Matthew asked:

How was Mary's marriage to Joseph a true marriage if there was no consummation?

Tom Nash replied:

"'s consent that makes the marriage. It doesn't necessarily require consummation. Now that would seal it making it indissoluble but of course for the Blessed Mother and Joseph there wasn't a question if there was going to be any permanence there given that you have two saints in the truest sense of the word. So it is in fact the ratification, the exchange of vows, the consent that the couple give each other in saying their vows ... that's what makes a marriage valid..."

Patrick Coffin added:

"We've had a couple questions about that on the show in the last couple of weeks prompting Trent Horn to write a blog post that I highly recommend you read. It's called why the Church can't marry the impotent. He makes the point that a marriage, as long as the couple consent to an indissoluble union can later be rendered null and yet both members of the couple have to be able to perform the conjugal act. So Mary and Joseph did have a true marriage, although legally one could surmise that it could have been dissoluble because it was not a normally consummated union. But it's moot because they lived their whole life that way married to one another..."

Source material:

Check out Trent Horn's post on why the Church can't marry the impotent here.


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

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Show air date: August 12, 2014

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tom Nash

Question appeared in show: 45:03

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