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Pope addresses annulment question.

Vatican City -- In a speech to the judges and lawyers of the Roman Rota, the church's central appellate court, on January 29, 2005, Pope John Paul II emphasised that all those involved in ecclesiastical tribunals have the duty to conform to the truth about marriage as the Church teaches it.

He noted a concern in recent years regarding declaring failed marriages null and void for principally "pastoral" reasons. Many of these annulments have been granted out of feelings of "false compassion" and with little regard for objective truth.

Based on 2002 statistics, 56,000 requests for annulment went before local diocesan tribunals that year. Of the 46,000 granted, 31,000 came from North America, compared with 9,000 from Europe. This contrasts with numbers in the mere hundreds in the U.S.A. of the 1960s.

Concern caused by these numbers has prompted the Vatican to issue a revised handbook of rules for Church marriage tribunals. Entitled Dignitas Conubii (The dignity of marriage) and issued by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the document gives instructions "aimed at ascertaining the truth" of whether a marriage actually existed.

Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Council, while emphasizing that the dignity of marriage must be defended "even if this requires going against the current", refused to commit himself on whether fewer annulments would be granted under the updated rules.

The previous tribunal guidelines date back to 1936. (FiLes from Zenit. Yahoo!news. Cath. Register)
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Title Annotation:Vatican
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EXVA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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