Impotency not disability

Question:

I tried to ask the highly intellectual catholics on alt.religion but they home in on one word impotence to avoid acknowledging a prejudice with in the people and in the church. Another just accuses in private of spamming as why he won't respond then answers in public.

A quick Lexis/Nexis search dug up a cluster of articles from March 1996 about a Brazilian couple that was denied marriage because the man was paraplegic, and "therefore impotent" (as the bishop in Brazil put it). The articles don't say that the bishop actually investigated the man's health, but imply that he automatically assumed he was impotent. This isn't exactly the same as banning marriage "because one of them had a disability," but that sort of thinking would deny marriage to many people with spinal cord injuries. For copyright reasons, I won't reproduce the articles. Here are a couple of cites though: Nuptials Prohibited, Houston Chronicle, March 30, 1996, sec. A, at 25. Catholic Wedding Banned, March 31, 1996, at A16 The couple was Elzimar de Lourdes Serafim and Edir Antonio de Brito. The marriage was banned by Bishop Joao Bosco de Faria. I am aware that the American bishops have issued positive statements about the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I would suspect that the actual practice of many priests is to allow marriages despite disability -- even spinal cord injury. But the formal teaching of the Church -- which is still applied in Brazil, apparently -- is pretty hostile to the marriage rights of the disabled. --

What do you say on the above and leviticus 21:16 and the lack of notice the Bible gives the defective of the flock? Were the defective created just to show healng?




Answer:

In the news groups you mentioned that others focused on the word "impotent." That is because that is the word that needs to be focused on. The persons disability has nothing to do with it.

The Code of Canon Law (# 1084 1) states: "Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or of the woman, which is either absolute or relative, of its very nature invalidates marriage."

(#1084 2) " If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, either by reason of a doubt of law or a doubt of fact, a marriage is neither to be impeded nor is it to be declared null as long as the doubt exists."

(#1084 3) "Sterility neither prohibits nor invalidates marriage, with due regard for the prescription of canon 1098." (1098 basically states so long as fraud is not part of the marriage, meaning the sterility is known by both parties prior to marriage, or by neither party at the time of marriage.)

That being said, yes, everyone who is 'impotent' has an automatic Specifically Diriment Impediment against marriage in the Church. Sterility is not an impediment because the person can still perform the sex act, even though children will not be conceived. This is not a prejudice against those who are disabled, because an 'impotent' person is not always disabled.... it may be anxiety that causes the 'impotency'

That having been said, Canon 1073 states, a Diriment Impediment renders a person incapable of contracting Marriage validly.

I had earlier stated that this could be dispensed with...... I was in error when saying that. Impotency is against the Natural Law, and cannot be dispensed.