Is marriage valid when there’s impotence on the part of one of the spouses?

Share Publication


Is a marriage valid when one of the spouses knows beforehand that they cannot consummate it? For example, if a man and a woman become paralyzed by accident and, unable to have sex, nevertheless decide to marry anyway.


I would like to remind you that impotence to consummate a marriage is an impediment dealt with in the Code of Canon Law, canon 1084.

It consists of the impossibility of performing carnal copulation [sexual intercourse] with the ejaculation of semen into the woman’s vagina. Without this, there is no possibility of generating children.

This impotence may be physical, or it may be due to psychological problems. In turn, it can be absolute (unable to be performed with anyone) or relative (unable to be performed with a specific person). It can also be temporary or perpetual.

It must be said that the impotence considered an impediment to marriage is the perpetual impotence preceding marriage, even if it is relative (one cannot marry – at least, with that person). This impediment is of natural law, meaning it cannot be dispensed.

In any case, impotence (the impossibility of having effective sexual intercourse) should not be confused with the impossibility of conceiving (infertility), even in the case of infertility due to sterilization or vasectomy. The subject of vasectomy is more delicate because what is deposited in the woman’s vagina is not real semen but seminal fluid; however, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded on May 13, 1977, that this did not properly constitute an impediment to impotence.

Fr. Miguel A. Fuentes, IVE

Original post: Here

Original post: Can there be a conflict of duties between the conscience of spouses and the doctrine of the Magisterium?

Related Articles