President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in the Roman Curia recommends a resource which recognizes the relationship between civil divorce and divine law.
Paragraphs 2 and 3 [canon 1692] consider some cases where the spouses, after obtaining authorization from the diocesan bishop of their place of domicile, bring their case before the civil forum. Since divorce laws have proliferated in many countries, the need to request the diocesan bishop's authorization is a necessary precaution, which prevents the fostering of [civil (transcriber's note)] trials whose judgments violate precepts of divine law, to the detriment of the spouses and with the risk of scandal to others. (Full excerpts below) (Code of Canon Law Annotated, Midwest Theological Forum, page 1324 ISBN 1-890177-44-X)According to the above statement, civil divorces CAN violate precepts of divine law. The reasonably thinking person will conclude that if divorce can violate divine law, divorce can be immoral. For whom is divorce immoral? When is divorce immoral? Headquarters doesn't leave these question unanswered.
Canon law is written in Latin. English translations with commentary are available. In June 2004, the Midwest Theological Forum published an English edition of the “Code of Canon Law Annotated." His Eminence Julian Cardinal Herranz, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in the Roman Curia, commented about this text: “I know of no other single resource that offers an up-to-date compilation of the complementary norms that have been promulgated by English language Episcopal Conferences." (See quote in context)
The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts is one of the departments of the Roman Curia. In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Pope makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors. (More Roman Curia)
the Code of Canon Law Annotated, recommended by Cardinal Herranz.
The code is indented and in bold. The annotations are in plain text. Latin original text is not show on this webpage, though it was contained in the Code of Canon Law Annotated. To read an approved English translation of the law itself visit Intra-Text
UNIVERSITY OF NAVARRA
SAINT PAUL UNIVERSITY
Faculty of Canon Law Faculty of Canon Law
OF CANON LAW
prepared under the responsibility of the
Instituto Martin de Azpilcueta
Ernest CAPARROS, Michel THERIAULT (+), JEAN THORN (+)
Second edition revised and updated
of the 6th Spanish language edition
Ernest CAPARROS, Helene AUBE
Juan Ignacio ARRIETA, Michael A. HACK
Jerome L. JUNG, David MOTIUK
Wilson & Latleur Limitee
Midwest Theological Forum
Montreal Woodridge [IL]
Cases Concerning the Separation
Can. 1692 -- § 1. Unless lawfully provided otherwise in particular places, the personal separation of baptized spouses can be decided by a decree of the diocesan Bishop or by the judgment of a judge in accordance with the following canons.
§ 2. Where the ecclesiastical decision does not provide civil effects, or if it is foreseen that there will be a civil judgment not contrary to the divine law, the Bishop of the diocese in which the spouses are living can, in the light of their particular circumstances, give them permission to approach the civil courts.
§ 3. If the case is also concerned with the merely civil effects of marriage, the judge is to endeavor, without prejudice to the provision of § 2, to have the case brought before the civil court from the very beginning.
Can. 1693 -- The oral contentious process is to be used, unless either party or the promoter of justice requests the ordinary contentious process.1693 --If the plaintiff has presented a request for a separation judgment from the competent tribunal or the diocesan bishop and, if it is decided that a trial should take place, the oral contentious process should be used unless one of the parties requests an ordinary contentious trial. In our opinion, this second possibility might give rise in some cases to unnecessary delay in the resolution of the case, although it is intended to satisfy the lawful interest of the parties.
§ 2. If the ordinary contentious process is used and there is an appeal, the tribunal of second instance is to proceed in accordance with can. 1682 § 2, observing what has to be observed.Page 1325
Can. 1694 --In matters concerning the competence of the tribunal, the provisions of can. 1673 are to be observed.1694 -- This canon refers back to the norms of c. 1673 on the competence of the tribunal for nullity cases. It seems to imply, however, that only the judicial procedure of c. 1692, § 1, is applicable. On the other hand, when the administrative procedure is used, the criteria for granting competence are not subject to such strict rules.
Can. 1695 -- Before he accepts the case, and whenever there appears to be hope of success, the judge is to use pastoral means to induce the spouses to be reconciled an to resume their conjugal life.1696 -- The legislator insists again that all necessary pastoral means be used to bring about a reconciliation, when the judge considers that the circumstances of the case make this possible. It should be recalled, however, that these cases affect the public good (c. 1696) and, consequently, neither a settlement in the strict sense nor a promise to abide by an arbitration award are allowed (c. 1715).
Can. 1696 -- Cases of separation of spouses also concern the public good; the promoter of justice must, therefore, always intervene, in accordance with can. 1433.
1696 -- By their very nature, cases of separation of spouses have definite repercussions, not only on the spouses themselves, but also on society as a whole since the decisions in these matters always have tangible effects on the family and, in particular, on the children. This is why the intervention of the promoter of justice is also prescribed, as the legal guardian of the public good. The significance of the failure of the promoter to intervene is explained in c. 1433, to which the canon refers.