Canonical Form requires that a
Roman Catholic marry before two witnesses and the ceremony be presided over by
the Local Ordinary, pastor, priest, deacon, or a lay person with the faculty
(permission) to assist at the ceremony in conformity with the laws of the Church.
Matrimony is not a private matter, but it is a covenant relationship with
Christ which has the greatest role in the life of any society.
In some cases, the Church gives
permission (Permission for Mixed Religion) for a Catholic to marry a baptized
non-Catholic in a Catholic Church. With the permission, this is a sacramentally
valid marriage. In another case, the Catholic Church can grant a dispensation
(from Disparity of Cult) for a Catholic to marry a non-baptized person in a
Catholic Church. In another case, the Catholic Church can grant a second
dispensation (from the Form of Marriage) so that the Roman Catholic can marry a
non-baptized in the church, synagogue or temple of the non-baptized party.
Because the necessary dispensations or permissions were granted, these marriages
are sacramentally valid even though the wedding may have taken place in a
If a Roman Catholic married
outside of a Catholic Church without the spiritual benefit of the dispensation
from the Form of Marriage (marriage before two witnesses and before a Local
Ordinary, pastor, duly delegated priest, deacon or lay person) and this
marriage was never subsequently recognized by the Catholic Church
(Convalidation), the marriage is invalid due to the Lack/Absence of Canonical Form
of marriage for a Roman Catholic.