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Title: A Mistaken Notion of Marriage
Subtitle: Implications for the Nullity Grounds of Grave Lack of Discretion and Simulation - or Even Wider?
Author(s): BYRNE, Dominique
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 79    Issue: 1   Date: April 2003   
Pages: 97-121
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.79.1.612

Abstract :
Any perusal of the text of the Code of Canon Law shows there to be a variety of “heads”, or “grounds”, of marriage nullity. Prominent among these are recognised circumstances of various kinds whose presence serves to demonstrate that valid matrimonial consent was not given by either or both parties at the time of purporting to marry. If a ground or grounds can be proved, nullity is thereby established. But if for whatever reason the ground(s) fail(s) to be demonstrated the marriage stands. Essentially therefore, the canonical process of assessing the merits of a case is one of seeking to discover whether one or more of the predetermined categories of nullity can be established, having regard to the facts of a case and the evidence available. Fuelled by concern to ensure that the Church’s law answers what it is expected of it as well as possible, it seems fair critically to address the issue of how consistently this apparently a priori approach seems to work in practice, taking account of some of the published jurisprudence available.

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