Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Annulment can of worms

The pope keeps making news. Last week it was encouraging all those who participate in abortion to seek absolution; this week, it is reforms in the process of having the Church determine whether one's prior attempt at marriage was invalid.

I haven't seen the document translated into English, and I don't know when I will. In any case, I haven't yet finished Laudato Si (the pope keeps stepping on his own headlines), and I have no particular expertise in Canon Law.

My reaction was that most of these weren't big changes, but one of them was: the proposal for an expedited process. Supposedly this will be reserved for special cases; I think it'll be another of those loopholes, intended for rare use, that becomes widespread. For example: "extraordinary ministers of holy communion" were supposed to be an exceptional thing.

Here's what a bona fide expert in canon (i.e., church) law has to say.

A final thought (for now). It occurs to me that the pope may be returning serve to the German and Swiss bishops whose defiance of Catholic moral teaching has come out into the open in recent months.

Recall that what they say they want is "merely" to make it easier for divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive holy communion. (In reality, what they are asking for is a revolution in Catholic moral teaching, sweeping aside what we believe about same-sex behavior, contraception, abortion, adultery, sex outside marriage, and the permanence of marriage.) Well, it occurs to me the pope has lobbed it back over the net. "You want to make it easier? This makes it easier." Not that the holy father approves of their defiance, or that he wants the process abused; rather, he may be hoping this gives them a chance to draw back from schism, and this is his saying, in effect, "this is far as I can go."


Deo volente said...

Father, my chief concern is that this sped up process morphs into "Catholic divorce." The assumption is that both spouses agree, but that does not rule out actual collusion (which would be devastating and a mortal sin).

Fr Martin Fox said...

Deo Volente:

I understand. But remember, there is always someone assigned who is called the "Defender of the Bond." If that person takes his/her role seriously, then it isn't that simple.

It occurs to me that, in places where people are conscientious, the hopes of resolution in 45 days just won't happen. No doubt in some places, the pressure will be on to squeeze things through; but there will be push-back. This will get messy. Hagan lio!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully you will post some comments on Laudato Si