On marriage, remarriage, an annulment: freedom and authority

This story was originally published by Catholic News Singapore on 19 April 2007.
Republished with permission and with contact details omitted.

By Daniel Tay

SINGAPORE – The topic of remarriage and annulment is a difficult question for most Catholics to answer, much less explain to another person. Come late April, in a series of three talks jointly organized by the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Catholic Medical Guild, visiting Msgr Cormac Burke will answer this burning question, and explore other issues that Catholics find difficult to explain.

Msgr Burke is a professor of Modern Languages and a doctor in Canon Law, as well as a civil lawyer and a member of the Irish Bar. He was ordained a priest in 1955. After 30 years of pastoral working and teaching in Europe, North America, and Africa, Pope John Paul II appointed him a Judge of the Roman Rota, the High Court of the church.

Msgr Burke is also an award-winning writer. In 1994, the National Federation of Catholic Physicians of the United States awarded him the Linacre Award for his writings in the field of marriage and sexual ethics.

Among his best known books are “Conscience and Freedom”, “Authority and Freedom in the Church”, and “Covenanted Happiness”, which have been translated into many languages. He retired from the Rota in 1999, and returned to Africa where he has continued to teach at Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Roman Rota is the second highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church. The court is named “Rota” (wheel) because the judges, called “auditors”, originally met in a round room to hear cases.

The Rota’s main function is of a third instance Court of Appeals. It reviews decisions of lower courts if the original court and the first appeal court do not agree on the outcome of a case. Due to the increasing rates of civil divorce cases, marriage annulment cases dominate its case load. However, the Rota also hears non-administrative cases in any area of Canon Law.

The first talk by Msgr Burke titled “Developing Families with Personality” will be held on Friday Apr 20, 7.30-9.00pm at Catholic Junior College (129 Whitley Road), Lecture Theatre 1.

The second talk titled “Marriage, Remarriage, and Annulment” and the third talk “Freedom and Authority in the Church – A short discourse on conscience and natural law” will be held on Apr 22 at 2.00-3.30pm and 4.00-5.30pm respectively. The venue is at the Catholic Welfare Services Auditorium (55 Waterloo Street, Catholic Welfare Services Building, Eighth Floor).

All Catholics interested in the relevance of Canon Law, marriage, and the family, are encouraged to attend. For registration and enquiries, please contact Dominic, Lina, or email the CLG.


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