Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater: the institution of the godparent in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation

WE DO NOT THROW THE BABY AWAY WITH THE DIRTY WATER: THE INSTITUTE OF THE GODFATHER IN THE SACRAMENTS OF BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION

Given the current situation, I believe that in pastoral practice, it would be worth making further efforts to restore dignity and value to the figure of the godfather, taking into account its pedagogical function but, even before, of the typically ecclesial connotation of his presence.

– Theology and canon law –

AuthorTeodoro Beccia

Author
Teodoro Beccia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The institution of godparents dates back to the early Church, when the duty to baptize children was imposed, though, presumably, at the beginning the children were introduced directly by their parents. Tertullian refers to the sponsores the guarantee, but the terms used in ancient times are different and very evocative: receivers, pregnant women, fideas, protestants who attend the baptism of children (cf.. Of Baptism, 18, 11, in PL I, 1221). The need for godparents was perhaps correlated with baptism conceived as a new birth, which therefore required new fathers.

In continuity with this line of reflection, later Saint Thomas would recall that the spiritual regeneration brought about by baptism resembles the carnal one and, as in this the child needs a nurse and a pedagogue, so in the spiritual one there is a need for someone to instruct him in faith and Christian life (Summa Th. III, q. 67, a. 7). The institute, or godfather ministry, certainly appears to be related to the catechumenate of adults. Taking into account the situation in which Christians found themselves during the persecution by the Roman Empire, to prevent any intruders from entering the communities, it was required that the candidate for baptism be presented by some known believer, who guaranteed the seriousness of his intentions and accompanied him during the catechumenate and the conferral of the Sacrament, as well as subsequently ensuring their fidelity to the commitment made.

Coming to the present day, priests caring for souls often now find themselves in difficulty when they have to deal with the question of choosing godparents. The cases are very varied. There are parents who, in order not to harm any relative, would like to do without godparents on the occasion of their children's Baptism or Confirmation.. Sometimes we are instead faced with the proposal of godparents who are in an "irregular" situation and who therefore cannot be admitted. Moreover, with the intense migratory phenomenon that characterizes our era, it also happens that a request is made to accept as godfather or godmother faithful belonging to Churches or ecclesial communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church, with the exception of the Orthodox Churches (cf.. can. 685 § 3 of the Eastern Code, Cceo and other).

All this leads to asking some questions: Godparents are really necessary and it makes sense to continue to request their presence, given that their office has often become a "liturgical lie" as some have called it? What is their function? What are the requirements to be admitted to this position?

Godparents are necessary? We try to give an answer to this question through the legislation of the Code of Canon Law, which is about the godfather (or godmother) of baptism according to cann. 872-874 and the godfather (or godmother) of confirmation at cann. 892-893. Let it be the can. 872 that the dog. 892, in reference to the obligation to give the person being baptized or confirmed a godparent, they use the same expression: as much as possible (as far as possible): the rule is not exhaustive or preceptive, as it was not in the previous Code of 1917, but it must not be considered merely optional either.

Regarding Baptism, the reasons for the presence are appropriately indicated in a short but dense passage of the General Introduction of the Rite of Baptism of Infants (cf.. 8) and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (cf.. 8):

«The godfather expands the family of the person being baptized in a spiritual sense and represents the Church in her role as mother».

Its function, so, it is not only liturgical ― nor can it be reduced to a merely choreographic presence ― but also pedagogical, as the canon recalls. 872 § 1, that, in addition to the task of assisting the adult being baptized and introducing the infant being baptized, calls for cooperation so that the godchild leads a Christian life in conformity with the Sacrament and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent to it.

An effective description of the godfather's task, in the case of the baptism of an adult, but which suggests criteria of judgment applicable by analogy also to the godparents of newborns, is indicated at no. 43 of the To be noted to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults:

"The Godfather, chosen by the catechumen for his example, for his talents and his friendship, delegated by the local Christian community and approved by the priest, accompanies the candidate on election day, in the celebration of the sacraments and in mystagogy. It is his task to show the catechumen the practice of the Gospel in individual and social life with friendly familiarity, help him in his doubts and anxieties, bear witness to him and take care of the development of his baptismal life. Chosen even before the "election", when he bears witness to the catechumen before the community; his office retains all its importance even when the neophyte, received the Sacraments, still needs help and support to remain faithful to the promises of Baptism".

Even for Confirmation, what requires the presence of the godfather is not the celebration as such, but the Christian formation of the candidate for confirmation, as the canon recalls. 892, which refers to the dual function of ensuring that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent to the same Sacrament (can. 892). Therefore not a mere ornamental appearance next to the candidate for confirmation at the time of the celebration, but a ministry that is founded in the Sacrament and which also asks the godfather for continuity of spiritual presence, as a counselor and guide called to educational responsibility towards a brother, who must express in faith and works the maturity received as a gift and to be acquired existentially.

The indication of the Code it is therefore oriented not by minimal choices, but for a pastoral care to be renewed. Outside of extraordinary cases, the Confirmation godfather must be there (the science, about it, a response from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the discipline of the Sacraments (cf.. Information 11 [1975], pp. 61-62).

The requirements. The can. 874 is responsible for presenting the necessary requirements to be admitted to the office of godfather/godmother at both baptism and confirmation (cf.. can. 893 § 1). Let's limit ourselves here to focusing on just a few points, starting from previous legislation:

1) for both Sacraments, the godfather must have received all three Sacraments of initiation (signifying the intimate union between them), not just the one for whom he acts as godfather;

2) the dog. 893§ 2 remember the opportunity (expedient) that the godfather of confirmation is the same as that of baptism (to underline the profound connection between the two Sacraments), whereas previously this was prohibited;

3) a godfather of the same sex as the person being baptized/confirmed is no longer required;

4) the prohibition on clerics and religious men and women from acting as godfathers and godmothers no longer exists, without express permission from the ordinary or at least the local superior. However, religious institutes could establish their own rules.

5) Regarding age (16 year old), with a particular law the bishop can establish a different one, but also the parish priest or the minister, for just cause, can introduce the exception, taking into account a rather broad criterion but which should never obscure the ecclesiological reason motivating the presence of the godfather.

6) The godfather must be a faithful Catholic. The reason for this apparent "ecumenical restriction" is to be found not only in the danger of indifferentism, from which the Council itself warned (cf.. To nations 15 e Eastern Churches 26), but even more so in the ecclesial value of gift of godfather: from the nature of the matter you cannot represent an ecclesial community with which you are not in full communion, nor even express faith in it. In this perspective, the code provision is consistent with the awareness that the Church has of its own identity, and therefore it is also profoundly ecumenical. That being the case, members of ecclesial communities separate from the Catholic Church are excluded from the role of godparents, who can act as witnesses together with a Catholic godfather.

As for the "Orthodox", united with us by very close bonds (UR 15) the dog. 685 § 3 of the Eastern Code (Cceo) admits that one of their followers can fulfill the role of godfather, but always together with a Catholic godfather. In the baptism of a Catholic, by virtue of the close communion existing between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, it is therefore allowed, for a valid reason, admit an Eastern faithful with the role of godfather together with a Catholic godfather (or a godmother), provided that the suitability of the godfather is recognized. However, Christian education will primarily be the responsibility of the Catholic godfather, as it represents the Christian community and is the guarantor of the faith and desire for ecclesial communion of the baptized person and/or his parents (cf.. Vademecum for the Pastoral Care of Catholic Parishes towards non-Catholic Orientals, the, n. 16).

Other requirements too indicated by can. 874 § 1, 3° they are very qualifying to define the profile of the godfather. Dutifully respected, have a profound impact on both the designation of the person, and on the way of understanding the task.

It is up to the particular legislation determine what it means to “lead a life in conformity with faith”: Different environments and situations lead to different determinations. The case history is as broad as ever: we range from the whole range of possibilities relating to those who find themselves in an irregular marital situation, to those who profess atheism and agnosticism; from those dedicated to magical arts to those who are notorious members of a sect, of an association that plots against the Catholic Church (cf.. can. 1374: so for example Freemasonry), or appears to belong to some criminal group (like the Mafia, at N'drangheta, the Camorra or other mafia-type criminal groups).

In the end, against the practice of replacing godparents with parents, without foundation and justification, remember (can 874, § 1,5) that neither father nor mother can act as godparents, for it would be absurd to think of parents as helping themselves as godparents to their children. About the number, the dog. 873 states that only one godfather is enough, while in the case there are two, they must be of different sex. The can. 892, which deals with the godfather of confirmation, instead it prescribes only one godfather or godmother.

The role of the witness: it cannot be forgotten that among the tasks of the godfather there is also that of proving that the Baptism or Confirmation has taken place. Can. refers to this function. 875: it introduces the figure of witness of baptism that, unlike that of the godfather, it is not subject to any conditions and plays a role similar to that of marriage witnesses (cf.. can. 1108 §2) albeit without being, as in this case, ad validity. In order to obtain valid marital consent, ad validity the simultaneous presence of two witnesses is required, the assistant as a qualified witness and the valid consent of the bride and groom. In the case of Baptism or Confirmation, the witness only has the task of certifying the conferral, therefore it is not necessary for the validity of the Sacrament (cf.. cann. 875-877). Consequently, the figure of the witness is not subject to any conditions. The only requirement is that the person chosen as a witness has the use of reason and is capable of testifying.

The possibility is thus offered to deal with some particular situations in which the chosen person could not otherwise hold the role of godparent: thus for example in the case of a believer belonging to a Protestant ecclesial community (cf.. can. 874 §2), or is cohabiting, divorced, remarried or in another irregular marital situation, or declares himself an agnostic or atheist, or has formally and publicly abandoned the Catholic faith through the so-called "banging". This is a solution that can potentially generate ambiguity, misunderstandings and misleading interpretations, it must be adopted with prudence and caution, while, on the other hand, it will be necessary to explain with absolute clarity that the baptism witness is in no way "a kind of godfather", but a completely different figure.

The CEI document We meet Jesus, the 29 June 2014, he claims:

«The regional Episcopal Conferences are asked to discern on the matter and evaluate the pastoral opportunity of supporting - only as witnesses of the sacramental rite - those people indicated by the family who, despite not having prescribed requirements, they always express a positive parental closeness, affective and educational".

A for this purpose they can be found online various pronouncements on the matter. We cite for example the provisions of the Sardinian Episcopal Conference and the Diocese of Aosta. Therefore, as much as possible, it is necessary to give training to GodparentsWitnesses to accompany the Baptized in the choice of Christian life, without prejudice to the freedom of the Witness who cannot be forced to share or embrace this life choice.

The usefulness of the figure of the Witness it is merely legal or responds to the need for certification of the conferment of Baptism or Confirmation. From a pastoral point of view, the document also presents it as a possible solution to meet those situations of incompatibility of the requirements for the role of godparent.

The age of the witness at Baptism or Confirmation it is not specified as in the case of Marriage, where the age of majority is required, or in the case of godparents where the age of the child is required 16 year old. Logically, for the age of the Witness, the evaluation of the Parish Priest or the Diocesan Bishop could be applied as a criterion., as in the case of the Godfathers can. 847 §1 n.2. During the celebration, differently from the Godfather and the Godmother, the Witness must not be given any active participation since their role is solely that of guarantors for the certification of the conferment of the Sacrament. Each diocesan bishop will be able to give further provisions regarding the celebratory context

As regards the registration of the baptismal certificate in the parish register it must be underlined that, in the case of the witness of a Baptism foreseen by can. 874 §2, the name and surname of the witness and the personal details must be noted as required by canon. 877 [5].

The certificate problem. The Code of Canon Law, in the canons dedicated to the godfather of baptism and confirmation, he never mentions the need to produce, from the godfather, or the parish priest, of any type of certificate / certificate / self-certification. We are faced with a case in which the practice has now taken on a meaning Besides the, often linked to the fact that the priest caring for souls does not have full knowledge to establish the admissibility of a person to the office of godfather, because he doesn't know him, comes from another parish, often far away, etc. etc…

“Canonizing” the civil order, we can observe how already in various dioceses and parishes, the "certificate of suitability" has been replaced with a "self-certification of suitability". But let's see what self-certification is: civil law has introduced the possibility of providing the Public Administration and private individuals with a declaration made and signed by a citizen which completely and definitively replaces some administrative certifications. This is why it is also called "substitute declaration". AND, so, a way to avoid bureaucracy and unnecessary waste of time, especially when you choose to self-certify online. According to the law, public offices are obliged to accept self-certification for the required practices. If not, would incur a violation of official duties. The situation is different when it comes to private individuals: whether or not to accept this declaration remains a matter of discretion for them. Therefore, the self-certification has the same legal and administrative value as the certificate or document it replaces. As long as the truth is told: if the data contained in the self-certification turns out to be false, the interested party loses all benefits.

Self-certification, being a declaration made personally by the interested party, it could reveal itself, if implemented in the local legislation of the diocese, a substantial simplification of work for priests caring for souls: the interested party will be able to declare himself the existence of the requirements for access to the office of godfather and commit himself in this sense to the Church directly in front of the parish priest who will have to administer the Sacrament, without requesting a certificate from the parish priest of residence which often the parish priest himself could not issue for the reasons set out above, that is, the impossibility for the priest to be able to certify a situation of which he may not be aware for a whole series of reasons that we know well.

Given the current situation, I believe that in pastoral practice, it would be worth making further efforts to restore dignity and value to the figure of the godfather, taking into account its pedagogical function but, even before, of the typically ecclesial connotation of his presence. We cannot hide the fact that the deviations of the past weigh on the figure of the godfather, but this cannot justify the emotional reaction of those who now consider it useless, nor of those who easily access the convenient solution of not requiring the presence of godparents, because he can't find any suitable ones. If there aren't any, they must be trained, through appropriate paths that enhance this office, which has the characteristics and dignity of a true lay ministry (cf.. The lay 23).

Among the various proposals, there are those who suggest engaging the godparents to keep watch, albeit discreetly, on the education of godchildren, warning the parish priest about deficiencies and deviations, in order to provide, within the scope of possibilities and limits, for a return to goodness. Somebody else, then, believes that they could be given the task of taking care of the godson in the event of an early orphan. Perhaps a reminder of that spiritual kinship that, de facto, comes to be established between godfather and godson, and to which the Code of 1917, recognizing its high sacramental and pastoral value, it connected a marital impediment, today no longer in force in the Latin code but fully understood and implemented as a law on marriage by the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

 

Velletri of Rome, 11 November 2023

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Religious marriage canceled or invalid? The reform of the canonical matrimonial process

RELIGIOUS MARRIAGE CANCELED OR VOID? THE REFORM OF THE CANONICAL MARRIAGE PROCESS

We are really sure that «only the rich can afford to go to Rome at the Tribunal of the Sacred Rota to get high cancel weddings and getting married again in church"?

– Theology and canon law –

AuthorTeodoro Beccia

Author
Teodoro Beccia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Those who dedicate themselves to the care of souls, he is often forced to read on the various blogs of wise all-rounders, or to hear statements of this kind directly from the mouth of certain naive or ill-informed believers: «Only the rich can afford to go to Rome at the Tribunal of the Sacred Rota to get stoned cancel weddings and getting married again in church".

A marriage, both the one contracted between two rich people and the one contracted between two poor people, no one has the power to undo it, because the Sacraments are not available goods, let alone voidable. If the money was enough to cancel a rich man's wedding, the Church would have been spared the English schism of 1533, originated from Henry VIII who left his wife Catherine to marry Anne Boleyn. In that case we wouldn't have even had a famous martyr saint, Thomas More, sentenced to death for having declared illicit the act of supremacy exercised by the sovereign over the Catholic Church of England, which produced a schism, precisely because no one had the power to annul a Sacrament.

A marriage can be declared null and void, not cancelled, in fact declare the nullity it's something totally different from cancel. It is not the "expensive" Sacred Roman Rota referred to as the "court for the rich" that checks whether the elements of matrimonial nullity exist., but the diocesan ecclesiastical tribunals. The Tribunal of the Sacred Rota is one of the three judicial bodies of the Holy See and is based at Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, which in the ecclesiastical legal system is equivalent to the Supreme Court of Cassation of our Italian legal system:

«The Apostolic Signatura, as an administrative tribunal for the Roman Curia, judges appeals against singular administrative acts, both established by the Departments and the Secretariat of State and approved by them, whenever it is discussed whether the contested act has violated any law, in deliberating or proceeding" [see WHO].

Claim that «marriages are dissolved by the Rota» it would be equivalent to saying that a cause, rather than in the ordinary court (first degree) or the court of appeal (second degree) be discussed directly at the Supreme Court of Cassation (!?).

Many Catholic faithful united in a sacred marriage bond, either out of superficiality or out of ignorance, they never bothered to contact the parish priests or the bishops directly to represent the situations of their failed marriages and asking if there were the necessary elements to be able to intervene with a sentence of nullity, which is the responsibility of the Diocesan Tribunal. Most divorce and remarry, then if anything they go around saying, some even crying, that "only the rich can afford to pay to have their marriages annulled by the Church" (sic!).

The costs of a matrimonial nullity case they are truly laughable, when compared with the costs and fees of Italian civil lawyers who handle divorce cases. To avoid any kind of abuse, the Holy See has established a precise tariff for the out-of-pocket expenses of these causes which can amount to a minimum of 1.600 to a maximum of 3.000 Euro. Furthermore, free legal aid is provided and granted for poor people. The cases under appeal before the Roman Rota, following the Rescript of the Supreme Pontiff Francis of 7 December 2015 they are free:

«The Roman Rota should judge cases according to evangelical generosity, that is, with patronage out of office, except for the moral obligation for wealthy believers to pay an oblation of justice in favor of the causes of the poor" [see WHO].

The Apostolic Letters in the form of a Motu Proprio: Gentle Judge Lord Jesus e Gentle and merciful Jesus (for the Latin rite churches and the Eastern rite churches respectively), promulgated by His Holiness Francis II 15 August 2015, they intervened to reform the matrimonial procedural matter in response mainly to the delay with which the judgment was usually defined, to the detriment of the faithful who were forced to wait a long time for the definition of their state of life, as well as to satisfy the need, raised in the ecclesiastical context, to make the procedures for recognizing cases of nullity more accessible and agile.

In this regard it is necessary to reiterate that the marital process does not “annul” the marriage (as it is often mistakenly indicated) but intervenes to ascertain the nullity of a marriage, albeit celebrated with the necessary external forms. In this perspective, Pope Francis wanted to share the task of protecting the unity and discipline of marriage with the diocesan bishops. Also the reform, aiming for greater speed of proceedings, can fully ensure the need to obtain a response to requests for justice within a reasonable time.

In the reform we can highlight some principles aimed at placing the care and pastoral accompaniment of the faithful who have experienced the failure of their marriage at the center of the procedure. With the Motu Proprio the Pope foresees the centrality of the figure of the Bishop as a "natural judge" and asks that each diocesan Bishop personally have a collegial Court, or a Single Judge, and that you judge personally in the process shorter. So: the Bishop himself is the judge and this emerges especially in the short trial. The judicial process requires, if possible, the collegiate judge but it is the Bishop's power to appoint a Single Judge.

The need to simplify and streamline procedures led to review, when the circumstances established by the pontifical document occur, the ordinary process. In this sense, the most significant innovations were:

1) the abolition of the mandatory double compliant sentence: if you do not file an appeal within the required time, the first sentence, which declares the nullity of the marriage, becomes executive;

2) the establishment of a new trial, shorter, which operates in the most obvious cases of nullity, with the personal intervention of the Bishop at the time of the decision. This last form of trial is applied in cases in which the accused nullity of the marriage is supported by the joint request of the spouses and by clear arguments, the evidence of marital nullity being quickly demonstrated. The final decision, of declaration of nullity or referral of the case to the ordinary trial, it belongs to the Bishop himself. Both the ordinary process and that shorter However, they are processes of a purely judicial nature, which means that the nullity of the marriage can only be pronounced if the judge achieves "moral certainty" on the basis of the documents and evidence collected.

The pontifical documents of August 2015 have therefore led to a simplification of the procedures for the possible declaration of marital nullity. The Holy Father wanted the Bishop, in whose particular church entrusted to him he is pastor and leader, let him also be a judge among the faithful entrusted to him. In the pastoral context, the Bishop will entrust the preliminary investigation to suitable people, which will serve to collect the useful elements for the introduction of the judicial process, ordinary or shorter, supporting and helping spouses through legally trained individuals. The preliminary investigation will conclude with the drafting of the application, o libello, to be presented to the Bishop or the competent court. Normally it is the spouses who challenge the marriage, perhaps jointly, but the promoter of justice can also do it according to the dictates of can. 1674. Before accepting the case, the judge must be certain that the marriage has irremediably failed, so as to make it impossible to re-establish marital cohabitation. The competent court will normally be chosen according to the provisions of can. 1672 (the court of the place where the marriage was celebrated; the court of the place where one or both parties have their domicile or quasi-domicile; the court of the place where most of the evidence actually needs to be collected).

In the matrimonial process the competent Judicial Vicar, once the libellus has been received by decree notified to the parties and to the defender of the bond, he must first admit it if he sees any basis in it. Subsequently, will have to notify it to defender of the bond and to the party who did not sign the libellus, which has a period of fifteen days to respond. Once this deadline has elapsed, the Judicial Vicar establishes the formula of the doubt, determining the nullity of the case; establishes whether the case will be handled with the ordinary procedure or shorter; in the case of an ordinary trial, with the same decree constitutes the college of judges o, lacking, appoints the single judge.

Regarding the evaluation of evidence, the Motu Proprio introduces some new features which are reported below. First of all, the principle of the value of the parties' declarations is strengthened, that, if they enjoy credible texts, considered all the evidence and arguments that, in the absence of refutation, can take on the value of full proof. Even the testimony of just one witness can be fully authentic. In cases of impotence or lack of consent due to mental illness or psychic anomaly, the work of one or more experts will have to be called upon, unless from the circumstances it appears unnecessary. Yet, if during the investigation of the case a doubt arises as to the probable non-consummation of the marriage, it will be sufficient to hear the parties to suspend the cause of nullity, complete the investigation in view of the dispensation super rated and transmit the documents to the Apostolic See, combined with the request for dispensation of one or both parties and completed by the vote of the tribunal and the Bishop. In reference to the fit process shorter, needs to be clarified, in summary, or in the presence of factual situations indicative of the evident nullity of the marriage, proven by witnesses or documents, the diocesan Bishop has the competence to judge the application.

This new ritual, in other words, allows the diocesan Bishop to issue a sentence of nullity in cases in which the following conditions exist:

a) the request is proposed by both spouses or by one of them with the consent of the other;

b) the circumstances of facts and people make the nullity manifest. These circumstances, normally found in preliminary ruling or pastoral investigations and listed by way of example in the art. 14 of the Procedural Rules, they are not new heads of nothingness. It deals with, simply, of situations that jurisprudence considers symptomatic elements of invalidity of marital consent. They can even clearly suggest the nullity of the marriage. In particular they are:

1) the lack of faith that generates the simulation of consensus or the error that determines the will;

2) the brevity of marital cohabitation;

3) abortion procured to prevent procreation;

4) the obstinate persistence in an extramarital relationship at the time of the wedding or immediately thereafter;

5) the malicious concealment of sterility or a serious contagious disease or of children born from a previous relationship or of imprisonment;

6) the cause of the marriage unrelated to married life or consisting in the woman's unexpected pregnancy;

7) physical violence inflicted to extort consent;

8) the lack of use of reason proven by medical documents.

They will be needed to start a process shorter:

a) the request proposed by both spouses or by one of them with the consent of the other, to the Bishop or Judicial Vicar;

b) the pamphlet with the facts on which the application is based, the evidence that can be collected by the judge, the documents attached to the application. Given the evident presence of factual situations indicative of the nullity of the marriage, proven by testimonies or documents, the competence to judge fit shorter it falls to the diocesan bishop, following the presentation of the pamphlet, who will have to present the facts, indicate the evidence and attach the documents on which the application is based and which must be presented to the diocesan judicial vicar.

As the Dean of the Roman Rota underlined at the time, this reform of the matrimonial process has a substantial impact and comes after three hundred years in which the matter had remained substantially unchanged. Following the reform of 2015 both the diocesan Bishops and the Metropolitans will have to proceed with the establishment of the diocesan tribunal. If a court already exists, but which has no jurisdiction for matrimonial nullity, the Bishop will be able to issue a decree with which he confers jurisdiction on his own tribunal. Moreover, if it is impossible to have a panel of three judges, the Bishop must decide to entrust the cases to a single judge, or decide to join an interdiocesan court competent in matrimonial matters pursuant to can. 1673 § 2 CIC, while considering this a residual rule to which the bishop must resort only when, due to the shortage of adequately trained personnel, it is impossible to establish a competent court in matrimonial matters. We remind you that with the entry into force of By the proper motion of the gentle judge, Lord Jesus was, de facto, repealed the provisions of Motu Proprio Here care, promulgated in turn by Pope Pius XI on 8 December 1938, which established the regional courts with jurisdiction in matrimonial matters.

If you want correct and timely information, Don't go online and type "annulment of religious marriage" into a search engine., because you will find pages and pages of wrong comments and just as many self-styled experts who write things that are sometimes even more senseless on their blogs. Contact the bishops and priests.

 

Velletri of Rome, 12 September 2023

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