Pope creates Vatican commission to study marriage process

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Pope Francis has created a new Vatican commission to study a reform of the Catholic church's processes and laws surrounding the sacrament of marriage, appointing a wide range of male cardinals, bishops and theologians to the new group, the Vatican announced Saturday.

While the Vatican statement does not specifically relate creation of the new group to an upcoming global meeting of bishops on issues of family life, the group seems likely to study many issues surrounding that meeting, including the Catholic teaching of indissolubility of marriage and the process for couples to obtain annulments.

The pope created the commission on Aug. 27, according to the Vatican statement, only available in Italian. The pope has created, it states, a "special Commission for the study of reform of the canonical matrimonial process."

The work of the commission, it states, will "prepare a proposal of reform of the matrimonial process, searching to simplify the procedure, making it more streamlined, and safeguarding the principle of the indissolubility of marriage."

The commission will be chaired by Msgr. Pio Vinto Pinto, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

Among the members appointed to the commission by the pope:

  • Cardinal Francis Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts;
  • Bishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
  • Bishop Dimitrios Salachas, Apostolic Exarch for the Greek Catholics of the Byzantine rite;
  • Msgrs. Maurice Monier, Leo Xavier Michael W. Arokiaraj and Alejandro Bunge, Prelate Auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota;
  • Franciscan Fr. Nikolaus Schöch, Substitute Promoter of Justice of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;
  • Dominican Fr. Konštanc Miroslav Adam, Rector of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum);
  • Franciscan Fr. Jorge Horta Espinoza, Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical University Antoniamum;
  • Paul Moneta, former professor of Canon Law at the University of Pisa. 

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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