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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A marriage that is invalid but was contracted in good faith by at least one member. Until there is positive ecclesiastical proof of nullity, such a marriage has all the effects of lawful wedlock. Children of such a marriage are legitimate, and illegitimate children are legitimatized by a putative marriage. (Etym. Latin putare, to trim, cleans; to think over, consider.)