New changes to Canon Law

212.77.1.245/news_services/press/vis/dinamiche/b2_en.htm

This is interesting. Not sure I understand it all completely :rolleyes:, but it is still quite interesting to see changes made to the Canon.

~Liza

I know! It’s not on the Vatican website in English yet. :frowning: I need to start tucking away little “addenda” printouts in my Code of Canon Law to keep the new revisions straight. :slight_smile:

The Vatican text seems to refer to some change regarding how the diaconate and marriage are discussed. Could this be the clarification concerning the “Peters issue” in which it was held by some that a strict reading of the Code required married deacons, after ordination, to be continent?

I’m pretty sure that the marriage clarifications and those regarding the diaconate are totally separate and unrelated.

~Liza

[quote="Mattapoisett64, post:3, topic:179818"]
The Vatican text seems to refer to some change regarding how the diaconate and marriage are discussed. Could this be the clarification concerning the "Peters issue" in which it was held by some that a strict reading of the Code required married deacons, after ordination, to be continent?

[/quote]

No. Even though the description of the canons is a bit vague by not giving us the full text of each new canon, it certainly appears as if the issue above (which I personally consider to be a non-issue) won't be clarified (if it even needs clarification) by the new canons.

The first 2 canons deal with 1008 and 1009
here's the old text
vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3N.HTM

As I read the explanation, it seems like the problem in the original is that the phrase "teaching, sanctifying and governing" seems to apply equally to all 3 orders. The new text will distinguish between the distinct roles of bishop, presbyter, and deacon.

This canon merely explains about the orders, and it has very little practical application, even though the issue itself is important.

The canons about marriage are unrelated to the canons about the diaconate (that much is directly stated in the article).

The other 3 change are made to canons 1086, 1117, 1184 vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3Y.HTM

Here's the old text
Can. 1086 §1. A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it and has not defected from it by a formal act and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid.

Here's the new text (my own editing of course)
Can. 1086 §1. A marriage between two persons, one of whom has been baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it ... and the other of whom is not baptized, is invalid.

Can. 1124 Without express permission of the competent authority, a marriage is prohibited between two baptized persons of whom one is baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it after baptism ...and the other of whom is enrolled in a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Can. 1117 The form established above must be observed if at least one of the parties contracting marriage was baptized in the Catholic Church or received into it ... without prejudice to the prescripts of ⇒ can. 1127, §2.

This one is extremely significant.

Because the new canons remove the clause which released someone who left the Church by a formal act from the obligation to seek a dispensation before marrying a non-Christian (1086) or non-Catholic (1124), or follow canonical form for the rite of marriage (1117).

So under the new canons, even if someone who was Catholic leaves the Church by a formal act, that person cannot be validly married except according to the same canons which bind Catholics in good-standing.

Again, that's extremely significant.

It's going to make a huge difference in petitions for decrees of nullity.

By the way, I couldn't find that same text in English on the Vatican's own webpage, but I do see the text in Latin
vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_letters/documents/hf_ben-xvi_apl_20091026_codex-iuris-canonici_lt.html

I am interested by the elimination of the exception to the marriage laws for those who have "formally defected" from the Church. I'm guessing it just never happened, so the Canons get streamlined.

Interesting, but would it be retroactive, or only applied to those who attempted marriage after the new Canon?

Not quite that simple. This is truly significant. It’s not just a matter of “streamlining”

Under the old canons, if a person was baptised Catholic, then later left the Church by a formal act, that person was considered to be in a valid marriage if the marriage was to a Protestant, following a Protestant ritual, and everything else being “in order.”

Under the new canons, someone who is baptised Catholic is bound by the marriage laws of the Church for life–leaving the Church by a formal act no longer releases one from the obligations, or pre-requisites for marriage.

Does it make more sense now?

[quote="Brendan, post:7, topic:179818"]
Interesting, but would it be retroactive, or only applied to those who attempted marriage after the new Canon?

[/quote]

Precisely!

That's the million dollar question.

Canon 1086 speaks about validity, so that would lead me to believe that the new canon 1086 would apply, regardless of the time--validity can't change.

Canons 1117, and 1124, on the other hand only go to the licitness (liciety which I always misspell) of the ceremony, so I think they would apply only to future marriage (ie after October 2009).

[quote="Spirithound, post:6, topic:179818"]
I am interested by the elimination of the exception to the marriage laws for those who have "formally defected" from the Church. I'm guessing it just never happened, so the Canons get streamlined.

[/quote]

It's just another case of history repeating. The 1918 code contained an exception for people who had been baptized Catholic, but were not raised in the faith. The exception was removed in 1949 or 1950 because it was too hard to define exactly who had or had not been raised in the faith.

It’s hard to see how the new changes could apply retroactively:

Can. 7 A law is established when it is promulgated.

Can. 8 §1. Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the official commentary, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, unless another manner of promulgation has been prescribed in particular cases. They take force only after three months have elapsed from the date of that issue of the Acta unless they bind immediately from the very nature of the matter, or the law itself has specifically and expressly established a shorter or longer suspensive period (vacatio).

§2. Particular laws are promulgated in the manner determined by the legislator and begin to oblige a month after the day of promulgation unless the law itself establishes another time period.

Can. 9 Laws regard the future, not the past, unless they expressly provide for the past.

[quote="FrDavid96, post:9, topic:179818"]
Canon 1086 speaks about validity, so that would lead me to believe that the new canon 1086 would apply, regardless of the time--validity can't change.

[/quote]

The separation between changeable and not is the difference between divine law and positive ecclesiastical law. And ecclesiastical law can affect either validity or licitness, as the Pope sees fit.

Yes. And that’s what I meant in the other post. So 1117 and 1124 would apply only to the “future.”

However, canon 1086 defines validity, not just canonical form–that’s the crux of the matter.

That’s why I can see some *potential questions *arising here as to whether or not the new canon 1086 would have any bearing on past marriages between former-Catholics and non-Christians.

The old 1086 allowed for the possibility for such marriages to be valid. The new 1086 does not.

[quote="Just_Lurking, post:12, topic:179818"]
.... And ecclesiastical law can affect either validity or licitness, as the Pope sees fit.

[/quote]

Not quite. Validity is defined by the Divine Law, and a pope can't change that (therefore, no pope could ever promulgate a canon allowing for female ordination, to give an obvious example). A pope can change how the law is phrased, but he can't change what constitutes validity.

Please understand that I'm saying I have a question. I am not saying I have the answer.

Father David, thank you for the clarification.

Now, the Church also says that marriages are not valid unless witnessed by a Catholic cleric, even though it is the couple themselves who bestow the sacrament on each other. I think this is a change from previous centuries when it was possible to contract marriage with just the bride and groom present.

Isn’t this an example of the Church defining validity?

So, if marriages between formally defected Catholics and non-Catholics were previously declared valid, surely that was in the Pope’s power, and so cannot be taken away, can it?

HOLD THE TRAIN!!!

I’ve been typing here for about 45 minutes trying to figure-out just what my question even is. I suddenly realized that I’m asking the wrong question to begin with.
:banghead:
:banghead:
:banghead:

A marriage between one baptised person and one non-baptised person can’t be a sacrament in the first place!!! DUUUHHHH!

When we’re talking only about canon 1086, validity of the sacrament has nothing to do with the topic–there is no sacrament.

HOWEVER, what about a natural marriage–one which is not a sacrament???

EDIT: I need to re-think what I posted at the end here, so I deleted the last paragraph

I’ll be brief this time: the above isn’t about what constitutes validity in the sense of who-can-marry-who for a marriage (sacramental or natural) to be valid. It’s a matter of changing the form of the marriage ceremony–which of course can be done.

Let me try this again, after re-reading the article.

The old canon 1086 released former-Catholics from the impediment which prevented them from marrying non-baptised persons in what would be a natural non-sacramental marriage.

So therefore even though 1086 does talk about what constitutes a valid marriage (or more accurately, it defines what cannot be a valid one), at the same time it also contained an automatic dispensation (granted by the law itself) from that impediment.

What's happening here is not re-defing what constitutes a valid marriage (sacramental or natural), but removing an automatic dispensation. Now it's making sense to me.

The 1983 code removed restrictions on what constitutes a valid marriage, as compared with the 1918 code. For example, spiritual relationship, and consanguinity between second cousins. I think the rule is that whichever code was in force when a couple was married applies to their marriage.

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