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Vatican cold feet on marriage annulment reform


The Holy See will today release its long-awaited instruction on annulment, reportedly without reforms that were in an earlier draft but "removed after skirmishes in the Vatican".

The document - titled Dignitas Connubii - has been in preparation for almost 10 years.

The National Catholic Reporter says several reforms many American bishops and canon lawyers had hoped for which would have made the process even faster and easier were in the original draft. But they were removed after what it called "skirmishes" in the Vatican.

The document is of special interest in the US, where church courts generate almost 70% of the world's annulments each year, a fact that the Reporter says has long angered some Vatican officials.

The paper is promoting a "behind the scenes" report, by renowned Rome correspondent John Allen, which it will publish on its website tomorrow for subscribers.

Allen explains that the document is not a crackdown on American practice, but it also doesn't contain several reforms many American bishops and canon lawyers had hoped for which would have made the process even faster and easier. Those reforms had been in an earlier draft, but were removed after skirmishes in the Vatican.

The document has been prepared by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, with the collaboration of other dicasteries. The presentation, this evening Australian time, will feature a number of officials including Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments.

SOURCE
Vatican to release long-awaited instruction on annulment (National Catholic Reporter 7/2/05)
Presentation of instruction about norms in marriage cases (Vatican Information Service 4/2/05)

LINKS
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

MORE STORIES
Holy See to issue document on dignity of marriage and annulments (Catholic News Agency 4/2/05)
Pope reminds annulment officials to seek truth, not expedient solutions (Catholic News Agency 31/1/05)
Rise in annulment cases for Vatican tribunal (Catholic World News 31/1/05)
Pope Warns Church Courts About Marriage Rulings (Zenit 30/1/05)


8 Feb 2005