Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

LEGAL IMPEDIMENT

An obstacle to valid marriage, determined by civil authority. According to the constant tradition of the Catholic Church, the State has no power to legislate invalidating impediments to Christian marriage. This follows logically from the Church's teaching that, since Christian marriage is a supernatural contract, the conditions for its validity are subject only to the Church, which has received this authority from her Founder. It is disputed whether the State can establish diriment impediments for marriages in which both parties are unbaptized. Yet, if even one of the parties is baptized, the Church alone has jurisdiction over the marriage, and only her invalidating impediments are binding.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism 11 hours ago
Relax; the Pope didn't change Church teaching with a phone call 12 hours ago
Round Trip to the present moment: a Catholic jazz artist's latest offering April 22
Easter with the Pope April 21
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - April 20
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - April 20