Warning against laxity in declarations of nullity of marriage

Source: FSSPX News


Professor Joaquin Llobel, judge of the court of appeals of Vatican City and member of the tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, spoke on September 17, 2004 on the airwaves of Radio Vatican. He did this at the time when the annual course was winding down for personnel working in the ecclesiastical tribunals and charged with rendering judgments regarding the recognition of nullity of marriage. More than 200 people from 33 countries participated in this formation, which was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, belonging to Opus Dei.

Joaquin Llobel denounced “certain tribunals – whose mode of operation has often been criticized by John-Paul II – which identify the failure of the marriage with its nullity. Each time a marriage breaks down, they think the failure is linked to its nullity”. In this case, he explained, “it is this mind-set which needs to be reformed”.

In the Vatican, they affirm that in many tribunals – in particular those in the United States – the recognition of the nullity of a marriage is too often accorded in the name of an article of the Code of Canon Law on the “immaturity” of one or both members of the couple. Canonists hope this article will be explicitly amended in a restrictive sense so as to avoid these excessively broad interpretations.

Joaquin Llobel recognized the abuses “of shameless advocates” of certain ecclesiastical tribunals and of wealthy people hoping to obtain a recognition of nullity “at any price”, so they can remarry in the Church, often for reasons relating to their social standing. “We can’t deny it, because it’s true”, he clearly affirmed.