In Catholic canon law, a validation of marriage or convalidation of marriage is the validation of a Catholic putative marriage. A putative marriage is one when at least one party to the marriage wrongly believes it to be valid.[1] Validation involves the removal of a canonical impediment, or its dispensation, or the removal of defective consent.[2][3] However, the children of a putative marriage are legitimate.[4]

Simple convalidation

If the impediment to a marriage is a defective consent by one or both parties, a simple renewal of consent removes the impediment and can effect validation.[2]

When a couple has received a dispensation, the partners may validate the marriage by a simple renewal of consent according to canonical form as a new act of the will.[5] When the impediment had affected only one of the parties and the other was unaware of the impediment, only the one aware of the impediment must renew consent.[5] If the impediment is known to both parties, or the impediment is public, then a public renewal of consent by both parties is required.[6]

Radical sanation

See also: Canonical impediment and Dispensation (canon law)

The Pope or a bishop can give a dispensation to an impediment, giving the marriage retroactive validation called radical sanation or sanatio in radice (Latin: "healing in the root"). Some impediments can only be dispensed by the pope,[7] others may be dispensed by the diocesan bishop,[8] while others cannot be dispensed (consanguinity in the direct line or in the second degree of the collateral line).[9]

Sanatio in radice retroactively dispenses the impediment and makes a putative marriage valid from the time the sanatio is granted.[10] The sanatio validates a marriage by reason of a consent formerly given, but ineffective because of an impediment.[10] When the impediment is removed or dispensed, the consent is ipso facto ratified and no renovation is required. In such a case, it is requisite that the consent of both parties to the marriage had not ceased and that their marriage had had the external appearance of a true marriage.


  1. ^ can. 1061, 3 CIC/83
  2. ^ a b can. 1156, 1 CIC/83
  3. ^ Wm. Woestman, Canon Law of the Sacraments for Parish Ministry, 2007, 355
  4. ^ Wm. Woestman, Canon Law of the Sacraments for Parish Ministers, 2007, 278.
  5. ^ a b can. 1157 CIC/83.
  6. ^ can. 1158, 1 CIC/83
  7. ^ can. 1078, §2 CIC/83
  8. ^ can. 1165 CIC/83
  9. ^ can. 1078, §3 CIC/83
  10. ^ a b can. 1161, 1 CIC/83


Code of Canon Law - Wm. Woestman, Canon Law of the Sacraments for Parish Ministry, Ottawa 2007.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Validation of Marriage". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.