DISPENSATIONS are for Validity


Church law recognizes certain obstacles to marriage in the church which are called diriment or invalidating impediments. These impediments are listed in Canons 1083 to 1094. Not all impediments are dispensable, however. Only those impediments are dispensable which are in virtue of merely ecclesiastical laws, while others are non-dispensable because they are of divine or natural law origin.


DISPENSATION is a relaxation of a merely ecclesiastical law in a particular case (Canon 85). Under certain circumstances, a dispensation can be granted when an obstacle prevents the full observance of the law. A dispensation can be granted only for a just and reasonable cause which must be present at the time the dispensation is requested. In marriage matters, the priest or deacon must supply the reason for requesting the dispensation. In addition, the reason must be objectively true at the time the request is made (Canon 90, 1). 

Canonical Form, although not considered an impediment, must be observed, that is, a Catholic must marry before a properly delegated priest or deacon, for the union to be considered a valid one (Canon 1108, §1), unless a DISPENSATION has been granted. (See Dispensation from canonical form, Texas Catholic Conference-Form III A.)

Regarding the officiating minister, the Local Ordinary and Pastors have ordinary executive power, given by the law itself, validly to officiate at marriages within the confines of their territory provided at least the bride or the groom is a Roman Catholic. Parochial Vicars and deacons receive delegated power to validly assist at marriages within the confines of their own territory with their official parochial appointment.


Diocese of Austin Pastoral Manual 

Appendix II: Dispensations and Impediments (Scroll to page S-39)

Note:  Please consult the tribunal as needed for additional explanation and clarification. 



Dispensation Forms: