Civil marriages



I would like to know wether a person born from a civil marriage (from a familly, which never received a sacrament of marriage) is considered as an illegitimate child ? Can such a person become a Catholic priest ?
Thank You


If you are referring to a child born into an invalid marriage, one or both parties of the civil marriage being Catholics, they are illegitimate under canon law. They are legitimate under civil law. If the parents convalidate the marriage, the child is legitimated under canon law or can be legitimated by the Holy See.

If you are referring to a child born of a valid marriage between two non-Catholics married civilly, the child would be legitimate under both canon and civil law.

Can. 1059 Even if only one party is Catholic, the marriage of Catholics is governed not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of civil authority concerning the merely civil effects of the same marriage.

Can. 1137 The children conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage are legitimate.

Can. 1139 Illegitimate children are legitimated by the subsequent valid or putative marriage of their parents or by a rescript of the Holy See.

Can. 1061 §3. An invalid marriage is called putative if at least one party celebrated it in good faith, until both parties become certain of its nullity.

Yes, they can.

Illegitimacy is no longer an impediment to the priesthood or religious life under the 1983 code of canon law.


Hence, if I have understood it correctly, a person born of a civil marriage betweeen a Catholic and non-Catholic is an illegitimate under the canon law, even if legally the civil marriage is a valid one ?


If the Catholic and non-Catholic are in an invalid marriage, yes.

It is possible for a Catholic to validly marry a non-Catholic in a civil marriage if they receive a dispensation from their Bishop.

One would have to ascertain the detailed facts of the case to determine for sure.

It’s not relevant, anyway, as there is no impediment to the priesthood, or anything else, in canon law based on legitimacy.


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