Hvis en katolikk ikke gifter seg i Den katolske Kirke (eller i alle tilfeller med tillatelse fra Kirken) regnes han/hun ikke som gyldig gift, men for protestanter (og medlemmer i andre trossamfunn) gjelder ikke en slik ekstraregel – som ble innført ved konsilet i Trent. (Jeg lærte selv om dette da jeg var på katolsk presteseminar i London året 1997-98, i lutherske prestestudier tas ikke ekteskapet opp i noen særlig grad.) Den kjente kirkerettseksperten Edward Peters skriver i et blogginnlegg (som delvis handler om noe annet) følgende:
For more than 50 years, a quiet undercurrent of (if I may put it this way) solidly Catholic canonists and theologians has been questioning whether canonical form—a remedy that nearly all would agree has outlived the disease it was designed to cure (clandestine marriage)—should be still be required for Catholics or whether the price of demanding the observance of canonical form has become too high for the pastoral good it might serve.
Canonical form is an immensely complex topic. It has huge ramifications in the Church and it has major reverberations in the world. I am not going to discuss those here. But if the upcoming Synod on the Family and Evangelization is looking for a topic that needs, in my opinion, some very, very careful reconsideration, that topic would be the future of canonical form for marriage among Catholics. There is still time to prep the question for synodal discussion.
I et senere innlegg skriver han mer om hvorfor bispesynoden om ekteskapet til høsten bør ta opp dette temaet – i 9 punkter. Og han begynner på denne måten:
1. Canonical form, as a requirement for the validity of marriage, is only about four hundred years old; it has been universally demanded in the Church for less than 100 years. By far the greater part of Church history did not know canonical form.
2. Canonical form was hotly debated at Trent; there were serious sacramental and canonical objections raised to imposing form.
3. Canonical form was effective at eliminating clandestine marriage in places where the requirement was imposed. Whether clandestine marriage is still a great social problem is obviously a question. …. ….