FRANCE: Dead and Not-Yet-Dead Unions!

I saw an alarmingly amusing story at Charisma News:

Marriage Equality Takes Deadly Twist: Woman to Marry Deceased Fiancé

President François Hollande has allowed a French woman to marry her dead fiancé, under a little-known law dating back 55 years.

Pascale Liéard, 48, was given permission for a posthumous marriage to groom Michael, who died two years ago from a heart attack.

Liéard wrote to the president four times before he granted her wedding request. She plans to wear a white top and a black skirt for the occasion.

[...]

I am deeply concerned that this sort of thing will open the way to no-fault divorce of the dead.

Do the dead have rights to preserve their marriages or not?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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30 Responses to FRANCE: Dead and Not-Yet-Dead Unions!

  1. Priam1184 says:

    So wait Father does this mean that I can go to France, find a recently deceased (and extremely rich) woman, marry her, and then inherit her estate?

  2. Tom in NY says:

    Ad iucundum: nil nisi bonum de mortuis.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  3. defreitas says:

    This is an interesting occurrence non the less. I once went to a huge Greek betrothal party held at a rented hall. At one point in the evening the couple came together and a Greek Orthodox priest conducted a betrothal ceremony (sort of a mini wedding). I think they even exchanged rings. Later people were at pains to explain to me that according to their traditions the couple were now married, and the Church wedding yet to come was the sacramental part of the service.

  4. pelerin says:

    I am sure this is not the first time this has been allowed in France. I seem to remember reading about another similar marriage some years ago where a young lady married her dead fiance. I wonder how the Church views this?

  5. Jack Hughes says:

    Sounds like something out of a monty python sketch

  6. tzard says:

    More evidence of the push to have marriage be meaningless.

    Such a “marriage” has no consent of the deceased. Marriage without consent? No more “till death do you part”? And no consummation.

    It would make more sense to declare they were in a putative marriage before his death, and she’s a widow now. But to marry NOW? I’m sure she’s thinking all about the wedding day and not about a life-long commitment, being open to life, or a “living” as husband and wife.

    Culture of death anyone?

  7. pelerin says:

    I have now found out that post mortem marriages were allowed in both France and Germany during the First World War. They were reintroduced in France after the tragedy of the Malpasset Dam in Frejus which broke and collapsed in 1959 killing over 400 people. One of those killed was a young man who was due to be married 15 days later. His fiancee appealed to the President and their marriage was allowed.

    What has surprised me is discovering how this does not seem to be a rare occurrence though I have never heard of it in Britain. According to one source there were 60 such marriages in France in 2008. (Could this be a misprint for 6 – I don’t know) Details given for several of these seem to have been cases where a man has been killed in an accident leaving a pregnant girlfriend who then wishes to ‘marry’ the father of her child. Tragic cases which presumabl;y gave some comfort to the partner left behind.

  8. Wiktor says:

    Soon we will see people “marrying” dead homosexual underage animals. In polygamy.

  9. I am cloudowl says:

    Good luck trying to consummate…

  10. pseudomodo says:

    I wonder what France would do in the case of same sex zombies?

  11. APX says:

    So does this mean that in France, consecrated virgins can legally claim they’re spouses Jesus in, or does the resurrected not count??

  12. Alice says:

    Hey, the Mormons have them beat! They’ll marry two dead people!

  13. SKAY says:

    When will l someone try to pass a similar law in the US once they become aware of it?
    Common sense has left the building.

    Bill to be considered by legislature in Iraq–
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/03/08/Iraqi-Bill-Would-Allow-9-Year-Old-Girls-To-Marry-Husbands-to-Demand-Sex

    The whole idea of marriage “equity” will lead to some unbelievable amd disastrous consequences. I can see several groups in the US forming a coalition to try to pass something like this for similar age groups and it will include the ssm supporters.

  14. Michael_Thoma says:

    This is an interesting occurrence non the less. I once went to a huge Greek betrothal party held at a rented hall. At one point in the evening the couple came together and a Greek Orthodox priest conducted a betrothal ceremony (sort of a mini wedding). I think they even exchanged rings. Later people were at pains to explain to me that according to their traditions the couple were now married, and the Church wedding yet to come was the sacramental part of the service.

    The Greek Catholic Tradition is the same. I’m Syro-Malankara Catholic and ours is also similar in this Holy Tradition. The Betrothal Rite is celebrated in the presence of family and friends, blessed by a priest or bishop, usually in a Church. I and my wife also asked our priest to celebrate the Holy Qurbono (Mass) at the end of the Betrothal Rite. The Formal ENGAGEMENT is sealed with the rings. It is considered binding on both future spouses and although does not require an annulment or divorce to separate, is considered a serious enough matter that the Bishop or priest should seek dispensation if the marriage does not occur.

    The Sacramental Marriage occurs later and the real official Betrothal Rite is actually attached to the Matrimonial Rites. The celebrating Priest or Bishop (the deacon cannot marry Easterners, nor an Easterner marrying a Latin) blesses and places the rings on the RIGHT ring finger of the couple during the Betrothal. The proper Matrimonial Rite involves the Crowning of the Couple by the priest or Bishop – this is necessary for validity.

  15. defreitas says:

    Now Brother Thoma…
    The question is, if one of the engaged couples should become deceased is the other legally and spiritually their widow?

  16. Kevin says:

    Men can do whatever they like with their laws and acts – for example, marrying a dead horse, rather than flogging it – and call it “marriage”, but it won’t change the fact that God views only permanent male-female living unions as true marriage.

  17. av8er says:

    Alice, I literally laughed out loud. Thanks.

  18. Konrad says:

    Sounds like a Terry Pratchett discworld novel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undead_(Discworld)

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    Well, look on the bright side – there will, likely, be no marital discord, almost no adultery, great savings on the food bill and clothing (washing your spouses clothing will be a breeze), you get to claim that your spouse seems to approve everything about you and denies you nothing. Of course, there is the other side – you can’t send them out for milk at 2:00 am (well, you can, but the likelihood of actually getting the milk is slim), they can’t warm your feet at night, they can’t cheer you up when you are down or keep you from making a fool of yourself, and you will never know the answer to the question, “does this dress make me look fat?”

    The Chicken

  20. Ed the Roman says:

    you will never know the answer to the question, “does this dress make me look fat?”

    Yes, you will. You already know when you ask. };->

  21. Langsey says:

    It will be interesting when she asks for a divorce.

  22. amenamen says:

    “It’s not you. It’s me.”

    So, when the woman dies, can another man decide to marry her, post-mortem? Or is she still married to the first one? Why should her death end the marriage, if his did not?

  23. The Masked Chicken says:

    “So, when the woman dies, can another man decide to marry her, post-mortem? Or is she still married to the first one?”

    As the Marx Brothers used to say (from Animal Crackers):

    “Spalding: “Well whadaya say girls? Are we all gonna get married?” Mrs. Whitehead: “All of us?” Spalding: “All of us!” Mrs. Whitehead: “But that’s bigamy!” Spalding: “Yes, and it’s big-a-me too.”

    The Chicken

  24. Imrahil says:

    In the Second World War, German women could marry both steel-helmets (as it was colloquially called) – i. e. a soldier doing service somewhere whatever part, in absentia – or also corpses (of soldiers killed or missed in action). The marriage was to be done “if it would have been done”.

    Of course German the civil power in Germany had an anti-Christian agenda then, however I do not think the Nazis actually intended this measure as anti-religious. They saw themselves satisfying a need. It was abolished later, but I think the marriages done like that still have legal effect.

    There even was a – possibly more Nazi-in-nature – corpse divorce. A women who had married a corpse could be divorced from him if she “behaved indignifiedly” and “the husband would probably have filed for divorce if alive”.

  25. cl00bie says:

    This proves that civil “marriage” has absolutely nothing in common with sacramental marriage except for the misappropriated name.

    “’till death do us part”. Lady, you’re already parted before you’er married.

  26. letchitsa1 says:

    I agree with cloobie.

    Also, I wonder…even civil marriage recognizes that a marriage may not be valid if it lacks consummation. Unless she is going to claim that consummation occurred prior to his death, which raises its own questions, I’m not sure I want to hazard a guess whether or how she will pull that one off.

  27. oldCatholigirl says:

    Presumably its all about getting government benefits, or, perhaps, some sort of inheritance. I can laugh, rather than get teary-eyed over the sentiment involved, but I actually think somebody gets cheated–either other heirs or taxpayers.

  28. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The original intent was probably to provide a decent facade for girls who anticipated their marriages a bit too far, and for the children fathered by the dead men.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    ” and for the children fathered by the dead men.”

    Now, that I would have liked to see :)

    The Chicken

  30. pelerin says:

    The chicken says ‘now that I would like to see.’ I am not going into detail here but I do remember a case in England where a woman won the right to have her dead husband’s child.