Vatican City, Apr 23, 2021 / 12:00 pm
The Vatican’s doctrinal office will hold a study day April 27 on the theme of the dissolution of marriage “in favorem fidei.”
The study day marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the instruction Potestas Ecclesiae, which regulated the dissolution of a marriage between two non-Catholic persons, when at least one is not baptized, to allow for the contraction or validation of a Catholic sacramental marriage in the future.
The dissolution of a marriage “in favorem fidei” (in favor of the faith), can be approved on a case-by-case basis and only by the pope. In this way, it differs from what is called the “Pauline privilege,” when the Church recognizes the automatic dissolution of a natural marriage between two non-baptized persons.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has organized the study day in partnership with the Pontifical Lateran University; the event is intended for Catholic university students, scholars, and those working in diocesan curias.
Attendance will be possible both in-person and online. The morning of April 27 will be dedicated to studying the theological-juridical aspect of Potestas Ecclesiae; in the afternoon participants will break into moderated small groups to look at practical cases related to the instruction.
The morning talks, in Italian, will be streamed online and can be watched without the need to register.
Potestas Ecclesiae says that “marriages between non-Catholics, of which at least one is not baptized, under certain conditions can be dissolved by the Bishop of Rome in favor of the faith and for the salvation of souls.”
“But the exercise of this power, bearing in mind both the pastoral needs of times and places, and all the circumstances of each individual case, is subject to the supreme judgment of the Supreme Pontiff himself,” the document’s introduction, signed by then-CDF prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, states.