On Saturday, Pope Francis received the participants of the International Congress on Canon Law held in Rome from January 22-24, 2015 at the Pontifical Gregorian University, on the theme: Dignitas Connubii, Ten Years after Its Publication: Evaluation and Prospects.”
The following is a translation of the Pope’s address to those present.
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I give my cordial greeting to you all participating in the International Congress on the 10thanniversary of the publication of the Instruction Dignitas Connubii, for the treatment of causes of the annullment of marriage in diocesan and inter-diocesan tribunals. I greet the Fathers of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical Gregorian University, which organized the Congress, with the sponsorship of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts and of the Consociatio Internationalis Studio Iuris Cannonici Promovendo. I greet all of you who come from the local Churches of various parts of the world; you have participated actively, communicating also the experiences of your local tribunals. Your numerous and qualified presence is of great consolation: it seems to me a generous response to the solicitations that every genuine minister of the Church’s tribunals feels for the good of souls.
Such wide participation in this meeting indicates the importance of the Instruction Dignitas Connubii, which is not destined to specialists in law but to operators of the local tribunals: it is in fact a modest but useful vademecum, which really takes ministers of the tribunals by the hand in order that the unfolding of the process is both certain and quick.
A certain unfolding because it indicates and explains with clarity the aim of the process itself, that is, moral certainty: it requires that any prudent, positive doubt of error be excluded, even if the mere possibility of the contrary is not excluded (Cf. Dignitas Connubii, article 247, paragraph 2). A swift unfolding because – as common experience shows – one who knows the path to follow walks faster. The knowledge and I would say the practice with this Instruction will also be able to help ministers of tribunals in the future and abbreviate the course of the process, often perceived by spouses as long and exhausting. Up to now not all the resources that this Instruction makes available have been explored for a swifter process, deprived of all formalism as an end in itself; nor can further legislative interventions in the future be excluded, geared to the same purpose.
Among the solicitations that the Instruction Dignitas Connubii manifests, I have already recalled that of the proper and original contribution of the defender of the bond in the matrimonial process (Cf. Allocution to the Plenary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, November 8, 2013, AAS 105 , 1152-1153). His presence and the faithful carrying out of his task does not condition the judge, rather, it makes possible and fosters the impartiality of his judgment, placing him before the arguments in favor and against the declaration of the annulment of the marriage.
I entrust to Mary Most Holy, Sedes Sapientiae, the continuation of your study and of your reflection on all that the Lord wills today for the good of souls, which he acquired with his blood. I invoke upon you and your daily commitment the light of the Holy Spirit and I impart a Blessing on all; and, please, I ask you to pray for me.[Translation by ZENIT]