Rotal Judge: Justice in marriage tribunals must be done in a "timely manner"
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday met with a group of canonists taking a course at the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. In his remarks, the Pope spoke about the importance of fairness and accessibility in the proceedings of Church Tribunals trying to adjudicate the validity of marriages.
“The Holy Father here takes the occasion, a good occasion indeed, to bring up again the concern he already previously expressed, more than once, to see the ecclesiastical procedure for dealing with marriage nullity cases carried out as expeditiously as possible – and possibly, to be also modified for the same purpose,” explained Msgr. David-Maria Jaeger, OFM, who serves as an Auditor [Judge] on the Roman Rota.
Listen to the interview with Msgr. David-Maria Jaeger, OFM:
“Now modifying, or simplifying, the procedure, is His own prerogative, and – as He mentions here – he has put in place a special Commission to present Him with suggestions to this end, and has appointed the Dean of the Roman Rota to preside over it,” said Msgr. Jaeger.
“Carrying out the procedures already in place as efficiently as possible is the responsibility of the Church’s judiciary, which is here once more being reminded of the seriousness of its duty to provide for the good of souls by doing justice in a timely manner,” he continued.
Pope Francis made his remarks before his General Audience, when he briefly greeted participants of a course offered by the Tribunal of the Roman Rota on “Instructing a Case for the Dispensation of a Marriage ‘Super rato et non consumato’” -valid, but unconsummated marriages – which can be dissolved under certain conditions according to Church law.
“The particular course taking place this week is contiguous to this matter,” Msgr. Jaeger continued.
“The dispensation from a valid but unconsummated marriage is a favour that the Pope alone may grant, but the enquiries necessary to put a report together on individual cases and sending them to Rome are the responsibility of the diocesan bishops and their staffs,” he said.
“This annual course is intended to train diocesan personnel from all over the world to do just that,” said Msgr. Jaeger.
“Then Pope Benedict XVI assigned to the Dean of the Roman Rota the task of organising and overseeing the papal commissions that study the cases that the diocesan chanceries send to Rome, and that make the eventual recommendation to the Holy Father to grant the requested favour, or else determine that the conditions for doing that have not been met, in the case concerned,” he said.
“It is a ministry distinct from that of adjudicating petitions to declare a given marriage invalid, but both ministries have this in common: that they are geared to legitimately freeing persons from the bond of a marriage that has turned out to have been an unhappy experience, and doing so in full accord with God’s Word and His law,” concluded Msgr. Jaeger.