- An Analysis of Pope Francis’ 2015 Reform of the General Legislation Governing Causes of Nullity of Marriage
- The Jurist: Studies in Church Law and Ministry
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 75, Number 2, 2015
- pp. 429-466
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- Additional Information
Pope Francis’ 2015 reform of the marriage nullity process is of monumental significance for the canonical system. For it not only alters some matrimonial procedural norms that have been in place for centuries, but it also touches on a matter that is of foundational importance to every human society, including and especially the Church—namely, the stability of marriage and the family. The reform, which was carried out rather quickly and with relatively minimal consultation, was based especially on the principle of the greater celerity of the process, as well as the principle of proximity between the judge and the parties and the principle of the protection of the indissolubility of marriage. However, the new norms arguably reveal, in tension with canonical tradition and the consistent teaching of the magisterium, a preference for the celerity of the process over the protection of the indissolubility of marriage. They also introduce some ambiguities about the instruction Dignitas connubii, published just 10 years ago. This reform, while effective and undoubtedly binding, gives rise to new questions in the canonical science’s ongoing reflection about the best instruments for examining the alleged nullity of marriage.