Nihil obstat

Nihil obstat (Latin for "nothing hinders" or "nothing stands in the way")[1] is a declaration of no objection that warrants censoring of a book, e.g., Catholic published books, to an initiative, or an appointment.

The phrase nihil obstat is used by a cleric, of the Catholic Church, known as a Censor Librorum, to indicate that a book contains nothing contrary to Catholic doctrines, faith, or morals.[1] Canon law requires this approval for the publication of books by faithful Catholics if they "touch upon matters of faith and morals", and requires that pastors enforce this rule.[2] The Censor librorum (Latin for "censor of books") is delegated by a bishop of the Catholic Church. The Censor Librorum reviews the text in question, a process that in the modern era is roughly two months long.[3] If an author is a member of a religious institute (such as a monastery), and if the book concerns religion or morals, then canon law requires obtaining the imprimi potest ("it can be printed") of the major superior before publication.[4] The bishop of the author's diocese or of the place of publication (such as a publishing company) gives the final approval by the declaration known as the imprimatur ("let it be printed").[5]

A nihil obstat also refers the document declaring that someone is free to marry due to lack of form in the previous marriage. It can also refer to a document of dispensation from certain impediments to marriage in the Catholic Church.