The impediment therefore affects directly the juridical capacity of the agent, restrains it, or even entirely suppresses it; indirectly it affects the action itself, which it renders more or less defective or even null.
An impediment consequently produces its effect by reason of a defect; it ceases when the agent has legally recovered his capacity, whether that be by a dispensation or by his fulfilling the conditions requisite for the act he wishes to perform.
(3) Mixed Marriage Whereas the marriage of a baptized person with an infidel is null and void, the marriage of a Catholic with a baptized non-Catholic is the object of a prohibitory impediment, mixed religion ( mixta religio ); it is therefore a relative impediment.
It is only at the end of the twelfth century that we find, for the first time, the use of the word "impediment" in its technical sense, together with a catalogue of matrimonial impediments.The impediment, in other words, the restriction or suppression of the juridical capacity of the agent, may arise from natural laws from Divine law, or from human law, ecclesiastical or civil; we may, however, point out that certain cases of nullity, certain defects of acts that the law takes cognizance of, are caused by the absence of an essential constitutive element; for example in the case of a contract imposed by force on one of the parties, there would be no impediment unless in a wide improper sense of the term.This general idea of impediments is applicable to all those acts in regard to which the law regulates the juridical capacity of the agents; for instance, acquisition of jurisdiction, contracts in religious matters, the sacraments. A layman, a heretic, an excommunicated person is incapable of acquiring spiritual jurisdiction ; better known are the restrictions placed on minors, religious, children not yet emancipated, etc., in the matter of making contracts; finally, there are many legal obstacles affecting the capacity of the faithful to receive licitly or even validly, baptism, confirmation, penance, and particularly Holy orders and matrimony.The following is the list of the impediments of marriage arranged in what seems the most logical order, with the essential notions on each, except where reference is made to special articles. Prohibitory impediments That is to say, those which render a marriage illicit, but do not impair its validity.(1) Betrothal A valid engagement to marry, entered into by two individuals, constitutes an absolute, prohibitory impediment, that is, an obstacle to any other marriage; by plighting his troth, the man creates a correlative right on the part of the woman, and any other marriage would be a violation of that right (see BETROTHAL).