Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, General Decree Concerning the Age for the Lawful Celebration of Marriage, January 1998.


In accordance with the prescriptions of c. 1083, §2, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference hereby decrees that for the lawful celebration of marriage in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland, the present civil law requirements concerning age are to be observed.1

In particular cases, the local Ordinary may dispense from this decree after having consulted with the pastor(s) of the Catholic party or parties (cf. c. 88).




Code of Canon Law Annotated (Montréal: Wilson & Lafleur, 2004): 1783-1784.




1. South African civil law requires that for a valid marriage, a man must be at least eighteen years of age and a woman at least fifteen years of age. (Editor’s note)