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The former forbid any marriage of the person on whom the impediment falls, for instance, impotency, Holy orders, etc., the latter forbid the marriage with certain definite persons only; such for example are relationship, crime, etc.(4) Impediments may be also public or hidden according as the fact giving rise to them is known or secret, or in other words, may be proved easily or with difficulty.Most of the impediments arising from ecclesiastical law are dispensed from with more or less felicity (cf. Such would be the case of a married man, who had obtained a divorce, he being thereby absolutely incapable of validly marrying another woman.Such also is the impediment of form, or clandestinity, which renders the contract null and void, if the requisite conditions of publicity have not been complied with, namely the presence of the parish priest of the locality or his delegate, and of two witnesses; it is an impediment properly so-called, though it does not act directly by affecting the personal capacity of the contracting party.Another interesting fact is that whereas the word impediment has thus acquired a precise technical meaning in canon law, the cognate words ) the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
The list that was received almost universally, and which, with a few changes, still figures in most canonical treatises on marriage, and is followed step by step, by many authors including St. But after the Council of Trent, which created the impediments of abduction and clandestinity, these thirteen were increased to fifteen; the last hemistich, "si forte coire nequibis", was replaced by "si clandestinus, et impos"; and for abduction was added the hexameter "Raptave sit mulier, loco nec reddita tuto".On the other hand, impediments improperly so called do not imply the juridical incapacity of the agent, but the absence of a due consent on his part, whether from want of knowledge, liberty, or will.In that case it is the contract that is nonexistent, because it lacks an essential element; wherefore, such impediments are not, properly speaking, created or established by the law, and are not matter for dispensation.However the doctrine of the School soon becomes fixed and with it the terminology.The distinction between diriment and prohibitory impediments is sharply marked, and a more or less successful attempt is made to classify the diriment impediments.
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