In a class on the jurisprudence of the Roman Rota, our professor was naming all the places to find published sentences and decrees, and also warned us of the danger of taking one sentence alone, as if that was sufficient to represent the constant and common jurisprudence of the Roman Rota. But then I wondered, “How much do we have to read? Surely we can’t read all of it?” I asked her and she recommended reading one sentence a week. If you do that 10 months out of the year, then you will have read 40 sentences within a year. Within two years, I could read 80 sentences, and she said that would be “sufficient” for obtaining some grasp of the common and constant jurisprudence which should guide all tribunals.
Eager to begin this project, I went to the library and found the earliest matrimonial nullity case I could find, and was pleased to discover it was only six pages long! It was easier than I expected, though I still had to look up about 20 words in the course of reading it. I was also curious to see which laws would be referred to, since this case was decided before the promulgation of the first Code of Canon Law in 1917. As an exercise, I will put some observations below. Continue reading