The impediment, in other words, the restriction or suppression of the juridical capacity of the agent, may arise from natural laws from Divine law, or from human law, ecclesiastical or civil; we may, however, point out that certain cases of nullity, certain defects of acts that the law takes cognizance of, are caused by the absence of an essential constitutive element; for example in the case of a contract imposed by force on one of the parties, there would be no impediment unless in a wide improper sense of the term.
(2) Vow Such also is the case of a vow, not any vow whatsoever, but a vow of chastity, and moreover a simple vow, for a solemn vow of chastity constitutes a diriment impediment.
The obligation by vow towards God is an obstacle to any marriage; consequently it too is an absolute prohibitory impediment (see CHASTITY, and Vow ).
It is possible likewise to count in different ways the prohibitory impediments among which that of "mixed religion" must be included.
Of the many definitions of matrimonial impediments formulated by canonists, we prefer that of D'Annibale (Summula, III, n.
Being a sacrament it is a sacred thing, and as such is subject to the authority of the church; and, being a contract, the church can establish impediments to matrimony, either personal or formal.
Having the power to establish them, she can abrogate them, modify them, and, consequently, dispense from them in individual cases (see MARRIAGE; DISPENSATION).
Their number is not yet determined, not because the doctrine is uncertain, but because several of them may be included under the same title. i) says there are sixteen matrimonial impediments, fourteen of which are diriment; it enumerates them without order in the following distichs: Votum, conditio, violentia spiritualis, Proximitas, error, dissimilisque fides, Culpa, dies vetitus, honor, ordo, ligatio, sanguis, Quæ sit et affinis, quique coire nequibit, Additur his ætas, habitum conjunge furoris; His interdictum subditur Ecclesiæ.
Certain canonists try to limit them to the quasi sacred number fourteen (twice seven); others reckon twelve, sixteen, or even more. Hæc, si canonico vis consentire rigori Te de jure vetant jura subire tori. It contains four prohibitory impediments separated from thirteen diriment: Ecclesiæ vetitum, tempus, sponsalia, votum, Impediunt fieri, permittunt facta teneri.
The Latin word impedimentum signifies directly whatever embarrasses or hinders a person, whatever is an obstacle to his movements, and in this sense the baggage of an army was called impedimenta .