If - say as the result of a pre-cana course - the priest finds out one of the parties is not a virgin can the church then deny a marriage application? Does the priest have the liberty to ask? Does one have the liberty not to answer the question and still continue the pre-cana?

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    I would actually be much more concerned about whether you have told your fiance. While I don't believe any priest would refuse marriage based purely on that point, if your fiance believes you are a virgin and you are not, that could cause possible problems in your marriage later. Sorry to be blunt, but this is a real issue. Talk to someone you trust about this. Commented May 20, 2014 at 2:35
  • No, the Church cannot deny eligible couples the Sacrament of Matrimony. (The Church can impose requirements on all couples, like marriage preparation courses, but the faithful have a strict right to the Sacraments if they is no obstacle to them.) Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 20:56

2 Answers 2


Go make a sacramental confession with a Priest other than the one conducting your Pre-Cana, and after the confession ask him. But I don't believe that the Priest is allowed to ask, but I don't believe the Church would withhold the Sacrament. Lack of virginity is not a reason for withholding the sacrament, for one can marry after the first spouse has died, and they would obviously not be a virgin.

And, just to clarify, intercourse with someone doesn't make you married to them. Unmarried, non-virgins can definitely marry in the Catholic Church.


Q. [Pre-cana priest] Are you a Virgin?

A. [First appropriate response] May I ask why? [establishing relevancy vs. morbid curiosity]

Relevancy: In the case of pre-marital sex being the reason for the loss of virginity.

Reading the question, I was thinking under what circumstances pre-marital sex might come up and it is in, for example, the following two elements in Marriage Preparation Policies:

4.Moral issues (cohabitation, choosing not to have children, abortion)


12.Readiness issues (abuse, addictions, age, pregnancy, mental illnesses, immaturity, brief courtship, marriage on the rebound or as rebellion, lack of financial support) cf. An Analysis of Diocesan Marriage Preparation Policies.

Say pre-marital sex is present at the time of marriage but the sex is with someone else other than with the party marriage is being contracted with. That could be adultery at the time of marriage and if proven later by the innocent party when marriage later breaks, that could be a valid issue for annulment.

The probing into pre-marital sex and the underlying reasons, may also help guide parties to the proper understanding of marriage as the Church understands it.

Concluding, honest responses on all elements of the marriage preparation policy are to be made to the priest conducting pre-cana.


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