Can a infertile man or woman marry?


#21

Provided the bounds are kept, it’s possible. It may be a problem because it can give scandal.

Keep in mind that consecrated religious in certain communities have segregated quarters but common everything else.

Having spent a lot of time around a Dominican run parish, the Dominican friars live in community, a community of mutual support, companionship, and filial love; the community I spent time around (and working for) had half a dozen brothers and two sisters… 4 of the brothers were priests… And it’s a good model. The sisters had their quarters in a separate building (“The Little House”) just outside the rectory; the brothers lived upstairs in the rectory, and all had their offices on ground floor, ate in community, prayed in community, and still have common recreation as a community.

The Dominicans provide an ideal model for such a life: separate quarters, but shared lifestyle. Adjacent apartments. Or a cabin and a house on one lot.

Traditional Eastern monastics often have dual monasteries as well - sisters on one side, brothers on the other, chapel, refectory, study, and workrooms central.


#22

Depends on if medical intervention is possible.

Can. 1084 §1. Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature.

§2. If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether by a doubt about the law or a doubt about a fact, a marriage must not be impeded nor, while the doubt remains, declared null.

§3. Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 1098.

note “Antecedent and perpetual”
Antecedent - “Adjective. Preceding in time or order; previous or preexisting.”
Perpetual - “Adjective. Never ending or changing.”

To render it void, the impotence must be established to predate the bond, and it must be unending.

Note the consummation also is not requisite for a valid marriage - if a couple marries and never has sex, they might never know if there is impotence.

Also note that mutilation by violence or accident that results in becoming impotent does not render the bond void; such is not antecedent.


#23

Correct.

Typically, no.

They would need to receive counseling from their pastor on this matter.


#24

I’m sorry, I’m new to this topic…

I have a long time girlfriend who I fully intend to marry within the next couple of years. I have no concerns about incompetence or infertility, but nonetheless I am disturbed by what I feel like I’ve come to understand from this thread.

I do have every intention of having children with her someday, but that isn’t the reason I want to marry her… I want to marry her because I love her, and we have a relationship that is exclusive to each other. We are in love with each other, and we want to turn into an “us” instead of “her” or “me”. We want to go through the trials and tribulations of life with each other, because we have come to find out that we feel lost without each other. I know, it’s all of that mushy stuff, but that is how it is with us, and it’s real.

Now from what I’ve read so far, it almost seems to tell me that two people being in love doesn’t even play a factor in whether they get married. It just matters if they are able to have kids…

So you’re telling me, if I were incompetent, I wouldn’t be able to be with the love of my life?

And by virtue of that, aren’t you also telling me that I’m not marrying her because I’m in love with her (because love isn’t what marriage is for) but because I need to have kids with her?


#25

The word you’re looking for is impotent. Incompetent people marry all the time.:slight_smile:

While love is great, it’s not necessary for marriage, beyond a love for your neighbour as for yourself.

– You can’t marry if you can’t have sex because your spouse has a right to have sex with you.

– You can marry if you can’t have children.


#26

A couple who is infertile may marry. A couple who cannot have sexual intercourse may not marry.


#27

My bad… lol. I got a mix up with my words.

I guess I thought love between husband and wife was distinct from the love of your other neighbors. And I thought that getting married represented the fact that you love each other. I would not have any interest in marriage if I weren’t in love… I guess I assumed that was the way it was for everyone.

I guess I just don’t understand… If you get married for the sole purpose of having kids, then after your kids have grown up and moved out, what is your purpose for staying together and living out your lives together? To me the answer is love. I don’t understand what the answer outside of that is.


#28

The Church doesn’t teach that having kids is the sole reason to get married. It teaches that marriage is for the good of the couple and the raising of a family but it does not say that having a family is mandatory, only that one must be open to having children if one can.


#29

Well when you put it like that it sounds more understandable, and like I said, I do want to have kids… I guess I just couldn’t imagine not being able to be with the person I’ve developed such a close and exclusive relationship with because of a physical/mental incompetence (using it where I mean to this time I think lol) that I have no control over. You know?

I guess I kind of overreacted to something that doesn’t even apply to my situation, so I shouldn’t even worry about it.

What you said about not being able to marry if you can’t have sex because your partner has a right to have sex with you makes sense to me, and that helped to put my mind at ease on the subject.


#30

I would change that to, “A couple who is infertile may marry. A couple who cannot have sexual intercourse cannot marry.”

It’s not a matter of what the Church permits but rather what is required by the nature of marriage.


#31

Yes, good catch. Thank you!:thumbsup:


#32

Not to add more fuel to the fire or anything, but I’m assuming that once a couple is already married for a portion of their lives and something like old age or disease causes impotence, their marriage is not considered invalid at that point?


#33

I don’t think so. From what I understand, a marriage is invalid based on things when you were married, not afterwards.


#34

Correct. Whatever may happen during the course of marriage does not impact the validity of the marriage.


#35

I am appalled at this church ruling.

A sterile couple may marry, as they must be open to the possibility of child bearing, and a miracle may happen and they get pregnant. If sex is for the procreation of children only, and not love, then these people are not lawful, as they are incapable of creating life. But they have to give sex to their partners, even though it is known they are incapable of creating life.

An impotent couple cannot marry, even though they would love to be able to have sex, and a miracle might happen and they regain their capabilities? And they cannot live together because nasty minds may conjure up a scandal that perhaps they are having unlawful sex outside marriage?

So, those loving second marriages I see every day, between lovely elderly folk who I know are past it, are not lawful? The love, mutual support, companionship and help are not lawful?

What is marriage in this Church? A Catholic breeding program? Where is the provision for mutual love and caring between people who have no other impediment to marriage - they are widowed, annulled or single?

I shall take this question to the Ask an Apologist thread.


#36

It is not a ruling, it is a set of infallible doctrines proclaimed by the Church from ancient times.

A sterile couple may marry, as they must be open to the possibility of child bearing, and a miracle may happen and they get pregnant. If sex is for the procreation of children only, and not love, then these people are not lawful, as they are incapable of creating life. But they have to give sex to their partners, even though it is known they are incapable of creating life.

Sex is not for procreation only, sex must be both procreative and unitive or it is illicit.

An impotent couple cannot marry, even though they would love to be able to have sex, and a miracle might happen and they regain their capabilities? And they cannot live together because nasty minds may conjure up a scandal that perhaps they are having unlawful sex outside marriage?

Medical advances have made it far short of a miracle required to overcome impotence. If the impotent party regains the abilty, then marriage is possible afterward.

It is not just scandal that prevents a couple from cohabitating, but it is a vocational issue. An impotent person is called to perpetual chastity and the other party needs to find someone capable of marrying.

So, those loving second marriages I see every day, between lovely elderly folk who I know are past it, are not lawful? The love, mutual support, companionship and help are not lawful?

A second marriage is lawful if the first was annulled, or the other party is deceased.

What is marriage in this Church? A Catholic breeding program? Where is the provision for mutual love and caring between people who have no other impediment to marriage - they are widowed, annulled or single?

Matrimony is a sacred vocation in the Church. It is a lifelong calling in which the husband and wife reflect the selfless generous love of the Holy Trinity. It is more than just love or just sex or just children.

I shall take this question to the Ask an Apologist thread.

I welcome you to do so and I eagerly await the Apologist’s answer to you.


#37

Thank you for your reply, Elizium. I have indeed written to the Apologist.

I realise a second marriage is lawful, but if now impotence has occurred in the meantime, and age has taken its toll, the law says they may not marry. Heavens, most old women would welcome the fact their new husband is incapable!!! So, if an old man is incapable, he has to stay lonely, while his proposed wife has to find a man capable of sex, even though she’d rather not have it? Two lonely old people who could have been united in holy matrimony are denied this in old age, and cannot even share a house because it could cause a scandal.

I think I’d go down the road to the Anglicans for the wedding.


#38

I don’t understand where people are getting the idea that they have to remain lonely for the rest of their lives. Its not as if having sex with someone is the only way to have deep and close friendships and relationships with others. All the Church is saying is that since the particular relationship which is marriage is a sexual relationship entailing sexual responsibilities (the marital duty etc) it is impossible for a couple who cannot and will never be able to have sex to give one another the rights to have sex with them, and so impossible for them to actually get married. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be very close and dear friends, it doesn’t mean they can’t spend time with each other, and, to be honest, it doesn’t even mean that it is impossible or necessarily sinful for them to live together (although they should probably discuss this with a priest if they desire such a thing to discern whether near occasion of sin and scandal would be an issue in their particular case).

This seriously is not nearly as big a deal as you are making it out to be.


#39

That has nothing to do with it. The sin of giving scandal is to act in a way that someone might thing that it’s “ok” to commit a sin. It does not mean that people might think that the couple might be having sex. The problem is that people, especially the young or vulnerable, might think that it’s “ok” to live together without the benefit of marriage since they see people they respect doing it.

Sorry for the cutting out of the rest. I just want to respond to this one erroneous point. The sin of giving scandal has to be one of the most misunderstood.


#40

There is nothing to prevent a couple who are incapable of sexual activity from spending time together and providing company for each other.

Marriage is about more than being roommates who share living expenses. If someone just wants to share a bed with another warm body perhaps he should get a cat or a dog.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.