The Object of Matrimonial Consent: A Personalist Analysis
[original Italian: L'Oggetto del Consenso Matrimoniale: un'analisi personalistica, Giappichelli, Torino, 1997. This version published in Forum 9 (1998)1: pp. 39-117]
I. Matrimonial Consent and Christian Personalism
I. Lack of authenticity: deceit or fraud in consent
In the case of simulation, the lack of authenticity in marital self-giving is evident. The person going through the ceremony does not give himself conjugally. There is a constitutional lack of integrity in the marital donation made to the other.
(Opening address to the Canadian Canon Law Society Convention, St. John's, Newfoundland, October, 1997) [published: Forum: 9 (1998) 2: pp. 65-82]
If I am glad to have been invited to speak on a topic other than canon 1095, the reason is certainly not any feeling that the last word has been said on consensual incapacity. It is simply because of a personal conviction that there are more null marriages today through simulation of consent, than through incapacity for it.
The jurisprudence of church tribunals has constantly held that the marriage consent from which offspring is intentionally excluded ("bono prolis excluso") is null. A recent rotal Sentence coram Stankiewicz, in expressing this principle, says that it is the exclusion of the procreative element which vitiates the very object of matrimonial consent: "Since the procreative element enters the essence of matrimony and represents an essential component of the formal object of matrimonial consent, no one of the contracting parties can deliberately exclude it without thereby invalidating the marriage itself" (coram Stankiewicz, 29 October, 1987, n. 3).