Friday, September 25, 2015


“The following are incapable of contracting marriage:

1.  Those who lack sufficient use of reason.
2.  Those who suffer from grave lack of discretion in judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations mutually given and accepted in the Marriage Covenant.
3.  Those who, because of causes of psychological nature,  are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage.” (cf/ Canon 1095 nos. 1-3 CIC)

“Incapable of Contracting Marriage”:  Thus reads the formal over-all title of the above-cited complex as well as complicated canonical provision about those disabled from validly contracting marriage – be this on the part of the woman and/or of the man, and be they altogether free from all Diriment Impediments and free as well from other factors causative of Defective Matrimonial Consent.  Needless to say, the above-cited marriage nullifying provision is very much more serious than other marriage invalidity causes.  Reason:  Someone considered nothing less than incapacitated or disabled from contracting  a valid marriage means that the subject party concerned is adversely affected by his/her own seriously adverse personality constitution such as in terms of downright mental disorder, judgment disability or socio-affective maladjustment.

It is not hard to understand that doing away with the usual or common impediments and/or freeing oneself from other marriage nullifying factors is not that intricate in order to bring about an integral and wherefore valid matrimonial consent.  But getting rid of the socio-affective (“psychological”) incapacity to contract an effective marriage is not that easy to do – taking into account that the said disability is inherent to the personality constitution of the man and the woman concerned, specifically in conjunction with marriage.  It is worth noting that the said incapacity is manifested in the external forum through the errant and erratic actuation and behavioral patterns of the subject party concerned – with the pursuant expert diagnostic affirmation and/or confirmation of noted clinical psychologists and/or psychiatrists.

The categorical incapacitating cause for marriage in terms of “Lack of Sufficient Use of Reason” or “Grave Lack of Discretionary Judgment” or “Inability to Assume the Essential Obligations of Marriage” may not necessarily disable someone from doing other ordinary tasks – but definitely not the combined trio of spousal, conjugal and parental 24/7 living in an indivisible and insoluble marriage.

So it is that as a matter of normative-pastoral concern, the man or the woman – or both of them – thus proven judicially incapacitated from contracting a valid marriage through a formal Church Tribunal is ipso facto barred from contracting another marriage through a “Restrictive Cause” – the lifting of which would readily expose a subsequent marriage of the subject party concerned to but another marriage nullity.