By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Faster Annulment Process Not Necessarily a Burden on Bishops

As I read the Latin in the Pope's recent revision of canon law, the shorter process for declarations of nullity is not a burden imposed on and required of bishops, as some have said or implied, but is rather a discretionary power granted to bishops to be used for the benefit of the faithful in certain situations.

Latin: "Can. 1683. Ipsi Episcopo dioecesano competit iudicare causas de matrimonii nullitate processu breviore quoties:" (Source link);

English: "It is appropriate for the diocesan bishop himself to judge cases concerning the nullity of marriage with a shorter proceeding when: . . . ."

I take "competit" as empowering the bishop, not as requiring him to so act. Thus, the argument that this reform would crush a bishop with extra work is exaggerated. Bishops are smart enough to apply the reforms with assistance, as needed, in the particular situations envisioned.