Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus ("The Gentle Judge Lord Jesus") is an apostolic letter from Pope Francis in the form of a motu proprio on the reform of the canonical procedure for declarations of marriage nullity in the Code of Canon Law . It was promulgated on September 11, 2015 , its regulations came into force on December 8, 2015, and is valid within the Latin Church . Corresponding regulations for the oriental churches united with Rome , Mitis et misericors Iesus , appeared on the same day. Decisions about the nullity of a marriage can now be made in the first instance by the local bishop , a second instance decision is no longer mandatory.


The motu proprio was created against the background of the Synods of Bishops on the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization in 2014 and 2015. In the introduction, Francis explains that all institutions that are always in need of improvement must strive towards the essential goal of the Church, “to divine grace mediate and continually promote the good of the faithful according to the gifts and mission of each ”. Out of love and mercy, the Church, as a mother, must bring herself close to those children who consider themselves separate from her.


Francis simplifies the procedure to the effect that in future a double, concurring decision of two judges will no longer be required in every case to determine the nullity of a marriage, but the "moral certainty" achieved by the first judge in accordance with the legal norm is sufficient. The letter emphasizes the importance of the local bishop as the highest judge of his diocese and admonishes the local bishops not to simply leave their judicial function in the field of marriages to the offices of the episcopal curia they have delegated. This is intended to restore closeness between the believers and the judge. As far as possible, the procedure should be free of charge for those involved.

A shorter procedure has been created for cases in which “the alleged nullity of marriage is supported by particularly obvious arguments”. The strengthening of the responsibilities of the metropolitan court, which should now again negotiate vocations in such procedures, and of the regional bishops' conferences emphasized the synodality in the Church.

Intra-curial criticism

According to media reports, members of the Roman Curia have criticized the content of Mitis Iudex Dominius Iesus mainly with regard to the speeding up of the determination of a marriage nullity, which will lead to a sharp increase in nullity proceedings. Here the Pope bypassed the responsible bodies on a matter that was essential for the Church. The Pope also recognizes the danger that such a procedure could pose for the indissolubility of marriage and cites this as the reason for the function of the local bishop himself as the highest judge.

See also

  • Amoris Laetitia , post-synodal apostolic letter from Pope Francis dated March 19, 2016 on love in the family.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Vatican Radio Extra-Motu Proprio for Eastern Churches , accessed on September 14, 2015.
  2. ^ Resistance to Pope Francis is growing in the Curia, RP-online, September 11, 2015, accessed on September 14, 2015 [1]