It has always been a sin for a Catholic to marry in a Protestant Church. But in Australia, prior to April 19th, 1908, such marriages, though sinful, were regarded as valid by the Catholic Church. Since 1908 such marriages are invalid. If a Catholic wishes to contract a valid marriage now, he must do so in the Catholic Church. This law is not a new law. Wherever the Church was solidly established, the Church applied this law. And the law was applied to Australia on April 19th, 1908, by what is known as the Ne Temere Decree. As for its being a man-made law, you forget that Christ commissioned His Church to legislate for the well-being of the Sacraments, and of those who would receive them. If the state can say, “Unless you come before my Registrar, your marriage will be regarded as null and void,” so the Catholic Church can say, “Unless your marriage comes before my official minister, as far as I am concerned, I shall consider it no marriage.” And God sanctions the view of the Church in this matter rather than any legislation of the state. Christ elevated the natural contract of matrimony to the dignity of a Sacrament, and it is as much a Sacrament as Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, or any other. And as such it belongs to the Church.
Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty