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In civil law, obrogation (Latin: obrogat from obrogare) is the modification or repeal of a law in whole or in part by issuing a new law.
In canon law, of the Catholic Church, obrogation is the enacting of a contrary law that is a revocation of a previous law; it may also be the partial cancellation or amendment of a law, decree, or legal regulation by the imposition of a newer one.
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 obrogates the earlier insofar as it is contrary to it.
This canon incorporates Rule 34 in VI of the Regulae Iuris: "Generi per speciem derogatur" or "The specific derogates from the general."
^Coriden et al., Commentary, pg. 54 (commentary on canon 53).
Caparros, Ernest; Theriault, Michel; Thorn, Jean; Aube, Helene (January 1, 2004) . 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. ISBN189017744X.
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.