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Catholic Dictionary




Incapacity for marital intercourse. Impotence, unlike sterility, hinders the human act of generation, that is, the copula. Impotence that is prior to marriage and is permanent, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether known to the other party or not, whether absolute or relative, invalidates marriage by the natural law. Absolute impotence prevents marital intercourse with all other persons; relative impotence prevents it only with a certain person or persons.