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Tametsi (Latin, "although") is the legislation of the Catholic Church which was in force from 1563 until Easter 1908 concerning clandestine marriage. It was named, as is customary in Latin Rite ecclesiastical documents, for the first word of the document that contained it, Chapter 1, Session 24 of the Council of Trent. It added the impediment of clandestinity and established the canonical form of marriage for validity in the regions in which it was promulgated.


This was the document that added the impediment of clandestinity to the marriage law of the church. It was also the decree which ended a long debate about validity of marriage and produced sought after reform. Since the Sacrament of Marriage is administered by the parties to the marriage to each other, and not by clergy it is unique among the Sacraments. Fear of possible change in this doctrine prompted the debate, since prior to the Council of Trent (1545–1563), clandestine marriages had been considered valid. These marriages had resultant problems – questions over legitimacy of children; difficulties over inheritance, and the potential for conflict between those who considered they had a right to a voice in the matter.

Canonical form of marriage[edit]

The outcome of Tametsi was to establish a juridical form of marriage. To be considered valid, the marriage required the presence of the parish priest or his deputy authorised by him or the ordinary. And the presence of two or three witnesses. Banns were to be read before the marriage was to take place. For the first time, a record of marriage was to be kept.

A liturgical form for marriage was established. Couples newly married were expected to receive the priestly blessing in the church, having prepared by Confession and Communion.[1]

It was superseded in 1908 by Ne Temere, which stated that a marriage is invalid unless it is contracted before a parish priest in his own parish, or before a bishop in his own diocese, or by a delegate of either. And in the presence of at least two witnesses. Also that the marriage must be registered in the place where the contracting parties were baptised.[2]


  1. ^ Van Ommeren,W. "Tametsi." New Catholic Encyclopedia' ed., vol 13 2nd ed.,vol 13 gale 2003
  2. ^ Concise Catholic Dictionary 1943

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.