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An invalidating impediment to marriage with certain blood relatives of a deceased husband or wife, unless a dispensation is granted. No dispensation in given for marriage in the direct line, that is with any of his or her ancestors or descendants. In the collateral line, the impediment extends to the second degree--first cousin, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece--and dispensations are granted for both the first and second degrees of affinity. (Etym. Latin affinitas, relationship, nearness; from affinis,bordering on, nearby family relationship.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.