Comparative Reflections of the “New Matrimonial Jurisprudence” of the Roman Catholic Church

A recent review of some developments in the law of the Roman Catholic Church concerning the annulment of marriages suggested to me that these developments might be of interest to an audience wider than that composed of those professionally or religiously concerned with the activities of the Church’s tribunals. In particular, these developments may reveal something about the problem of incorporating the findings of modern psychology and psychiatry into a legal system, about the ways courts behave when confronted with social change, and perhaps even about the problematic relationship between law and morality. What follows, then, is a series of reflections, by no means exhaustive, from one who does not pretend to be expert in modern canon law, or in modern secular family law, or in the relationship between law and psychiatry, and thus feels perfectly competent to offer reflections on all three.