Pope's Address to Roman Rota on Marriage Annulment
"Unjust Sentences Are Never a True Pastoral Solution"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2005 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered Jan. 29 to the prelate judges, defenders of the bond, and lawyers of the Roman Rota, for the opening of the judicial year.
* * *
ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II
TO MEMBERS OF THE TRIBUNAL OF THE ROMAN ROTA
Saturday, 29 January 2005
1. This annual appointment with you, dear Prelate Auditors of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, highlights the essential connection between your precious work and the judicial aspect of the Petrine ministry. The words of the Dean of your College have expressed your common commitment to full fidelity in your ecclesial service.
It is in this perspective that I would like to place certain considerations concerning the moral dimension of the activity of all who work at the ecclesiastical tribunals, especially the duty to conform to the truth about marriage as the Church teaches it.
2. The ethical question has always been asked very pointedly in any kind of judicial proceedings. In fact, individual or collective interests can induce the parties to resort to various kinds of duplicity and even bribery in order to attain a favorable sentence.
Nor are canonical proceedings, in which an attempt is made to discover the truth about whether or not a marriage exists, immune from this risk. The unquestionable importance of this for the moral conscience of the parties involved reduces the likelihood of acquiescence to interests alien to the quest for the truth. Nevertheless, cases can exist in which a similar acquiescence is expressed that jeopardizes the regularity of the proceedings. The firm reaction of canon law to such behavior is well known (cf. CIC, cann. 1389, 1391, 1457, 1488, 1489).
3. However, in the current circumstances there is also the threat of another risk. In the name of what they claim to be pastoral requirements, some voices have been raised proposing to declare marriages that have totally failed null and void. These persons propose that in order to obtain this result, recourse should be made to the expedient of retaining the substantial features of the proceedings, simulating the existence of an authentic judicial verdict. Such persons have been tempted to provide reasons for nullity and to prove them in comparison with the most elementary principles of the body of norms and of the Church's Magisterium.
The objective juridical and moral gravity of such conduct, which in no way constitutes a pastorally valid solution to the problems posed by matrimonial crises, is obvious. Thanks be to God, there is no lack of faithful people who refuse to let their consciences be deceived. Moreover, many of them, despite being personally involved in a conjugal crisis, are not prepared to solve it except by keeping to the path of truth.
4. In my annual Addresses to the Roman Rota, I have referred several times to the essential relationship that the process has with the search for objective truth. It is primarily the Bishops, by divine law judges in their own communities, who must be responsible for this. It is on their behalf that the tribunals administer justice. Bishops are therefore called to be personally involved in ensuring the suitability of the members of the tribunals, diocesan or interdiocesan, of which they are the Moderators, and in verifying that the sentences passed conform to right doctrine.
Sacred Pastors cannot presume that the activity of their tribunals is merely a "technical" matter from which they can remain detached, entrusting it entirely to their judicial vicars (cf. CIC, cann. 391, 1419, 1423 1).
5. The criterion that inspires the deontology of the judge is his love for the truth. First and foremost, therefore, he must be convinced that the truth exists. The truth must therefore be sought with a genuine desire to know it, despite all the inconveniences that may derive from such knowledge. It is necessary to resist the fear of the truth that can, at times, stem from the dread of annoying people. The truth, which is Christ himself (cf. John 8:32,36), sets us free from every form of compromise with interested falsehoods.
The judge who truly acts as a judge, in other words, with justice, neither lets himself be conditioned by feelings of false compassion for people, nor by false models of thought, however widespread these may be in his milieu. He knows that unjust sentences are never a true pastoral solution, and that God's judgment of his own actions is what counts for eternity.
6. The judge must then abide by canonical laws, correctly interpreted. Hence, he must never lose sight of the intrinsic connection of juridical norms with Church doctrine. Indeed, people sometimes presume to separate Church law from the Church's magisterial teaching as though they belonged to two separate spheres; they suppose the former alone to have juridically binding force, whereas they value the latter merely as a directive or an exhortation.
Such an approach basically reveals a positivist mindset which is in contradiction with the best of the classical and Christian juridical tradition concerning the law. In fact, the authentic interpretation of God's Word, exercised by the Magisterium of the Church (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation "Dei Verbum," No. 10), has juridical value to the extent that it concerns the context of law, without requiring any further formal procedure in order to become juridically and morally binding.
For a healthy juridical interpretation, it is indispensable to understand the whole body of the Church's teachings, and to place every affirmation systematically in the flow of tradition. It will thus be possible to avoid selective and distorted interpretations and useless criticisms at every step.
Lastly, the preliminary investigation of the case is an important stage in the search for the truth. The very reason for its existence is endangered and degenerates into pure formalism when the outcome of the proceedings is taken for granted. It is true that the entitlement to timely justice is also part of the concrete service to the truth and constitutes a personal right. Yet false speed to the detriment of the truth is even more seriously unjust.
7. I would like to end this Meeting by offering my truly heartfelt thanks to you, Prelate Auditors, Officials, Advocates and all who work at this Apostolic Tribunal, as well as to the members of the "Studium Rotale."
You know that you can count on the prayers of the Pope and of many people of good will who recognize the value of your work at the service of the truth. The Lord will repay your daily efforts with peace and joy of conscience and with the esteem and support of those who love justice, not only in the life to come but already in this life.
In expressing the wish that the truth of justice will shine out ever more brightly in the Church and in your lives, I cordially impart my Blessing to you all.
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope John Paul II - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
Marriage, Annulment, Pope, Rota,
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Friday, June 23, 2017
- The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Divine Refuge of Love and Happiness
- North Korea's secret strategy revealed HD Video
- A Meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus: My Heart to Gods Heart
- St. Joseph Cafasso: Saint of the Day for Friday, June 23, 2017
- Daily Reading for Saturday, June 24th, 2017 HD Video
- The Feast of the Sacred Heart and Our Mission
- Daily Reading for Friday, June 23rd, 2017 HD
- What if an asteroid strikes near you? HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 HD
- Killer supervolcano under Yellowstone stirs as 500 earthquakes hit park HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.