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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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the want of procreative power, is, according to the ecclesiastical law of the Roman Catholic Church, a good ground for either of the two parties annulling the marriage, if the impotency existed at the time the contract was entered into (cap. 2, 3, 4, X, De frigidis, 4,15). But the defect must not only be proved by competent medical advisers, but also pronounced by them as incurable (cap. 4:14, X, De probationibus, 2, 19; cap. 5, 6, 7, X, De frigidis, 4, 15; Resolutio 96 to Sess. 24 of the Tridentine Council of 1731, 1732, in the Leipzig edition by Richter, p. 258 sq.). If any doubt arises the marriage contract continues in force three years longer, to further test the impotency of the person so accused. At the expiration of this additional term of trial the oath of one or both of the parties is necessary to obtain permission for separation. The oldest ecclesiastical laws of the Protestants follow in the main these practices (compare Goschen, Doctrina de matrimonio, note 6, p. 102-106; Eichhorn, Kirchenrecht, 2, 348; Permanender, Kirchenrecht, p. 697; Walter, Kirchenrecht, p. 305). In Great Britain this practice is sanctioned by the civil law of the land (compare Chambers, Encyclop, 5, 1127). See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 3:474. (See MATRIMONY). (J. H.W.)

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Impotency'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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