Principally the course is designed to increase familiarity with marriage law jurisprudence to help judges or prospective judges become more familiar with the task of judging and sentence writing in marriage nullity cases.
The course is useful for canonists with a Licence, whom Bishops have appointed or wish to appoint as judges, who wish to improve their sentence writing or who have little or no experience of sentence writing. For the same reasons, it is useful for experienced tribunal practitioners without a Licence whom Bishops plan to appoint, or have appointed, as judges (intending to obtain, or having obtained, the required dispensation.)
Though not designed for this purpose, the course has been used successfully by some who wish to develop the knowledge and some of the skills of an advocate or defender of the bond. However, no particular concession is made to this in the presentation of the course.
In recent years, the course has been delivered at the Gillis Centre, situated in the Bruntsfield – Morningside district of Edinburgh, close to The Meadows, not far from the centre of Edinburgh. The Gillis Centre is also the pastoral centre and curial offices of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh. The centre offers 13 en suite rooms and full board, appropriate classroom and library facilities, wi-fi, improved facilities for relaxation, a recently restored chapel and all that is necessary for the celebration of the liturgy.
The course lasts 8 weeks – over two years, four weeks each year in the month, usually, of January/beginning of February, as the calendar dictates.
The cost of the course per person per part, includes all tuition, materials, board and lodging, etc, for one month. As members of the Society, all the teachers give of their time and expertise without charge. The number of participants is a minimum of 7 a maximum of 12, for each course. Each week a different teacher presents the material.
Part I consists of:
Week I: Introduction to canon law; Introduction to canon law of marriage; Introduction to Christian anthropology; procedures; proofs.
Week 2: Introduction to sentence writing and the ground of fear and force.
Week 3: Grounds of error and deceit.
Week 4: Grounds of simulation.
Part II consists of:
Week 1: Grounds of impotence, ignorance and condition
Week 2: Grounds of Lack of Use of Reason and Grave Lack of Discretion.
Week 3: Ground of Inability to assume and fulfil the essential obligations of marriage.
Week 4: Ground of Error determining the will; cases of Invalid Convalidation, the bonum coniugum.
Each week participants take part in classes, and receive and read articles and materials on the topic being presented.
Apart from Part I, Week I, the participants write a sentence on the corresponding ground for that week, have a one-to-one tutorial with that week’s lecturer and finish that week’s topic with a group seminar.
The academic week runs from the Sunday night (7.00pm) to the Friday afternoon (2.00pm), with participants booked into the Gillis Centre over the weekends so that they can rest and enjoy Edinburgh as well as, importantly, read and study. Ultimately, it is up to each participant (and their superior) if they are able to stay on Saturdays but it is included in the price and is strongly recommended as it is considered part of the course. (No deduction in cost is made for those who cannot or choose not to stay.)
All applications for the course should be recommended and supported by a Diocesan Bishop, Judicial Vicar or other Superior.
Anyone wishing to find out more about this course can contact the Course Co-ordinator,
V. Rev Gerard Canon Tartaglia Ph.B STB JCL
In your correspondence please state the name of the Tribunal with which you are associated and your position there