Despite the traditional appreciation for the supernatural importance and proper finality of the administration of justice in the Church, the 1960s witnessed the introduction of a new juridical culture in American Tribunals that undermined the nature of the marriage nullity trial as a search for the objective truth about the alleged nullity. The application of the American Procedural Norms of 1970 eroded the proper meaning of moral certitude and de facto eliminated the obligation for the double conformity of sentences. Despite their abrogation by the 1983 code, tribunals continued and in many ways still continue the irregular practices of issuing an immoderate number of affirmative decisions, minimizing the role of the defender of the bond, instructing causes without the judicial method, and not treating the respondent as a party totally equal to the petitioner. These problems can be addressed through canonical formation, better collaboration, and more careful episcopal vigilance.


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pp. 215-263
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