dissolution of a marriage

If a valid Christian marriage has taken place and has been followed with marital intercourse, the union is lifelong; it cannot be dissolved except by death. But if, after a valid Christian marriage, there has been no intercourse (in Latin, matrimonium ratum sed non consummatum, a marriage made but not consummated), such a marriage may be entirely dissolved by a special act of the pope at the request of one or both of the parties, or because one or both intend to make a solemn vow of religious profession.

New Catholic Dictionary

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