Canon 11 Of Holy Matrimony
Holy Matrimony is the lifelong union of a man and a woman, blessed by God with the full authority of the Church, for the procreation of children (if it be God's will), and their physical and spiritual nurture, for the purpose of mutual love, comfort and honor, and for the safeguarding and benefit of society.
No priest may solemnize any marriage or bless any previous union except in accordance with these canons and the laws of the civil jurisdiction in which the marriage is to take place.
The priest shall determine the freedom of the parties to contract Holy Matrimony according to the canons of this Church and not in violation of the following impediments:
a) Failure of either party to have reached the age of majority in their state of residence.
b) Mental deficiency of either party to prevent the exercise of intelligent choice.
c) Insanity of either party.
d) Previous marriage on the part of either party (Section 11 and 12).
e) Consanguinity (whether of the whole or half blood) within the following degrees:
- One may not marry one's parent or child.
- One may not marry one's brother or sister.
- One may not marry one's uncle or aunt, nephew or niece.
f) Mistake as to the identity of either party.
g) Impotence, sexual perversion, the existence of venereal disease or known sterility in either party undisclosed to the other.
h) Concurrent contract inconsistent with the nature of Holy Matrimony.
i) Attendant conditions: fraud, coercion or duress or such defects of personality as to make competent and free consent impossible.
At least one of the parties shall be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Parties who wish to enter into Holy Matrimony shall notify the priest at least three months prior to the proposed wedding date, so that the priest may instruct the parties as to the nature of Holy Matrimony and assess their fitness to enter into the marital covenant. He may dispense with the required period of time provided that there is sufficient time to allow for preparation.
Before the solemnization of Holy Matrimony the parties shall sign the following declaration:
"We, AB. and CD., desiring to receive the blessing of Holy Matrimony in the Church, do solemnly declare that we hold marriage to be a lifelong union of husband and wife as it is set forth in the Form of Solemnization of Holy Matrimony in the Book of Common Prayer. We believe it is for the procreation (if it may be) of children, and their physical and spiritual nurture, for mutual love, comfort and honor and for the safeguarding and benefit of society. And we do engage ourselves, so far as in us lies, to make our utmost effort to establish this relationship and to seek God's help thereto."
At his discretion, the priest may decline to solemnize any marriage.
There shall be at least two competent witnesses other than the priest to the solemnization of Holy Matrimony.
The priest shall record in the proper register the date and place of marriage, the names of the parties and their parents, the age of the parties, their residence and Church status, and the witnesses and priest shall sign the record.
No priest shall solemnize the Holy Matrimony of any person who has been the spouse of any other person then living whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court, except as provided for by these canons. No person shall enter into Holy Matrimony with any person who has been the spouse of another person then living whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court, except as provided by these canons.
Any person in good standing in this Church whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court, or any person desiring to enter into Holy Matrimony with a person whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court, shall apply, through the parish priest, to the Bishop of the diocese for permission to enter into Holy Matrimony in this Church, provided that the judgment of the civil court has become final and that at least one year has elapsed from the date the decree became final. The Bishop, after due inquiry into the circumstances of the previous marriage, and taking into consideration the godly discipline both of justice and mercy, may declare the nullity of the previous marriage and grant permission for the persons to enter into Holy Matrimony. He shall give this judgment in writing and on the condition that the provision of Section 12 is followed.
The permission referred to in Section 11 can be given only after the divorced party undergoes counseling from the priest.