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55. Affinity as Impediment

1. Affinity is the relationship of a married person within-laws. By becoming one flesh through marriage, each of the twospouses contracts a relationship with all the blood relatives ofthe other spouse. And this is affinity.

2. Affinity sets up a lasting relationship. It does notcease to exist for a husband whose wife dies, nor for a widow withreference to her late husband's relatives.

3. Formerly, unlawful carnal intercourse establishedaffinity, but this is so no longer. Affinity arises out of validmarriage only.

4. Affinity is not contracted by betrothal or engagement,but arises only out of true and valid marriage.

5. Affinity does not cause affinity. Relatives of onespouse are not related by affinity to relatives of the otherspouse. Affinity exists only between a husband and the bloodrelatives of his wife, and between a wife and the blood relativesof her husband. A sister of one spouse is free to marry a brotherof the other spouse. And a man who marries a widow does notcontract affinity with the relatives of her late husband; nor doesa woman who marries a widower contract affinity with the relativesof his late wife.

6. Affinity voids marriage throughout the whole directline. It is a diriment impediment. Thus a widow or widower cannotmarry parent or grandparent of the deceased spouse. Affinity voidsmarriage (and therefore is a diriment impediment) in the lateralfine to the second degree inclusive. Thus a widower cannot marryhis late wife's sister or niece.

7. Degrees of affinity are computed according to degreesof consanguinity. Affinity has no degrees of its own. Thus a personrelated by blood in the second degree to one spouse, is related byaffinity in the second degree to the other spouse.

8. Degrees of affinity are thus coextensive withdegrees of consanguinity. A husband stands in the first degree ofaffinity with his wife's sister (collateral line), because thewife stands in the first degree of consanguinity with her ownsister (collateral line). A wife stands in the second degree,collateral, of affinity with her husband's nephew; for that isthe line and the degree of blood relationship which the husband haswith his own nephew.

9. Affinity of kind and degree sufficient to nullifymarriage makes marriage impossible (without dispensation, which issometimes obtainable ), and when such a union is submitted to thejudgment of the Church, she pronounces it no marriage.

10. In the official process of pronouncing on a union thatis submitted to the Church for judgment, the method of charge andproof is followed.

11. In such processes, witnesses are called, and evidenceis taken, as in other judicial procedures, so that the fact (iffact it be) of nullifying affinity or consanguinity, is indubitablyknown and established.

"O Lord, my God, who will seek you with simple and pure love, and not find that you are all one can desire, for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you? "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"The name of Jesus, pronounced with reverence and affection, has a kind of power to soften the heart. "
St Philip Neri

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