Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (changes to the annulment process)

September 9th, 2015, Promulgated by b a

No doubt you’ve heard the news. Below are some links quoting a couple canonists. Feel free to add more in the comments.

wapo: Pope Francis announces biggest changes to annulment process in centuries

Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at Catholic University, said the expedited process would apply to Catholic couples facing certain conditions, including those who have an abortion, a grave contagious disease, children from a previous relationship or imprisonment. Essentially, Martens said, the church is providing a path that looks like the Catholic version of no-fault divorce.

“If I were a bishop, I would be upset,” Martens said. “It’s a bit strange and even a sign of contradiction that a pope who is big on consultation and collegiality seems to forget that on something like this. It’s highly unusual for legislation like this to get through that way.”

Dr. Ed Peters’: A second look at Mitis, especially at the new fast-track annulment process

First, and most importantly, the vacatio legis (a delay period before new laws go into effect per Canon 8) indicated for Mitis should be extended from this December until well into next year at the very least. If, as some assert, Francis’ annulment reforms are the most significant in the last three hundred years, a considerably longer period than three months is needed to prepare for them. If necessary, a request for an extension could be proposed by the upcoming Synod of Bishops.

Second, a much wider consultation about annulment reform should be conducted, a consultation that would involve, at a minimum, many identified diocesan bishops (identified precisely so observers could forward remarks to them) and canonists from several countries, especially from countries with extensive tribunal operational experience.

I repeat, some aspects of Mitis are sound. The elimination of mandatory appeal, for example, can be put into effect with minimal delay. But other aspects of Mitis, especially the fast-track annulment option, need, I suggest, considerably more study. I only hope sufficient time is accorded the wider Church to make such studies feasible.

Dr. Peters again: The pope’s niece might be on to something


7 Responses to “Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (changes to the annulment process)”

  1. ROBERT says:

    This is very good for the process. Mercy for all! More concerned catholics will come back to the Church! And, this is good for the “new evanglization” to progress. Not good to challenge doctrine but procedure is a real plus +++++++++++++++++++++++ On the road to the modern world and the future of the Church. [So many of us are ignorant of the real process of annullment and always say that the cost is prohibitive. No costs in the DOR.] Thank you most loved bishop Matrano!

  2. II Cor 2.11 says:

    Robert – I agree with you. Your words remind me of Pope John 23rd. As he opened Vatican II, he spoke about a time for the “medicine of mercy.” Mercy most of us like, but medicine? Not so much. Its use implies illness and disease. I am a convert in a family of agnostic secularists, cultural Protestants and lapsed Catholics, so I am happy to see an approach involving mercy and love. (See James 5.19-20 and I Peter 4.8) I think that many individuals today are actually the walking wounded, living as we all do at this time in a “toxic sex culture.” I believe people with disorders don’t stand a chance. An anecdote: an acquaintance remarried several years ago. She entered the tribunal and found it a healing process. She was granted an annulment. She had not sought annulment previously because she believed her children would then become illegitimate.

  3. militia says:

    From LifeSite News this morning:

    Now we know what was suspected all along — that Cardinal Burke’s opposing the papal proposal to leave annulment to individual bishops’ decisions without Vatican review — was what deposed Cardinal Burke as head of the Apostolic Signatura. Sadly, he had more insight in that position into the mechanisms and problems of the annulment process than any individual bishop or cardinal could possibly ever have had.

  4. ROBERT says:

    Francis is Pope and Burke is not! PAX

  5. Diane Harris says:

    Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus! Protect and defend your Church, and the sheep of your flock!

  6. militia says:

    Needs to be said. And the best line of all:

    “It is a novelty in the legislation that a legal text ends with the expression ‘etc.’ and it thus thereby keeps open other options”;


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