WASHINGTON (September 20, 2006)—The first English-language commentary on the Vatican's newest instruction on the marriage nullity process, Dignitatis Connubii ("The Dignity of Marriage"), by Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins and German canonist Klaus Ludicke, will be published in October.
The commentary, Dignitatis Connubii: Norms and Commentary, will be published by the Canon Law Society of America. It provides substantial and helpful commentary on the Vatican instruction to assist marriage tribunals, which process tens of thousands of annulment cases annually.
The commentary expands on Professor Ludicke's original commentary published last year, shortly after the Vatican instruction was issued. The new work includes a translation of Ludicke's text and modifiies it to adapt the tenor to English-language readers and the content to tribunal staffs in English-speaking nations.
Msgr. Jenkins added significant commentary to key themes on the procedural law on marriage nullity trials, including the obtaining of competence by tribunals, the right of defense of parties to the process, and the role of the defender of the bond.
According to the publisher, the new material allows the commentary "to address some of the particular circumstances the tribunals from English-speaking countries face, especially tribunals in the United States…. For anyone in marriage tribunal ministry, it is an indispensable commentary."
The Vatican instruction was issued in early 2005 and was designed to ensure church law is followed, defend the sacrament of marriage and ensure the efficiency that justice requires.
The instruction, Catholic News Service (CNS) reported at the time, "while encouraging tribunals to work efficiently and not unduly prolong judgment, insists that no shortcuts be taken in determining the validity of a marriage."
Less than a year later, Pope Benedict XVI said that for the good of individuals and the Catholic Church as a whole, marriage tribunals must act as expeditiously as possible while fully following church law, while, at the same time, upholding the procedural norms that govern the marriage nullity process.
Msgr. Jenkins is an associate general secretary at the bishops' conference, where he oversees offices dealing with internal church matters. He has been on the faculty of canon law at The Catholic University of America, Washington, since 2001. He is a priest of the Diocese of Austin, Texas.
Msgr. Jenkins also serves as a judge on the Canadian Appeal Tribunal for the dioceses of Canada. He is a member of the Canon Law Society of America, the Canon Law Society of Canada, the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand, the International Society of Canon Lawyers and the International Society for the Promotion of the Study of Canon Law.
Pre-publication copies are available until October 6, for $40 for orders from the United States and $50 for orders from outside the USA. The pre-publication order must be placed before October 6.
Pre-publication orders and payment can be sent to:
CLSA Pre-Publication Offer
108 N. Payne Street, Suite C,
Alexandria, VA 22314-2906.
After October 6, copies can be ordered for $60 from:
P.O. Box 463
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701