Ratum sed non consummatum

Part of a series on the
Jurisprudence of
Catholic canon law
Catholicism portal

The term ratum sed non consummatum (Latin: ratified but not consummated) refers to a specific type of marriage in Catholic matrimonial canon law. If a matrimonial celebration takes place (ratification) but the spouses have not yet engaged in intercourse (consummation), then the marriage is said to be a marriage ratum sed non consummatum. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota has exclusive competence to dispense from marriages ratum sed non consummatum,[1] which can only be granted for a "just reason".[2] This process should not be confused with the process for declaring the nullity of marriage, which is treated of in a separate title of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

ratum sed non consummatum vs. Declaration of Nullity

The favor of dispensation from a marriage ratum sed non consumatum is an inherently administrative procedure, while the process for obtaining a Declaration of Nullity (often misleadingly termed "annulment") is an inherently judicial one.[3] In a ratum the valid marriage bond is dispensed from, while in a Declaration of Nullity a marriage is declared to have been null from its beginning. A ratum ends, for a just reason, a marriage that truly is (although never irrevocably and sacramentally "sealed" by consummation) while a Declaration of Nullity juridically declares that a marriage never truly was in the eyes of Catholic theology and matrimonial law.


The 1917 Code of Canon Law stipulated two cases in which a marriage ratum sed non consummatum may be dissolved:

  1. if one of the parties takes solemn vows in a religious order or
  2. a dispensation is issued by the Holy See.[4]

This administrative process for granting the favor of a dispensation was formerly the exclusive competence of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.[5] Since 1 October 2011[6] it has been the exclusive competence of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.[7]


  1. MP Quaerit semper, Vatican.va, accessed 7-7-2014
  2. Code of Canon Law Annotated, pg. 1327 (commentary on canon 1698)
  3. Code of Canon Law Annotated, pg. 1326 (commentary on Book VII, Part III, Title I, Chapter III)
  4. forgottonbooks.com, accessed 7-7-2014; Association, Polish Lawyers'. (2013). pp. 156-7. Studies in Polish and Comparative Law: A Symposium of Twelve Articles. London: Forgotten Books. (Original work published 1945)
  5. Code of Canon Law Annotated, pg. 1327 (commentary on canon 1698)
  6. MP Quaerit semper, Art. 4, Vatican.va, accessed 15 July 2014
  7. MP Quaerit semper, Articles 1 & 2, Vatican.va, accessed 15 July 2014


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.