Would a woman marry a 610 man

Archbishop's Office of Cologne - lack of form - marriage without a church wedding


If the canonical formal requirement has been disregarded,

a Catholic's marriage is invalid for the Church. Canonical formal requirement is called the legal provision of the church code Codex Iuris Canonici, according to which Catholics normally have to be married Catholic if their marriage is to be ecclesiastically valid; this legal obligation exists even if the other partner is not Catholic (cann. 1108-1123 CIC).

  • If members of the separate Eastern Churches (Orthodox and Ancient Near Eastern churches) have married without a priestly blessing, this is indirectly recognized by the Catholic Church as a formal defect.

  • If members of the Reformation churches and communities have married one another without a church wedding or blessing, this is by no means a formal defect for the Catholic Church.

  • Further information on the Catholic view of marriages between non-Catholics can be found here ...


The usual case

The disregarded formal requirement is that a Catholic has only married in a civil registry because he or his partner was religiously uninterested or was already married.

It can also be the case when a Catholic got married with a Protestant partner in his or her church without first going to the Catholic parish office.

However, the marriage in question is not to be regarded as invalid in every case where a Catholic has married without a Catholic marriage.



There is no form defect,

if there was an exemption from the formal requirement at the time of marriage:

  • Either the exemption was applied for at the Catholic rectory in the run-up to a marriage of different confessions (dispensation from the formal requirement).

  • Or the exemption took place by virtue of the law: this can be when leaving the church and in certain emergencies.

Catholics who got married between November 27, 1983 and April 7, 2010 (both inclusive) were exempted from the formal requirement by church law if they had separated from the church through a formal act prior to the marriage. In the Archdiocese of Cologne, leaving the church before the state authority is viewed as such a formal act:

The legal exemption in the event of "falling away from the Church by formal act" results from a clause in Canon 1117, which was newly introduced with the Codex Iuris Canonici, which came into force on November 27, 1983, and which was repealed by a papal decree, which came into force on April 8th, 2010.

According to this, no formal deficiency has to be recognized if the resigned Catholic has only civilly married a partner who is also not subject to formal requirements during the period mentioned, i.e. insofar as the resignation from the church is to be assumed as a separation from the church within the meaning of the clause mentioned.

A resolution of the Cologne diocesan synod of 1954 (decree 610 ยง 2) that leaving the church means separation from the church (schism), which by itself entails excommunication, i.e. already by leaving the church (punishment), continues to apply for the aforementioned interim period.

In the Archdiocese of Cologne - subject to more recent episcopal instructions - the state marriage of a resigned Catholic in the aforementioned interim period is generally not regarded as invalid due to a lack of form; the marriage in question is thus considered to be in the same manner as the marriages concluded between non-Catholics.

If, on the other hand, you want to argue that you had a formal obligation to leave the church because the exit was not intended as a separation from the church (for example: was forced), you could apply for a formal nullity process in order to provide procedural evidence.

  • Catholics in areas where the church was dispersed or persecuted may have already allowed and validly married at the registry office in front of two witnesses (note marriage).

  • Anyone who, as a Catholic, who has had the marriage blessing donated there with a partner from a separate Eastern Church (Orthodox or ancient Eastern) without being released from the formal obligation, has in this respect married illegally. However, this does not affect the validity of the marriage.


There is no longer a form defect,

if he was subsequently healed: through an administrative validation of the marriage (sanatio), which was applied for at the Catholic parish office.

  • A Catholic's spouse cannot always tell whether that was the case or not. Because a validation was possible under certain circumstances without his knowledge: for example on the occasion of the baptism or first communion of a child, on the occasion of a serious illness or on the occasion of other events involving contact with a Catholic pastor.


On the ecclesiastical administrative route

the lack of form can be officially established by the church if the formal requirement was disregarded by a Catholic who did not leave the church at the time of marriage. You can find further information on this form defect procedure here ...

  • If a Catholic wants to marry a person who belongs to a separate Eastern Church and as such was not married with a priestly blessing, the administrative route can usually also be followed.