This article is about obrogation of canon law, and should not be confused with Abrogation.

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In the canon law of the Catholic Church obrogation is the enacting of a contrary law that is a revocation of a previous law.[1] It may also be the partial cancellation or amendment of a law, decree, or legal regulation by the imposition of a newer one.

Obrogation vs. abrogation

In the civil law, obrogation is the modification or repeal of a law in whole or in part by issuing a new law.[2][3]

The 1983 Code of Canon Law governs here in Canon 53:

If decrees are contrary one to another, where specific matters are expressed, the specific prevails over the general; if both are equally specific or equally general, the one later in time[4] obrogates (Latin: obrogat[5] from obrogare[6]) the earlier insofar as it is contrary to it.[4]

This canon incorporates Rule 34 in VI of the Regulae Iuris: "Generi per speciem derogatur" or "The specific derogates from the general."[7]

See also


  1. Della Rocca, Manual, 69.
  2. Obrogate. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved March 24, 2016.(subscription required)
  3. Garner, Bryan A. (1999). obrogate. Black's Law Dictionary (7th ed.). St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing. p. 1104. ISBN 0-314-22864-0.
  4. 1 2 1983 Code of Canon Law, Canon 53, accessed 24 March 2016
  5. Caparros et al., 1983 Code of Canon Law Annotated, canon 53 (pg. 66)
  6. Black, Nolan & Connolly 1979, p. 971.
  7. Coriden et al., Commentary, pg. 54 (commentary on canon 53).


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