Vatican Filter of Italian Law Takes Effect

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Italian laws are now getting a closer look by Vatican officials before they are accepted for Vatican City State.

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A new Vatican law, signed in October by Benedict XVI, went into effect Jan. 1. Though expected to cause few practical changes in the current arrangement between Vatican and Italian law, the decree prescribes that Italian laws will be considered on a case by case basis before being recognized by Vatican government.

This is a modification to the 1929 agreement, which allowed for Italian laws to be taken up automatically, unless there was manifest disagreement with Church doctrine. The new decree also reiterates the pre-eminence of canon law as the principal source of juridical interpretation for the Vatican.

According to José Serrano Ruiz, president of the appellate court of Vatican City State, who oversaw the redaction of the new law, the changes are meant to highlight the autonomy and genuineness of Vatican City State in regard to Italy.

He noted as well the practical difficulties caused by the passage of so many Italian laws. And, he acknowledged, «there is an ever greater contrast between these laws and the principles that cannot be renounced by the Church.»

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