsor, which seems to mean that the existence of the spiritual relationship would remain in doubt as long as the sponsor’s baptism remained in doubt.

Since the spiritual relationship is in doubt, some may defer to the favor of the law given to marriage, and say there is not enough certainty for a person to make a judgment that the marriage is invalid.

Setting the favor of the law aside for a moment, if the spiritual relationship truly existed, then the marriage is invalid, and if the spiritual relationship does not exist in this case, then the marriage is also invalid for the very same reason that the spiritual relationship was never contracted (ie. the man wasn’t baptized). So, no matter how the doubt is resolved, if it’s resolved, the marriage is invalid.

Should this marriage be given the favor of the law until the doubt is resolved?


:lol: Sounds like we have trad version of Jerry Springer going on here. This is good enough material for a Mexican soap opera, the plot thickens indeed!

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Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:20 am
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