I was wondering about the definition of "quality" in canon 1098 of the Catholic Church's 1983 Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1098 A person contracts invalidly who enters into a marriage deceived by malice, perpetrated to obtain consent, concerning some quality (qualitatem) of the other partner which by its very nature can gravely disturb the partnership of conjugal life.

Would it be fair to say that a "quality" in the sense intended by this canon must be a stable characteristic present at the time of consent? This would mean that something that may have been defined as a quality at some point before marriage - tendency towards drug use, for instance - which later disappears from the person and is absent at the time of consent, is not a "quality" in the sense intended by this canon. Do I have that right?

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    – agarza
    Sep 20 at 3:58

New Commentary on the [1983] Code of Canon Law pp. 1307,8:

(2) The deceit must bear on a quality of the person "which by its very nature can gravely disturb the partnership of conjugal life." A quality of a person is an inherent or distin­guishing characteristic or trait of a person. Iso­lated actions in the past are not normally con­sidered to be qualities. Thus, the fact that a man once smoked marijuana is not one of his qualities, but the fact that he was once incar­cerated for drug possession and, therefore, has a criminal record or that he is a recovering drug addict is one of his qualities.

(3) The quality must be present (or absent) at the time of consent. The quality that is the object of the deceit cannot be one that is ex­pected or hoped for in the future. Thus, a woman who married a man who had led her to believe that he intended to enter law school, even though he had no such intention, cannot claim that her marriage was invalid because of the deceit. On the other hand, a woman who was led to believe that the man she was about to marry already was a lawyer or had been ac­cepted at a law school may have a basis for claiming that her marriage was invalid as a consequence of this deceit.

Exegetical Commentary on the [1983] Code of Canon Law vol. III/2, p. 1298:

the quality that is the object of the deception must refer to the other spouse. This means that the quality cannot be discon­nected with and be foreign to the choice of a spouse but must be intrinsic to the selection of a person as spouse.

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