Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2003-11 > 1069016688

From: "bmeunier" <>
Subject: Re: Blood Relationship - was [Re: [Q-R] Information
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2003 16:03:00 -0600
References: <>

As usual, interesting and informative.....Thanks much
Bernadette D. Meunier
French Canadian Genealogical Society
of Connecticut
----- Original Message -----
To: ;
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2003 12:06 PM
Subject: Re: Blood Relationship - was [Re: [Q-R] Information

In a message dated 11/16/03 11:51:54 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

Fr. Taggett, I had heard about couples marrying in this way, that is
expressing their vows during mass to satisfy the criteria of being in the
presence of the clergy. But do you know why they wold choose to to this?

Bernadette D. Meunier

The Council of Trent (Session 24, November 11, 1573) decreed that for a marriage beween Catholics to be valid, banns are to be published on three consecutive Sundays or holydays in the parish church of each party, and, no impediment being discovered, the parish priest, having qustioned the man and the woman as to their intention, and received their mutual consent, shall say, "I join you together in matrimony, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", or other words, according to the rite customary in each province.

Documentation going back to the establishment of the settlements at Quebec, Ville-Marie (Montreal) and Trois-Rivieres indicate that the form of marriage described above was normative, with dispensation granted by the Bishop from one, two or three banns, or from consanguinity (blood relationship) or affinity (relationship in-law) within certain degrees, or other impediments, when required. Although the history is not clear, it would seem that, over the years, the summary of these norms proclaimed in documents published by the Diocese gave rise to a certain ambiguity. To be specific, the diocesan documents included the phrase "en la présence du prêtre et de deux témoins" (in the presence of the priest and of two witnesses), which suggested that the active participation of the priest was not required.

According to canonical folklore, it was a layman by the name of Gomin who first suggested that a couple who wished to be married and (for instance) were getting some opposition from their families, or were refused dispensation by the Church, could sit in the back pew of the parish church during Mass, and exchange consent before two witnesses of their choice. The practice was eventually referred to as "mariage à la gomine", and seems to have been accepted, at least informally as "a rite customary in the province". When Jean Desnoyers and Thérèse Ménard exchanged consent in that way some time before the birth of their eldest son Pierre (26 Aug 1810), their union was apparently accepted as legitimate. But about a decade later, the Bishop of Quebec decided to insist that marriage be performed in the form required by general church law, and ordered that the couples who had married "à la gomine" have their marriages "rehabilitated". Thenceforth, marriages were to be witness!
ed by the priest, and recorded in the parish register.

Half a century later, a couple in St-Jean Port Joli went a significant step further than "mariage à la gomine". When Laurent Chouinard and Marie-Claire Gagnon were refused a dispensation allowing them to be married in church, their exchange of consent was heard by an unordained person on 19 Jan 1774, for which they were formally excommunicated.

Fr. Owen Taggart

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