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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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Illegal secrecy, especially as regards marriage. It means that a couple exchange marital consent privately, with no public evidence of their action. Unless exceptional circumstances are present, as provided in the Church's law, the ceremony is invalid, since matrimony is a social sacrament and subject to the Church's legislation.