Canon 1057 and the Object of Matrimonial Consent

"Giving oneself"

            The obvious answer to the question "what is the object of matrimonial consent?", is, "marriage itself". Just as obviously, however, this is not very enlightening from the juridic viewpoint which is interested in pinning down the specific, and above all the essential, rights and obligations that consent gives rise to.

Matrimonial consent and the "bonum prolis" (Monitor Ecclesiasticus 114 (1989-III), 397-404)

            The 1917 Code of Canon Law described matrimonial consent as that "act of the will by which each party gives and accepts a perpetual and exclusive right over the body, for acts which are of themselves suitable for the generation of children" (1917 Code: canon 1081, # 2.). The 1983 Code describes this consent in apparently very different terms: it is that "act of the will by which a man and a woman, through an irrevocable covenant, mutually give and accept each other in order to establish a marriage" (1983 Code: canon 1057, # 2. ).

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