Nullity Process. The new procedures have been both strongly welcomed and strongly criticized. In answering many inquiries, I have preferred to pass over particular aspects they offer, and stress instead two points - the first of which expresses no more than a personal preference, while the second is basic in all cases.
- The judging of the possible nullity of marital consent is both a complex matter and a heavy responsibility: factors which made me grateful that decisions in the Rota are always collegiate. None of us is infallible; and so, even if one disagrees with the majority, it gives great peace to know that two other responsible minds have reached a different conclusion.
- Whatever the process used (whether a single judge or a collegiate Tribunal, whether a decision in first instance is sufficient, or confirmation by another is necessary, etc.), both natural justice and canon law (c. 1608) require that the decision be the fruit of moral certainty, arrived at conscientiously and based on all the facts and evidence furnished in the case. In an annulment case, if the judge or judges do not have that moral certainty, he or they cannot decide in favor of nullity. The fulfillment of this requirement has always been and remains the essence of any just judgment.
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