Is it sinful for a Catholic to get married in civil marriage without sexual relations?


Would it be a sin for a Catholic to get married:

not in church (no Sacrament of Matrimony),
under civil law,
and without sexual relations with the spouse?

If so, would it then be permissible to get a divorce under such a marriage?


A Catholic is required to follow Catholic marriage laws. Yes, failing to do so is wrong. A Catholic may not marry civilly (outside Catholic form) without a dispensation.

The Catholic in question needs to go talk to their pastor.


Since the purpose of marriage is procreation, why get married at all if there will be no sexual relations? Mentioning divorce in the same breath (so to speak) as marriage sounds like that’s the plan in the first place. If you’re planning to get married only to get something to which you are not otherwise entitled, that’s fraud and definitely sinful, not to mention illegal.


It sounds as if the OP wishes to get “married” for the purpose of taking advantage of legal mechanics concerning marriage, without actually having any love or care for the spouse.

It’s a purely mechanical, financial decision in this situation.


Just to play devil’s advocate, in countries where the church wedding does not constitute a civil wedding, the Church often requires a couple to be civilly married before a Church wedding will be performed.
Just saying: we should not make so many assumptions about the OPs purpose.


They do that in France, don’t they?


Exactly. After I was born and baptized, my parents married civilly.


Again, one must follow Church law and Church processes. For those who must marry civilly separaetely from the Church marriage rite, the Church has clear guidelines and requirements in those countries-- including not cohabiting between the civil marriage and the Church marriage (which is typically less than a day or two).

the OP should contact their pastor for guidance.


What if the two people simply see the civil marriage as a contract?

In the sense that they don’t intend to cohabit or have marital relations with each other, but simply to take advantage of the legal benefits of being a “married couple”?


Catholics must follow Catholic Church law on marriage. No exceptions.

This is known as fraud. It is illegal, and yes it is sinful to commit fraud-- it is theft of government or other benefits through false statements (lieing and stealing).

It also is a grave sin against the dignity of marriage and the sacrament.


You understand that I am in no way condoning the OP’s idea; I was simply stating it more clearly.

closed #12

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