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Canon Law Webinars - Casting the Net: Practical Tools Related to Pornography and Gender Dysphoria in Marriage Nullity Cases

John Vizza

March 23, 2022

2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST




Pornography, and ever increasingly, Gender Dysphoria, are no longer uncommon occurrences in our society, and therefore in our marriage nullity cases. Pornography (and more and more Gender Dysphoria) are often overlooked or diminished when establishing grounds in marriage nullity cases. Within the instruction phase of the case, these taboo subjects too often prevent auditors from asking deeper questions for fear of offending or shaming the person. Moreover, the framing of our questions does not always lend to an honest response. This has an adverse effect not only on things like expert psychological reports but also on the type of information that could assist Judges in their overall deliberations. This webinar seeks to 1) provide a solid psychological framework on how pornography and gender dysphoria work against one’s capacity to consent to marriage (the science), 2) highlight how our tribunals can more directly consider these issues in the joinder of issue phase (the law) and 3) provide practical tools in the form of questions that might help auditors in their interviews, court appointed experts in their reports and, ultimately, Judges in their final deliberations and decisions (the tools).

N.B. There will be no way for us to give these topics the type of consideration they deserve. For example, this webinar will not address the plethora of other areas these issues touch (e.g., seminary admission/formation, recordkeeping, sacraments, abuse of office/penal law, etc.). However, the hope is to provide at least a piece of the puzzle, and perhaps to have other opportunities in the future to have canon law dialogue more directly with the psychological sciences.



John Vizza was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA for 21 years before moving to Canada in May 2011. He currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta with his wife and four children. John completed undergraduate studies in psychology (University of Lethbridge), and graduate degrees in theology (Newman Theological College), canon law (St. Paul University) and psychology (Divine Mercy University). He currently serves as a judge in the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Edmonton and as canonical advisor to Bishop David Motiuk.

In addition, he consults widely in the areas of canon law and psychology throughout the US and Canada serving as judge, defender of the bond and court expert, providing reports for 1095 2º and 1095 3º cases. He is a member of the Catholic Medical Association and is on the board of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association in the United States and further serves as the regional rep for the CPA’s international members living across ten countries. John is currently completing coursework for registration as a psychologist in the Province of Alberta as well as studies for the priesthood for the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton.


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