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Putative (Latin, putativus supposed) signifies that which is commonly thought, reputed, or believed. A putative marriage, consequently, in canon law is a matrimonial alliance which is commonly reputed to be valid, and is sincerely believed by one at least of the contracting parties to be so in the eyes of the Church, because entered into in good faith; but which in reality is null and void, owing to the existence of a diriment impediment. The Church too in her external forum recognizes such a marriage, until its invalidity be proved; and concedes to the children born thereof the rights of legitimacy.
GASPARRI, De Matrimonio, I, nn. 47, 1375 (3rd ed., Paris, 1904); ROSSET, De Sacr. Matr., n. 17.
ANDREW B. MEEHAN
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