Explanation Wanted -- Canon 1093


Canon 1093 “The impediment of public propriety arises from an invalid marriage after the establishment of common life or from notorious or public concubinage. It nullifies marriage in the first degree of the direct line between the man and the blood relatives of the woman, and vice versa.”

Please explain and provide a specific example or two.

Thank you.



I have no training in canon law but here’s my personal interpretation of this canon:
If a man and a woman lived together as husband and wife without being formally married, he cannot later marry her sister in the Church nor can the woman later marry his brother.


To add to what Todd has said, the person would be unable to marry anyone in the direct line of the former live-in-- this includes a parent, sibling, or child of the former live-in.


Here’s a thread about this from two years ago:



And here is the “Ask an Apologist” response:

There is a difference between and invalid marriage and concubinage. An invalid marriage is one which at least has the appearance of marriage, but is invalid for some reason. The impediment exists when the couple begins to live together in the invalid union.

When the two people habitually have sexual intercourse with each other and the relationship does not have the appearance of marriage, the relationship is called concubinage.

Both impediments can be dispensed, all things being equal.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.



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