'Fast-track' annulment procedure only for exceptional cases, Vatican cardinal clarifies
October 16, 2015
The “fast-track” annulments made possible by Pope Francis in his apostolic letter Mitis Iudex will be possible only in exceptional cases, according to the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: the Vatican’s top body for the interpretation of canon law.
Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, responding to a query from an American canon lawyer, said that the streamlined process for annulment created is “an exception to the general norm.” He added that the shorter process “cannot be used if the respondent remains silent, does not sign the petition or declare his consent.”
The cardinal’s letter, answering a question that has been raised during a conference of the Canon Law Society of America, makes it clear that the “fast-track” annulment procedure cannot be used in the cases when one party to the marriage does not answer queries from the tribunal. Such cases-- in which one partner seeks an annulment and the other partner does not participate in the process-- account for roughly half of all the marriage cases heard by US tribunals.
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