Page 2, 6th November 1981

6th November 1981
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Page 2, 6th November 1981 — Canon law exposes trouble over marriages
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Canon law exposes trouble over marriages

From Desmond O'Grady in Rome POPE JOHN Paul last Thursday assured the Canon Law Revision Commission that he would give his fullest attention to the results of their plenary meeting which concluded in Rome on October 28.

The new code recognises psychologieal grounds as a basis for annulment. But it abolishes the United States courts privilege of granting annulments after only one hearing. However it fixes a six months maximum between first and second hearing: For an experimental term, Paul VI gave United States courts the unique privilege of deciding annulment cases without an obligatory appeal hearing unless the offended party requested it.

Roman conservatives claim the offended parties often are not informed of the appeal possibility.

Add to this the United States' courts willingness to accept psy chological pleas such as immaturity or unsuitability at the time of marriage. and the result has been a flood of annulments: a Jump from 427 in 1969 to 51,528 in 1979 (out of 62,719 annulments from 70.652 cases worldwide).

At the synod of Bishops last year the Italian Cardinal Pericle Felici deplored the massive increase in annulments in the preceding decade in the United States. Recently on Vatican Radio he claimed that last year the increase had soared to 7,500 per cent.

Canon 1048 of the new code states that those who are gravely defective in the Understanding of reciprocal matrimonial rights and duties "cannot contract matrimony".

This is precisely the "psychological immaturity" which is one reason for the spate of annulments in the United States criticised by Cardinal Felici.




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