VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The ecclesiastical tribunals that pronounce on causes of marital annulment offer a service of “charity” and “truth,” says the dean of the Roman Rota.
Monsignor Antoni Stankiewicz explained during the audience on Saturday, granted by Benedict XVI to the members of the Church’s central appellate court, that this is precisely the spirit that animates the marital instruction “Dignitas Connubii,” published on Jan. 25, 2005, by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
“It does not seek to make the marital proceedings more complex or the declaration of annulment itself more unbearable, but to be an effective ‘aid for the judges and those who work in the Ecclesiastical Tribunals,'” the chief judge of the Rota affirmed, quoting the document’s Introduction.
“The judicial proceedings in the causes of marital annulment not only carry out a service of truth, but also of charity,” said the dean.
As of Dec. 31 there were 1,054 cases under examination by the Rota. Last year, 246 cases were presented to the Rota (163 from Europe, 73 from the Americas and 10 from Asia).
The judges issued 289 sentences, 141 of which were of a definitive character. One of these sentences was of a criminal character; it did not involve marital annulment.
Of the 140 marital sentences, 69 recognized the nullity of the marriage, while 71 pronounced in favor of the marital bond.
A quarter of the cases benefited from “free sponsorship,” which establishes that officials in the process are not paid fees.
The Rota College is made up of 20 auditor prelates: nine are Italians, two Poles, two Americans, two Lebanese, and a Spaniard, a German, a Frenchman, a Brazilian and a Scot.