Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/302

This page needs to be proofread.




II. Tridentixe Legislation. — In order to check the increase of clandestine marriages, the Council of Trent decreed (Sess. XXIV, De ref. matr., c. i) that before the celebration of any marriage the names of the contracting parties should be annoimced publicly three times in the church during the solemnization of Mass, by their own parish priest on three con- secutive Holy Days fWaterworth, The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and QDcumenical Council of Trent, London, 1S48, 196 sqq.). Such publication, of course, can be made only at the request of the parties themselves, and after the parish priest is aware of their mutual free consent. Moreover, the parish priest cannot refuse to publish the banns except for reasons stated in the canon law. If the contracting parties refuse to consent to the publica- tion of the banns, the parish priest cannot assist at their marriage, and where the Tridentine legislation does not obtain he is bound to warn them not to attempt marriage elsewhere. In course of time this Tridentine decree has given occasion to more specific interpretation, regularly and primarily applicable ■where the decree has been promulgated. Among the more important authentic decisions are the following: The proper (own) parish priest of per- sons intending marriage is he in whose parish both (or one of) the contracting parties have a true domi- cile or quasi-domicile, i. e. a fi.xed residence or one that can be legally construed as such. When both parties permanently reside in the same parish no difficulty can arise as to the parish priest whose right and duty it is to publish the banns. But it may happen that one party resides in another parish, or that both parties have each more than one domicile or quasi-domicile, in which case the publication of the banns should occur, regularly speaking, in every parish where at the time of the marriage the parties retain such domicile or quasi-domicile. (See Domi- cile, Parish Priest, Mahri.^ge.) It may be noted here that while in general a quasi-domicile is ac- quired by actual residence in a place with the inten- tion of remaining there the greater part of the year, in England and in the United States the law pre- sumes a quasi-domicile from one month's residence of •either party in the place of the marriage. (S. Congr. Inq. to the bishops of England and the United States, 7 June, 1S67; see also its decree of 6 May, 1886). A decree of the same congregation (9 Novem- ber, 1898) provides that an\T\here a mere residence •of six months shall constitute a quasi-domicile. In the case of unsettled persons possessed of no domi- cile (vagi) the banns are published (with episcopal permission) where the marriage takes place, and in the place or places of their birth. The banns of minors must also be published in the place of resi- dence of their parents or guardians. The law of quasi-domicile is also frequently applicable to serv- ants, apprentices, soldiers, and students in institu- tions of learning. In the case of mixed marriages, publication of the banns is forbidden (Greg. XVI to the bishops of Bavaria, 12 September, 1834), but is tolerated in the L'nited States by a decree of the Congregation of Propaganda (3 July, 1847), pro- vided there be no mention of the religious persuasion (confessio acatholica) of the non-Catholic party (see also S. Congr. Inq., 4 July, 1874, in Collectanea S. Congr. de Prop. Fide, Rome, 1893, no. 1223). In Germany and Austria this is also customary in some places (Heiner). The three consecutive Holy Days (dies feslivi) may be Sundays or other feasts of obligation. Custom has in many places exempted Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. It is also cus- tomary in some places to proclaim tlie banns on suppressed feast days, also at Vespers, pro\'ided there be on such occasions a considerable attendance of people in the church (S. Congr. Inq., 25 Octoler, 1586; 29 April, 1823). The bamis are published

regularly at the parish or principal Mass, though the publication may occur at any other Mass on the prescribed days, nor is it reciuired that such pub- lication be repeated at more than one Mass on the aforesaid days. By a rescript of the Congregation of Propaganda the Vicars Apostolic of India were per- mitted to publish the banns on weekdays. In some places it is provided that the banns shall not be pub- lished on two immediately consecutive feast days; similarly that the marriage shall not take place on the day of the last publication (particularly if it be the only one). It may be noted that the general ecclesiastical law does not forbid the marriage on the day of the third publication. The period for which the publication of the banns is valid depends on local ecclesiastical authority and custom. The Roman Ritual (Tit. vii, c. i, n. 11) fixes a limit of two months, but leaves the bishop free to act as prudence dictates. The Second Provincial Council of Quebec (1863) established a period of two months. In practice the period varies from six weeks to six months. It may be added that the marriages of members of royal houses (matriino7iia principum) are by custom exempted from publication of the banns.

III. Mode of Publication. — The parish priest or his representative (vicar, curate) announces in an audible voice, usually before or after the sermon, for each of the contracting parties the baptismal and family name, names of parents, place of birth or residence, age, condition (single or previously mar- ried, and according to the Roman Ritual, loc. cit., n. 13, the name of the woman's former husband). It should also be stated whether the actual proclama- tion is the first, second, or third, and whether there will be a dispensation from further publications. The priest adds that a serious obligation rests on every one to reveal to him any known impediment to the proposed marriage. The parish priest is ex- pected to keep a record or register of all publications of banns made by him, also the certificates of pulj- lications made at his request in other parishes, the fact and consequences of which he is entitled to know.

IV. Denunci.\.tion of Impediments. — Whoever is morally certain either by his own knowledge or tlirough reliable persons, of an impediment (e. g. consanguinity, affinity, previous marriage) to an in- tended marriage, is in conscience bound to reveal it to the parish priest of the contracting parties; it then becomes the duty of such parish priest to investigate the statement made to him (usually under oath) and decide as to the character of the evidence; if a grave suspicion be aroused in him, he must refer the case to the bishop, who decides as to whether a dispensa- tion can or cannot be granted. Confessors, lawj'ers, physicians, midwives, are not bound to reveal im- pediments known to them through the discharge of their official or professional duties, nor does an obliga- tion rest on those who fear that to make known an impediment would cause grave detriment to them- selves or their families, or who are aware that no good can result from their action, or know that the contracting parties have already made known the impediment. Once aware of the impediment, the parish priest must defer the marriage, refer the mat- ter to the bishop, and, where the Tridentine marriage decree is not valid he ought to warn the parties not to attempt marriage elsewhere. For further details as to the obligation of revealing known impediments, see the moral theologians generally, especially the third book of Sanchez, De Matrimonio", and the sixth volume of Ballerini-Palmieri, "Theologia Moralis" (Prato, 1894), also the "Bibliotheca Prompta" of Ferraris, s. v.

V. Sanctions. — Omission of the banns, even partial, makes a marriage illicit, but not invalid. The bishop may inflict on the contracting parties such ecclesiastical penance as he sees fit to impose,