Q. 1. What is an ecclesiastical impediment?
A. 1. An ecclesiastical impediment is a Church impediment to a Sacrament that can only be dispensed by the competent Church authority, either the Pope or the local Bishop.
The three impediments that are deemed as "reserved" and can only be dispensed by the Pope are:
• Conjugicide: Killing of spouse in order to be free to marry another one.
• Holy Orders: Bishops, Priests and Deacons seeking to be laicized in order to be free to marry.
• Perpetual Vows of Chastity: For religious brothers and sisters who wish to be released from their perpetual vows in a religious community, they must undergo exclaustration. Exclaustration is an indult (exception) that is granted by the Holy See; it permits religious to live outside the community, however that person receiving the indult remains bound by all other vows so far as they are compatible with their new status in life.
The next six ecclesiastical impediment can be dispensed by the local Bishop. They are:
• Disparity of Cult.
• Public Propriety.