Canon 72 of the Council of Trullo (691) threatened with invalidity marriages entered between the orthodox and heretics. This canon was never formally abrogated by authorities of the Eastern churches, but it had fallen into desuetude by the time of the disruption of communion between the churches of the East and West in 1054. In the 1950s, canonists, especially in the United States, anxious to find ways to regularize marriages of Catholics with divorced Orthodox communicants latched on to the Trullan canon to declare invalid marriages of Orthodox and Protestants. The argument for the continued validity of the Trullan impediment rested on the claim that since the schism the hierarchs of the Eastern Orthodox churches have had no jurisdiction to change the law and, since the Roman Pontiff had not abrogated the canon of Trullo, it remained in force. However useful in pastoral practice this approach may have been, it was at odds with the recognition of the authority of Eastern hierarchs to govern their churches which was recognized by the Second Vatican Council. By a rather circuitous path, Catholic jurisprudence finally recognized that canon 72 of Trullo had been abrogated.


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