Nguyen: Annulment Reform: 6 Misconceptions and 6 Developments

Pope Francis’ documents issued motu proprio (on his own intiative) Tuesday, one for the Latin Church (Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus) and one for the Eastern Churches (Mitis et Misericors Iesus), call for a close reading in order understand the developments of the canonical procedural laws concerning the declaration of marriage nullity process.

Unfortunately, the sensationalism that has surrounded it has caused some numerous misconceptions and misreporting that in turn can cause difficulty in understanding some of the reforms. While there is much still yet to be digested, I would like to highlight six misconceptions and also six of the developments in in these landmark reforms.


1. Let us first take the biggest misconception that is being reported, namely the one regarding the Church’s teachings on marriage. The Catholic doctrine on marriage and indissolubility has not and will not change. It must be said clearly and repeatedly that Pope Francis’ reforms today are procedural changes and not changes in Church teachings nor even changes in substantive canonical law or jurisprudence for marriage cases. Claims that these are changes in the Church’s beliefs on marriage are simply mistaken.
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