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International News Archive
January 17 - January 23, 2000


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This page contains news for the period Monday, January 17, 2000 through Sunday, January 23, 2000.





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Friday, January 21, 2000

Pope tells religious judges not to make annulments easier

A story published today by the Catholic World News reports that Pope John Paul II met on January 21 with judges from the Vatican's canonical courts, and urged them not to accept theories that undermine the teaching of the Church regarding the indissolubility of marriage.

Each year the Pontiff meets with the members of the Roman Rota at the start of their judicial year. This year, the Pope warned the canonists against "certain opinions which have sprung up in the domain of theological and canonical research." These opinions, he said, cast a shadow over the indissoluble character of Christian marriage. He insisted that a Christian marriage cannot be declared null simply because it was contracted in a society that accepts divorce.

The Church may, after careful examination in an ecclesiastical court, declare the "nullity" of a marriage, the Pope said. In other words, the Church court may find that a valid Christian marriage never took place. However, such a declaration does not undermine the essential principle that a valid Christian marriage cannot be dissolved-- "even if the prevailing mentality in the society in which we live has trouble accepting this fact."

The Holy Father told the Vatican judges that a marriage cannot be annulled simply because the two parties were affected by the prevailing attitudes of the surrounding society. Specifically, he continued, even if a couple enters marriage without a clear intention of remaining married for life, that lack of conviction is not, by itself, sufficient grounds for an annulment. The marriage can be declared null only if the couple actually denied the principle of indissolubility, and that attitude affected their decision to marry.


Thursday, January 20, 2000

Unmarried French register relationships under new law

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that more than 6,000 French couples, both gay and heterosexual, have registered their unions under a new law giving extensive legal rights to unmarried couples. The figures were released by the French Justice Ministry.

The Civil Solidarity Pact law, passed last October, has sparked a fierce debate in France, with opponents charging it would undermine traditional family values. Because of the strong opposition, it took some ten years to get the law enacted.

The Justice Ministry said 6,211 couples had registered by Dec. 31 in local courts around the country.

The law allows couples to file joint tax forms after three years together, forces employers to take couples' joint vacation plans into account and makes partners accountable for each others' debts.

Divorcing may get easier in Scotland

A story published today by Catholic World News reports that the Scottish parliament today announced plans to introduce quickie divorces in Scotland slashing the time for an uncontested divorce from two years to one.

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace unveiled details of a new White Paper to be published later this year which will also contain measures to protect women from violent partners.

A spokesman for Wallace told the Daily Record: "There is considerable evidence that the current separation period encourages people to seek divorce on fault grounds. That can be damaging for any children involved."

The new White Paper will also provide increased recognition for homosexual couples and give them greater legal protection.


Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Internet users in China double to 8.9 million, with 64% unmarried

A story published today in the Nando Times reports that the number of Internet users in China more than doubled in the last six months of 1999 from 4 million to 8.9 million. The figures were released by the nation's official newspaper, China Daily.

The proportion of women going online jumped by 6 percent from June to the end of 1999, but women still account for just 21 percent of users. Most Chinese Web surfers - 64 percent - are unmarried and 75 percent are aged 18 to 30.


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