Thursday, March 20, 2014
HAVEN'T I BEEN SAYING THIS ALL ALONG? DUH!
The Reporter, Joan Desmond, asked this question of the Cardinal:
Pope Francis has expressed sympathy for Catholics who cannot receive the Eucharist because they have divorced and remarried, and some German bishops say that Church teaching on the indissolubility of marriage should be modified. Can you give us any information on this issue, which will be addressed at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family?
Cardinal O'Malley: The Church will not change her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.
There will be an effort to help those people who have had a failed marriage and try to sift through ways [to consider what] can be done. The Holy Father is anxious to discuss that, but I think it is premature to make any forecast for how it will play out.
The simplification of the annulment process would be a wonderful first step for addressing a very crucial pastoral problem for the Church.
My Comments: What I have been saying all along is that the annulment procedure will be made more user friendly and that there will be a clarification on the Internal Forum which is penitential as it can only take place in the context of Confession and its seal but only after the External Forum is exhausted and inconclusive about the validity of the sacramental aspect of the marriage.
The internal forum, for better or worse, has been used by priests in this country for decades now and bishops don't normally offer any guidance on its use. This is a loose canon in the Church and it need more canonical definitions to avoid abuse but also to make clear it is available, but the circumstances need to be clear.