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Priest denies marriage to French couple not planning children

A French bishop has defended a parish priest in northern France who refused to officiate at a marriage because the couple planned not to have children.

Bishop Pierre Raffin of Metz said the priest was correct in denying the marriage because the church requires the "personal adherence to the Catholic Church's vision of marriage - that marriage is entered into freely, for life, and for the procreation of children."

Bishop Raffin said the church regularly grants marriage to people unable to conceive children "for reasons of age or physical impediment," but requires healthy couples to express their willingness to procreate "in writing and publicly" at the moment of marriage.

The absence or explicit refusal, hard and confirmed, of one of these dispositions prevents the priest from solemnizing a religious marriage," he said.

Catholic News Service

Diocese of Metz

11 Jun 2003