The validity of inter-church marriages in India: A comparative study of the Latin and the Oriental legislation.

Title: The validity of inter-church marriages in India: A comparative study of the Latin and the Oriental legislation.
Authors: Kodackal, Berchmans.
Date: 2000
Abstract: At present, the Catholic Church has two separate canon law Codes: one for Latins and another for Orientals, because the Church distinguishes between the Eastern and Western traditions. The hypothesis which initiated this study was that there might be potential problems in India in the future created by differences in the two Codes relating to the adjudication of marriage nullity cases, when non-Catholics are involved. In India, Christianity is a mosaic of rites and cultures which might complicate the adjudication process. The study explores this situation to assess the level of conflicts and lack of clarity created by differences between these two Codes; and also to determine how well the Catholic Church recognizes the regulations of other denominations. The study first looks at different ecclesial communities in India. Examining the origin and development of different Christian communities there, it is brought to light how the juridical situations of the Church fluctuated due to the influence of different cultures and colonial powers, and how those influences caused divisions and segregation in the Church, leading to different denominations. Then, the ways in which the concept and law on validity of mixed marriages developed in the Church was explored. It was observed that certain factors had their own importance in connection with particular situations which existed in the time frame of history, and that they were incorporated into the system of law to solve the particular problems of their time. This study then focuses more specifically on c. 1059 of the Latin Code and c. 780 of the Oriental Code. These canons deal with the situations in which non-Catholics are brought into the orbit of canon law. The law states: "Even if only one party is Catholic," marriage is regulated by canon law. The provisions of law relating to the validity of inter-Church marriages were applied in the specific situations of mixed marriage in India creating different scenarios to see how they fit, and to see what problems they might create in the future. Thus, the conflicts between different provisions in different Codes and the confusion they create in nullity cases are brought to light. The Oriental Code recognizes in cc. 780--781 the competence of the non-Catholic Churches to be governed by their own laws. But, it does not seem that the Latin Code achieved fully the aim of translating into canonical terms the ecumenical teachings of Vatican II in this regard. However, the Oriental Code which recognizes non-Catholic law in mixed marriages, has rather inflexible regulations regarding dispensations from canonical form. The Codes hold somewhat opposite policies with regard to a Catholic leaving the Catholic faith. The Latin Code recognizes the fact, while the Oriental Code does not. This also creates confusion and problems with regard to the validity of mixed marriages. Different policies for Orientals and Latins regarding the sacred rites for marriage might even imply a divergence in the basic theology of marriage. While evaluating the related canons against the background of the ecumenical movement and social reforms in India, the study delves deeper into the doctrines of the Church connected with ecumenism and marriage. Hence, as a conclusion, this critical evaluation of the relevant canons leads to suggest a further revision of certain norms to bring the two Codes into harmony with each other.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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