Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Removal of the prohibition (vetitum), 21 April 2008.

N. 11248/2008

Vatican City

21 April 2008

Reverend and dear Father,

In your letter of 31 March last, you asked this Pontifical Council for a correct interpretation of art. 251 §1 of Dignitas Connubii regarding the removal of the prohibition to enter a new marriage without consulting the tribunal (inconsulto tribunali) which issued the sentence.

This Dicastery makes the following observations about the questions you have raised:

– The vetitum is a prohibition to contract marriage imposed by the competent authority on one or both of the parties who have benefited from a papal provision of favour (dispensation super rato) or for whom the nullity of their marriage was declared (cf. cann. 1684 and 1685 CIC and art. 250 and 251 Dignitas Connubii).

– The reason for the placing of the vetitum is to safeguard the sanctity of marriage, the liceity and, at times, the validity of a new conjugal bond.

– To remove the vetitum (cf. cann. 85-93) is the competency of the Ordinary of the place where the person has a domicile on whom the prohibition was imposed, and not the Judicial Vicar; in fact, it deals with a provision of an administrative nature whose removal concerns one who has the faculty to admit or not admit to marriage (cf. can. 1077 §1).

– In cases in which the vetitum foresees the necessity of consulting the tribunal which had imposed it (inconsulto tribunali), one must keep in mind that it is only a matter of consulting the said tribunal, that is of ‘hearing its views’ regarding the suitability of removing the prohibition. Thus the tribunal is qualified only to express an opinion and not to remove the vetitum.

The opinion which the tribunal must provide consists in making known to the competent Ordinary the results of the expertise carried out on the party at the time of the process so that the Ordinary may, with the help of a trusted expert, verify whether the problems have in fact been resolved which brought about the imposition of the vetitum.

Furthermore, it seems reasonable to understand inconsulto tribunal as the tribunal where the primary study of the case was carried out and therefore knows better the condition of the persons on whom the prohibition was imposed.

– The vetitum, moreover, cannot be removed unless there is a ‘just and reasonable cause’ (cf. can. 90 §1), that is to say unless there is the real prospect of a new marriage. In the hope of having been of help, I send you my best regards.

Yours devotedly,

+Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio


Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Removal of the prohibition (vetitum), 21 April 2008. Accessed 28 January 2020 at: https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/15670/documents/2020/1/2019_Volume%20XLI_2.pdf