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.

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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. 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).


  • Caparros, Ernest; Theriault, Michel; Thorn, Jean; Aube, Helene (January 1, 2004) [1983]. Code of Canon Law Annotated: Prepared Under the Responsibility of the Instituto Martin De Azpilcueta. Gratianus Series (Hardcover) (2nd ed.). Montréal, Woodridge, Illinois: Midwest Theological Forum. ISBN 189017744X.
  • Coriden, James A., Thomas J. Green, Donald E. Heintschel (editors). The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary (New York: Paulist Press, 1985). Commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America.
  • Della Rocca, Fernando. Manual of Canon Law (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1959) translated by Rev. Anselm Thatcher, O.S.B.
  • Black, Henry Campbell; Nolan, Joseph R.; Connolly, M.J. (1979). Obrogare. Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed.). St. Paul Minnesota: West Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8299-2041-2.

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