Sentence of Jan 20, 94 (expert opinions) (In Iure only)

It follows that for a libellus to be accepted under c. 1095, there must be some allegation of a gravely anomalous condition - present at the moment of the marriage - in the person accused of consensual incapacity, accompanied by assertions or claims relating to signs, symptoms or events which, if substantiated, could make the presence of such an anomaly more likely. If nothing gravely anomalous is alleged, if nothing is asserted that could point to at least the possibility of a grave psychic anomaly, if there is no pre-wedding (or even post-wedding) medical history of some definite psychic disorder, if all that is spoken of is simple "immaturity" or commonplace character defects, etc., then there is good reason to consider that the libellus should not be accepted as clearly lacking in sufficient foundation (cfr. c. 1505, §2, 4º). Church Tribunals are not fulfilling their essential ecclesial role when they devote time to cases without substance, lacking in that minimum "fumus boni iuris" which suggests that there is a true issue of justice to be resolved.

            Given minimal indications or signs of some gravely anomalous condition, then the libellus must certainly be accepted. If the instruction of the case tends to confirm these signs - so opening the way to a possible Affirmative decision - , then an expert opinion is called for (cf. c. 1680). In fact, the seriousness of the judicial process requires that an Affirmative sentence in such cases be normally supported by an expert opinion which, with properly reasoned scientific arguments and proofs, confirms the existence and gravity of a psychic anomaly, its incapacitating effect, and its presence at the moment of consent.

            On the contrary, if the assertions made in the libellus which suggested a grave anomaly are in no way confirmed in the instruction, if they are seen to lack substance, to be unsupported by facts and evidence, if the instruction reveals nothing else that could indicate a grave psychic deficit, it becomes evident that a Negative decision must be arrived at. Then, in accordance with cc. 1574 and 1680, there is no need for an expert opinion, for it would clearly be useless (cf. c. Colagiovanni, July 18, 1989: RRD, vol. 81, p. 529).

            In the case before us, the first instance Judges state with regard to the Respondent (who was 19 years old at the time of the wedding): "there is little evidence to show that she had any real appreciation of marriage" (67). These words seem to reveal a mistaken judicial approach, for it is not the person's sufficient discretion of judgment which has to be proved, but the grave lack of it. As the Appeal Court Judges rightly indicate (II, 11), since she was of a legal age for marrying, the presumption exists that she did possess sufficient judgment. This presumption can indeed be overturned by evidence to the contrary; but that evidence must be forthcoming. The law, we repeat, requires proof not of sufficient discretion on the part of th