Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, General Decree Concerning the Investigation of the Freedom to Marry, January 1998.


In accordance with the prescriptions of c. 1067, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference hereby decrees that:

1. The canonical publication of marriage banns is no longer obligatory, except where required by the prescriptions of civil law regarding the publication or receipt of a marriage licence.

2. If banns are not published, the freedom of the parties to marry before the Church shall, in the case of Catholics, be determined by their presenting a baptismal certificate dated no more than six months previously.

3. Furthermore, the pre-nuptial enquiry, as determined in decree no. 25 of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, shall also focus on the freedom of the parties to marry, their understanding and acceptance of the ends and essential properties of marriage, and on any possible impediments.

pg. 1056

pg. 1057
4. Banns may be published or posted if the parties so request or if diocesan statutes so recommend.

5. If banns are published, a written attestation shall be forwarded to the parish where the marriage is to be celebrated.

6. Persons marrying outside the parish of either of the parties, or, in the case of a mixed marriage, outside the parish of the Catholic party, shall provide a letter of freedom from their parish priest(s).




Code of Canon Law Annotated (Montréal: Wilson & Lafleur Limitée, 2004): 1782.