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On the morning he was to be married an elderly man is stricken by a massive stroke. His elderly fiancé is devastated.

He lies in a coma unresponsive with no hope of recovery.

Not withstanding the legalities of the concept in various countries, does the Catholic Church permit a marriage to be performed so that his fiancé can fulfill his wish to marry and there by also be given legal status as his wife and eventual heir?

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No, marriage in the Catholic Church is not a sacrament ministered by a priest. It is rather a sacrament ministered by the couple. Each minister of the sacrament needs to state their consent. The priest is simply the official witness. (source)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

Section III. Matrimonial consent. "The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that "makes the marriage." If consent is lacking there is no marriage." CCC 1626

Since the fiance is unconscious, he cannot be a co-minister in the sacrament, and therefore cannot get married at that point in time.

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    Can we get a more official source than Quora? – Kris Feb 2 at 0:43
  • @Kris Catechism of the Catholic Church. vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm Section III. Matrimonial consent. "The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that "makes the marriage." If consent is lacking there is no marriage." – One God the Father Feb 2 at 1:04
  • Cool so edit that resource into your answer. Thanks – Kris Feb 2 at 1:05
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    @AnthonyBurg How does the Catholic Church define consent in this scenario? – agarza Feb 2 at 1:34
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    @agarza "The consent consists in a "human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other": "I take you to be my wife" - "I take you to be my husband." This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two "becoming one flesh." The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear. No human power can substitute for this consent. If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid." Ibid. So it's a clear expression of consent by an act of the will of each of the persons to be married. – One God the Father Feb 2 at 4:54

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