Banns, prescribed by the Council of Trent session 24 ch. 1, are

Public announcements of an intended marriage. Their purpose is to discover matrimonial impediments if any exist. Unless a dispensation has been secured, three publications are required on three Sundays or holy days in the churches of the marrying parties. Anyone knowing of such impediments is bound in conscience to make the same known to the clergy concerned. Similar announcements are required for those about to receive holy orders. (Etym. Anglo-Saxon gebann, a proclamation.)

Have there been banns or public announcements for those entering into religious life, to insure there are no impediments (1983 CIC 597, 642–45)?

  • What this overlooks is why publishing of banns was ordered by Trent -- impediments as a concept had existed in law for a long time but more specifically because impediment to marriage either meant someone was already married (thus had possible obligations to another party) or because of the impediment couldn't validly marry otherwise (and thus would leave the other party without the support expected). Neither situation is as severe for religious life -- if the impediment cannot be resolved, the party is simply able to leave the order.
    – eques
    Commented May 4, 2023 at 17:41
  • @eques Trent legislated it because of the problem of clandestine marriages.
    – Geremia
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 0:03
  • Correct. The legislation exists to solve a problem which had severe effects -- namely spouses being abandoned. No such severe problem existed for entering religious life with impediments and so no similar requirement exists
    – eques
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 1:04
  • @eques "spouses being abandoned" was a "severe effect" of clandestine marriages? I thought the problem was contracting invalid marriages.
    – Geremia
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 4:20
  • Clandestine marriages only became invalid because of the Lateran law which Trent made universal. Since the spouses are the ministers, the basic requirement is only that the spouses exchange vows. So if two unmarried people exchange some marital vow privately, it would be valid. There was a problem of men doing this and then being pressured by their family to marry some other woman (often, the family was unaware of the clandestine marriage) leaving the first wife without support or aid.
    – eques
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


Cann 645.1 mandates that the candidate shows proof of his baptism, confirmation and free status. The first two can be proved by the relevant certificates issued by the church where he received those sacraments. But what about free status and non encumbrance? Does any parish issue certificates in those cases where civil laws come into play? In most cases, affidavits filed by the person himself and duly attested by a designated authority serve the purpose. But, seminaries are not known to have been obtaining affidavits from the aspirants or novices. Instead, they talk to the priests of the parish to which the aspirant or novice originally belongs, to make sure that none of the impediments are attracted in his case. The publication of Banns is definitely a good concept. It however needs to be done in the parish to which the aspirant or novice belongs.

  • To clarify, as Aspirant is one who is on probation before he enters Novitiate . Usually a boy enters seminary as Aspirant after passing out from school, but can enter Novitiate only after he has completed 17 years of age. Commented May 4, 2023 at 11:14

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