Pentecost (today) is the last day of our Spring Campaign. Please be generous.
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.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Urgent! We need extra financial support between now and May 24th. May 22
What's wrong with these pictures? May 22
What can we learn from the dignity of military services? May 22
Was Lewis “basically Catholic”? May 21
Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Scandal May 20

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days