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We may remark, however, that several real impediments or obstacles to the reception of Holy orders are not called irregularities: thus, women and unbaptized persons, who are by Divine law incapable of being ordained, are not termed irregular.

But speaking of matrimony, the word impediment refers to all obstacles, whether arising from natural or Divine law.

Though this method of enumerating them is so common, it is not satisfactory, being somewhat confused.

No official list of impediments has ever been promulgated, and indeed it would be very difficult to compile such a list, as there are many ways of reckoning the impediments improperly so called, all of which may be included under a defect of consent, such, for instance, as error, insanity, constraint, dissimulation and others.

(2) They have been divided according to their juridical cause: some arise from natural law, as the different forms of defective consent, impotency, relationship in direct ascending or descending line; others arise from Divine law, which demands unity and perpetuity of marriage, thus forbidding polygamy and marriage after divorce; others, finally, while suggested by natural and Divine law have been created by ecclesiastical law.

(3) A distinction must be made between absolute and relative impediments.

In his "Decree", Gratian neither speaks definitely, nor does he give a satisfactory list; nor does Peter Lombard in his "Sentences".

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