An Italian bishop has informed a paraplegic young man that he cannot marry in the Church because he is impotent even though his fiancee is fully aware of his disability.
AFP reports that Salvatore de Ciuco, spokesman for Bishop Lorenzo Chiarinelli of Viterbo in central Italy, told SkyTG24 television that "no bishop, no priest can celebrate a wedding when he knows of admitted impotence as it is a motive for annulment" of the marriage.
The 26 year old groom, who took part in a civil marriage ceremony on Saturday in Viterbo, has been paraplegic since he was involved in a car accident. The curate of the parish who was banned from marrying the couple was present at the ceremony.
Canon 1084.1 of the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church states that "antecedent and perpetual impotence to have sexual intercourse, whether on the part of the man or on that of the woman, whether absolute or relative, by its very nature invalidates marriage."
However, Canon 1084.2 adds that "if the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether the doubt be one of law or one of fact, the marriage is not to be prevented nor, while the doubt persists, is it to be declared null."
Italian bishop refuses wedding to impotent paraplegic: media (AFP, 11/6/08)
Code of Canon Law, List of Diriment Impediments to Marriage (Wikipedia)
Impotence and Sterility (Thomas J. O'Donnell, EWTN)