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Report No. 15

29. Prohibitions under Canon Law.-

We may now refer to certain prohibitions to marriage contained in the Canon law, which the Roman Catholics proposed for inclusion in the proposed law:

(1) Persons who have joined the sacred order cannot marry. But it appears that this is an impediment which is capable of being removed by a dispensation being granted, and our policy is not to recognise such prohibitions as conditions of a valid marriage.

(2) Under the Canon law, abduction, commission of certain crimes, conduct violating public propriety and certain spiritual relationships are also regarded as impediments to a lawful marriage, and it is said that the proposed law should not recognise, as valid, marriages performed in disregard of that law. But these impediments pertain to the domain of moral and not positive law, and they cannot, therefore, be prescribed as conditions the breach of which will render the marriage void. This does not preclude the Church from refusing to solemnise such marriages as are repugnant to Canon law, and that is what has been provided1.

(3) In general, it is said that incapacity which is a bar to the solemnisation of a marriage according to the laws and customs of the Roman Catholic Church should also be recognised as conditions of a valid marriage. For the reasons given above, we are unable to accept this.

1. See Appendix I, clause 70.



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