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Abigail Loraine Hensel and Brittany Lee Hensel (born March 7, 1990) are American conjoined twins. They key thing here is that they (are female and) have '1 set of reproductive organs' unlike

  1. females with 2 vaginas like Hannah Kersey or Hazel Jones

  2. conjoined twins with separate sets of reproductive organs like Lucio and Simplicio Godina and Carl and Clarence Aguirre.

    • BTW, both twins are conjoined twins from the Philippines, the only Catholic country in Asia besides East Timor. Even though they're a different case from Abby and Brittany, I don't think you can say Catholicism hasn't encountered at least a similar case.

Question: So what does Catholicism say about marriage for conjoined twins like them who share reproductive organs: Can they indeed get married (to separate males)?

  • In particular, are they indeed allowed to have sex with their respective spouses even if obtaining carnal knowledge of 1 twin is equivalent to obtaining carnal knowledge of the other? Like... If Abby marries Carl and Brittany marries Daniel, then can Carl / Daniel have sex with Abby / Brittany even if it means Carl / Daniel would be obtaining carnal knowledge of Brittany / Abby?

  • Consider the following scenarios that may arise (as guide sub-questions, not necessarily the main points) :

  1. If Carl and Abby are allowed to have sex and they do have sex, then after they are done, can Brittany and Daniel begin right afterwards? Can all 4 do it at the same time like alternately? Or does it have to be 1 pair after the other?

  2. If Brittany isn't seeing anyone, then is it wrong for Brittany to ask Abby to have sex with Carl on a day Abby and Carl weren't particularly intending to have sex (but then Abby and Carl of course consent anyway) because Brittany wants sexual pleasure kinda like how Jews would ask non-Jews to operate electrical switches?


Aha! I found out that Judaism SE actually has a post for this. What is the halachic status of adult conjoined twins? Your move, Christianity SE! XD

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    I lean towards closing this question on a philosophical basis since the Catholic Church would not condone such sex that shared the same sexual organs (vagina) in conjoined twins. Common sense tells us that it would not be morally permitted. The sharing of the same vagina by two different males would never be permitted; it is that simple. Medical professionals may or may not be able to inform us as to which twin controls the reproductive organs. Until this is verified, I do not see a positive outcome for any marriage at all being permitted. Finding info on such cases is impossible to find.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 0:35
  • @KenGraham ' since the Catholic Church would not condone such sex that shared the same sexual organs' That's the thing. Why is it only a guess? It's not like conjoined twins existed only in 1990. How come the Catholic Church doesn't release any statement even though conjoined twins have existed even way before? But anyhoo, so conjoined female twins with single sets are forbidden then from having sex and being married while conjoined female twins with double sets are not forbidden - is that indeed your conjecture? same with conjoined male twins?
    – BCLC
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 7:56
  • @KenGraham Update: Aha! I found out that Judaism SE actually has a post for this. What is the halachic status of adult conjoined twins? Your move, Christianity SE! XD See it's weird right? How come Judaism has an opinion on this while Catholicism doesn't have an opinion on this? So what Catholicism didn't know conjoined twins exist? LOL
    – BCLC
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 8:10
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    This exactly why it belongs to a philosophical understanding of theology. This deals with unknowns. Doubtful that you will find an official response unless Rome has in fact dealt with an actual case. Until then it in also unknown territory.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 11:02
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    So this is the kind of question that downvotes on questions were invented for! I sincerely hope you get an answer, but the odds are pretty slim. Unlike Judaism, Catholicism hasn't been around long enough to delve into the realm of the speculative. If you want to ask a question about the meaning of the word "use" with respect to sex go for it. It may be less fun, but I think asking questions about what should be the principles going into an answer to this question is more fruitful than asking about the nuances of realities that may never exist.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 13:56

1 Answer 1

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I posit that Catholicism says nothing about marriage for conjoined twins who share reproductive organs.

It would be for the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) to rule on whether such a marriage was lawful. They have never had to consider the subject up to now.

The reason for the absence of consideration may be that ischiopagi and similarly conjoined twins rarely both survive.

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    thanks Andrew Leach what is CDW please?
    – BCLC
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 2:52
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    CDW is the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The "C" stands for Congregation, which was the word used instead of Dicastery prior to Pope Francis' changing the name earlier this year. CDW is the standard abbreviation. Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 7:39
  • @BCLC Computer Discount Warehouse!
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 2:26
  • What do you mean Catholicism says nothing? The twins are 2 persons and only monogamy is allowed. The conjoined twins can't perform a valid marriage. Matthew 19:12
    – Grasper
    Commented Nov 21, 2022 at 16:58
  • @Grasper You make a categorical assertion. Has that also been asserted by the Church? If it has, then please do feel free to write an answer of your own. Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 7:49

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