I have a question regarding (I believe) the Petrine Privilege.
Canon 1142 states: For a just cause, the Roman Pontiff can dissolve a non-consummated marriage between baptized persons or between a baptized party and a non-baptized party at the request of both parties or of one of them, even if the other party is unwilling.
What is the theological underpinning of this permission of the Pope? This has even been dogmatically defined at the Council of Trent – albeit in a slightly different context, but the principal remains the same: the Church can dissolve valid, sacramental marriages that are not consummated.
Trent defines: Session XXIV, Can. 6 on the Sacrament of Matrimony: If anyone says that matrimony contracted but not consummated is not dissolved by the solemn religious profession of one of the parties, let him be anathema.
The reference says: Cf. c. 16, X, De sponsal., IV, I. but I have no idea what that means. I found this free ebook online, but I’m not positive that it’s the correct document, nor can I read Latin (and Google Translate isn’t working out for me): /books?id=83pPAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
I know that the Church teaches that marriage is dissoluble, but what makes this the exception?
The Gospel of Mark says: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
The only answer I can come up with is that the prohibition against dividing what God has joined assumes that the two have, indeed, become “one flesh” - i.e., consummated their marriage.