Greetings all –
I’m in a bit of a predicament concerning when marriage properly begins. I have been engaged for about a year, and in that time, my fiancé and I have had intercourse. She says that because we consent to marriage and have “consummated,” so to speak, we are consequently married. Now, I’ve always rejected this, saying that sex does not a marriage make.
However, I’m concerned, because it seems St. Thomas Aquinas agrees with her. In Part 4, question 46, article 2, he says:
Secondly, in reference to the judgment of the Church; and since in the external tribunal judgment is given in accordance with external evidence, and since nothing is more expressly significant of consent than carnal intercourse, it follows that in the judgment of the Church carnal intercourse following on betrothal is declared to make a marriage, unless there appear clear signs of deceit or fraud [According to the pre-Tridentine legislation] (De sponsal. et matrim., cap. Is qui fidem).
I would appreciate if, before responding, you could look at this question and make sure I’m not missing anything. What is the post-Tridentine legislation which would alter this? Does sexual union after betrothal make one married?
I also found this, which seems to support my side (that we are not yet married):
From the Council of Trent:
wherefore, treading in the steps of the sacred Council of Lateran celebrated under Innocent III., it ordains that, for the future, before a marriage is contracted, the proper parish priest of the contracting parties shall three times announce publicly in the Church, during the solemnization of mass, on three continuous festival days, between whom marriage is to be celebrated; after which publication of banns, if there be no lawful impediment opposed, the marriage shall be proceeded with in the face of the church; where the parish priest, after having interrogated the man and the woman, and heard their mutual consent, shall either say, “I join you together in matrimony, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” or, he shall use other words, according to the received rite of each province.
Is it possible that we are married, only our marriage has not been blessed or recognized by the Church yet?