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SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

Instruction on the dissolution of marriage
in favor of the faith

 

– As it is noted

As it is noted, this Congregation has treated and long studied the question of the dissolution of marriage in favor of the faith.

Now, finally, after a diligent examination of the problem, Pope Paul VI granted his approval to these new norms, in which are articulated the conditions for granting the dissolution of a marriage in favor of the faith, whether on the part of the petitioner who is baptized whether converted or not.

I. In order to validly grant the dissolution, three conditions are absolutely necessary:

a) that one of the two spouses had not received baptism throughout the entire time of the conjugal life;

b) that there was no exercise of marital life after the actual baptism received by the non-baptized party.

c) that the person who is not-baptized or baptized outside the Catholic Church allows the Catholic party the freedom and the right to profess his or her own religion and also to baptize and educate the children as Catholics: this condition is to be guaranteed, as a precautionary measure.

II. Furthermore, it is required:

§1. That there is no possibility of reestablishing conjugal life, on account of a deep-rooted and irreparable disagreement.

§2. That from the granting of the indult, no danger will arise of public scandal or grave wonder.

§3. That the petitioner was not culpably responsible for wrecking the legitimate marriage, and that the Catholic party, with whom a new marriage is to be contracted or convalidated, did not personally provoke the separation of the spouses through his or her own fault.

§4. That the other party from the previous marriage is interpolated, if possible, and that this party is not reasonably opposed.

§5. That the one petitioning for the dissolution provide scrupulously for the education of any children from the previous marriage.

§6. That the petitioner provides equitably, according to the laws of justice, for the previous spouse and any children.

§7. That the Catholic party, with whom a new marriage is sought, lives according to his or her baptismal promises and takes care of the new family.

§8. That, when dealing with a catechumen, with whom marriage is sought, there is moral certitude of the imminent reception of baptism, if it is not possible to wait for the baptism itself (which is the preferred course).

III. The dissolution will be granted more easily when there are other substantiated reasons to question the validity of the marriage itself.

IV. A marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptized person, contracted with a dispensation from the impediment of disparity of cult, can also be dissolved provided that the conditions set out in II and III above are met, and it is demonstrated that the Catholic party, because of the particular regional circumstances (especially because of the small number of Catholics in the region), could not avoid the marriage and could not act in the marriage according to the Catholic religion. It is also necessary that this Sacred Congregation is informed about the implications of the celebrated marriage.

V. The dissolution of a legitimate marriage, contracted with a dispensation from the impediment of disparity of cult, is not granted to the Catholic party who seeks to enter a new marriage with another non-baptized person who does not convert.

VI. The dissolution of a legitimate marriage is not granted if it was contracted or convalidated after having previously obtained the dissolution of a another legitimate marriage.

So that these conditions can be applied in a just way, “new procedural norms” have been redacted, according to which all future processes will be instructed. We attach these norms to the present instruction.

Once these new norms come into force, the preceding norms, which were issued to instruct these processes are completely abrogated.

Rome, December 6, 1973.

+ Franjo Card. Šeper
Prefect

+ Fr. Jérôme Hamer, O.P.
Secretary

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