Thursday, October 9, 2014


 Before anyone goes ballistic, people should keep in mind that what is happening now at the Synod is free discussion. It is discussion, not decisions. The decisions will come much later after the Synod a year from now. The pope will issue that more than likely in 2016.

But this is what was discussed this morning as reported by Vatican Radio:

The Assembly continued its reflection on the matter of access to the sacrament of the Eucharist for divorced and remarried persons. Firstly, it re-emphasized the indissoluble nature of marriage, without compromise, based on the fact that the sacramental bond is an objective reality, the work of Christ in the Church. Such a value must be defended and cared for through adequate pre-matrimonial catechesis, so that engaged couples are fully aware of the sacramental character of the bond and its vocational nature. Pastoral accompaniment for couples following marriage would also be useful.

At the same time, it was said that it is necessary to look at individual cases and real-life situations, even those involving great suffering, distinguishing for example between those who abandon their spouse and those who are abandoned. The problem exists – this was repeated several times in the Assembly – and the Church does not neglect it. Pastoral care must not be exclusive, of an “all or nothing” type but must instead be merciful, as the mystery of the Church is a mystery of consolation.

It was in any case recalled that for divorced and remarried persons, the fact of not having access to the Eucharist does not mean that they are not members of the ecclesial community; on the contrary, it is to be taken into consideration that there exist various responsibilities that may be exercised. Furthermore, the need to simplify and speed up the procedures for the declaration of marriage nullity was underlined.

With regard to cohabitation in certain regions, it was shown that this is often due to economic and social factors and not a form of refusal of the teachings of the Church. Often, moreover, these and other types of de facto unions are lived while conserving the wish for a Christian life, and therefore require suitable pastoral care. Similarly, while emphasizing the impossibility of recognizing same sex marriage, the need for a respectful and non-discriminatory approach with regard to homosexuals was in any case underlined.


MR said...
#Synod14 strongly reaffirms that those who remarry without annulment cannot receive Communion; strongly sees need to assist those people
4:18am - 9 Oct 14

Cameron said...

How would this make anyone ballistic

Bill Meyer said...

People go ballistic over things they do not understand: Lack of catechesis is the root problem.

I am sure there is a "right" way to implement the annulment Tribunal, and I am sure I do know what that is. I am equally sure there is a time period which should suffice for most cases, and I do not know what that is, either.

I will not criticize the Tribunals for those points. Or the canons.

However, that the implementation of the Tribunal is a diocesan matter gives rise to variations which seem to me to risk inequity. A case is a case, and not all are the same, but how any given case is handled should not be different one diocese to another.

And a complaint I have on the local level: It is not rational to blame the time it takes on the all volunteer staff, and then in the next breath, declare that the $500 fee does not cover costs.

rcg said...

The statement about cohabitation prior to marriage leads to a couple of thoughts. First, that marriage in the Church should be independent from civil marriage. If the proper intent, from the view of the Church, is met; they should be married ignoring civil laws and limitations. This should highlight the value of Marriage as a Sacrament and divorce it from mundane civil and financial considerations. This leads to the second thought, that people should receive communion far less than is currently the norm. They should endeavor to prepare themselves for presentation to the Lord and work to balance the innate shortfalls of our being with the paths Christ and the Church have provided. If we are not ready, for example if we are carrying the stain of mortal sin and have not been to confession, we should not present ourselves for communion.
While we can't elevate divorce to a sacrament, we should, imitate the process and objective of Confession to establish the process clearly and not make it difficult simply to discourage it. Instead the process should deepl review the commitment of an adult to God and the Church. If one considers the pervasive misunderstanding of Communion and the preparation required for that frequent act then it is no great leap to think that very, very, few in the modern world understand the serious nature of Marriage. This should lead to an annulment process that acts to align the person with the Church teachings rather than grant an exception.

Anonymous said...

Last night I had a conversation with a person who has been on the Marriage-Annulment for many years. I was told that he had never seen an annulment that was not granted.

What about this...Once a priest, always a priest...once a marriage, always a marriage, right. However, a priest can get laicized, his vow of celibacy is undone, he can get married and remain in good standing with the Church. He does not have to go through the elaborate mumbo jumbo of proving that an ordination "never existed". Surely a similar arrangement could be worked out to undo marriage vows.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I have had quite a few annulments with a negative decision, one just this week! It is heart-breaking for those whose first marriage was a disaster and their second marriage sometimes in its 25th year and a blessing can't be con validated in the Church.

I don 't think the priesthood /marriage analogy works. There is a sort of annulment process for Orders to prove invalidity based on defect of consent. A laicized priest is still a priest but dispensed from the promises of priesthood which are not intrinsic to the priesthood. Of course once laicized he can't function as a priest except in an emergency. The public vows of marriage is what constitutes marriage thus one cannot be dispensed to marry again.

Anonymous said...

Observation....Celibacy is a promise of priesthood which is not "not intrinsic to the priesthood." I agree.

The rest of your effort to explain why the priesthood/marriage analogy doesn't work, doesn't work...I don't get it.
Are you saying that the difference is because marriage is public and ordination is private? Is it not possible for a marriage to occur with nobody present or involved except the people getting married.

I'm not Philadelphia, Cannon Lawyer, but it just seems as if there could be something here worth exploring to help find a way out of the quandary that so many are in.

What is "defect of consent"? Is it a way of saying that an ordination never existed?

Would you hazard a guess as to what percentage of annulment requests are granted? Actually, I can probably check on Google and get a bigger sample...


Anonymous said...

One might find lots of different numbers of annulment stats...I just saw a site that estimated that 90% of requests are granted. Perhaps a bigger question might be how many divorced Catholics don't apply for annulments. Probably a pretty large number...

Anonymous said...

I put too many "nots" in "not intrinsic.....etc."

Gene said...

A "cannon lawyer" must be a really big gun.

Anonymous said...


George said...

The United States, with 6 percent of the world’s Catholics, accounts for 60 percent of the Church’s annulments.

Anonymous said...

An annulment is the declaration that while the couple celebrated a wedding feast, they did not actually marry each other due to some type of defect in one or both of the parties. If one or both were not genuinely free, or sane, or in the right frame of mind...then the mutual covenant did not occur.

But if it DID OCCUR, then that covenant is ratified in heaven. God was the witness. Nothing but death can separate the spouses.

You can't have your cake and eat it too... if a man is genuinely ordained but desires to leave, then he remains a priest forever but cannot function as one. If husband separates from his wife, he's still married to her! He's not free to attempt to marry another while his real wife lives.

He can't pretend to be genuine husband to another woman when he actually is husband to his wife.

Like the doctrine of the existence of hell, this isn't 'easy'. But if we attempt to declare that we humans can, by stint of our will power, rupture the covenant of marriage, we are saying to the Son of God that we know better than he.

You can't do that and remain in communion with Jesus.

So as awful as it sounds to post-Christian ears for whom sex is god, whom shall you serve? God or sex?

Padre Ignotus said...

Tribunal staffs are not volunteers - they are paid.

Tribunals have set costs - postage, paper/envelopes, copiers, printers, electricity, etc, as any office has.

Since tribunal staffs are people, and since people differ in intelligence, reading skills, training, etc, there is no possible way to make the function of tribunals "standard" across the board.

How many doctors,examining the same patient with the same symptoms, come up with a different diagnosis...?