Monday, September 7, 2015

TOMORROW'S VATICAN BOMBSHELL ON ANNULMENTS AND MY TODAY'S CLAIRVOYANCE


Rorate Caeli is reporting the following:


The Vatican today announced that a press conference will be held at noon tomorrow for the presentation of two Apostolic Letters of Pope Francis, given motu proprio: Mitis iudex Dominus Iesus and Mitis et Misericors Iesus. These concern the reform of the canonical process for the causes of declaration of nullity of marriage (commonly called "annulment") respectively for the (Latin-Rite) Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. 



The extremely short notice given for the press conference (only 24 hours) is highly unusual, as is the speed with which this reform has been accomplished -- less than a year! The Commission for the reform of the canonical process for declarations of nullity of marriage was announced only on September 20, 2014. 
Let me share with you some of my frustrations with the annulment procedure as it stands and what I would welcome and hope comes to pass.

1. There needs to be a very simple process for non-Catholics who desire to join the Catholic Church. Often times, these non-Catholics are in second and third marriages, or the one interested in becoming Catholic has no previous marriage but married to someone with one or more marriages and that person is not Catholic and has no intention of becoming Catholic. It is the rare non-Catholic who has no intention of becoming Catholic who will go through a full-blown annulment in the Catholic Church just so their spouse can become a Catholic. Usually they are suspicious of their spouse joining the Catholic Church. 

If I were pope, I would simply decree that only those Christian Church's that teach the indissolubility of Marriage in a formal way and call it one of the Seven Sacraments have marriages that are presumed to be sacramental. All other denominations and those who have no Christian affiliation have marriages that are simply Holy Bonds, but not sacraments even if both parties are baptized. A simple procedure to simply prove that the person belonged to a denomination that doesn't accept marriage as a Sacrament or the person got married without any real religious underpinnings would lead to a quick resolution similar to the Catholic Lack of Form process.

2. Annulment procedures need to be very simplified for Protestants and less invasive. 
3. There must be a way to grant annulments to older Catholics who have no living witnesses to support their claims. My suggestion is that we simply take their word or testimony as truth when made under oath.  This is the greatest obstacle, no witnesses or former spouses who vindictively stand in the way of an annulment for vengeful reasons or simply because they have not be able to cope with their spouse's divorce and remarriage and hold on tenaciously that they are still married to this person. 

4. I do believe that when two Catholics get married in the Church that the annulment procedure so be more stringent, especially when witnesses are available.

What are your thoughts and hopes about the simplification of the annulment procedure?

69 comments:

Calvin of Hippo said...

I wonder if the Pope will find any time in the near future to mention the salvation of souls in expectation of the return of Christ? I mean, I know he has been really busy greening the earth, ranting about global warming, condemning capitalism, beatifying the poor, and telling the US how to manage its economy...but, I was hoping he might at least mention THE MISSION AND CALLING OF THE CHURCH!!!!!

Fr. C. said...

As a Canon Lawyer, I await with great interest tomorrow's press conference. I am particularly hopeful, considering the title of the Motu Proprii - the theme of Mercy has so far been a hallmark of Francis' papacy.

One thing I would like to see is the elimination of the requirement that affirmed annulment decisions from the Court of First Instance be automatically referred to a Court of Second Instance for a final decision. It's terribly delaying ("justice delayed is justice denied") and with the limited number of judges, it wastes so much of their valuable time. Removing the requirement of automatic appeal to Second Instance Court frees up those judges (and other personnel) making them available to handle more First Instance cases.

Another thing I would like to see would be codifying something akin to what used to be called "the Internal Forum solution" in such a way that if a Petitioner has no availability of witnesses, presumably due to death or failing memories due to length of time since the putative marriage was celebrated, there would be available a process similar to what you described above.

I have other thoughts swimming around in my mind right now, but I still need some time to digest them before I can comment further. I look forward with great anticipation, and great hope, to the publishing of these documents from the Holy Father.

George said...


Marriage outside the Catholic church is always covenental. The question to ask for these marriages is "Is there any prohibitive reason or impediment against convalidating and therefor sacramentalizing this marriage if asked to do so?"
The answer to this question will tell you how to proceed further. I don't think it would be wise to do anything which would lead to trivializing marriages outside the Church. It is to be acknowledged however, that the same circumstances which would nullify a marriage within the Church, also exist in those marriages outside of her.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thank you Fr. C. If the Holy Father clarifies what the internal forum is and when it can be pastorally advantageous would this then free the synod on marriage next month to focus on ways to make the Sacrament stronger, form stronger Catholic families and decree ways to improve pre marriage formation to include its spiritual foundation.

It seems the focus on how to allow Catholics in illicit marriages to recieve Holy Communion should be handled under a clearer canonical form with clear laws. I suspect this could be extended to homosexuals in civil marriages also.

Fr. C. said...

In response to Fr. Allen's latest post, in particular with regard to the divorced and remarried receiving the Eucharist, please permit me to respond first with a thought question: if the divorced and remarried are permitted access to the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, why exclude them from the Sacrament of the Eucharist? Keep in mind that from the beginning, Christ did not impose "state of grace" as a requirement for receiving Holy Communion (or else he would have personally excluded Judas at the Last Supper - which he did not!) and also keep in mind Pope Francis' statement in his Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium": "The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."

Nourishment. Medicine. "Not a prize for the perfect." To me, these are powerful statements. It seems to me that persons who are divorced and remarried may very well need the Eucharist more than the person who goes to Daily Mass and in most cases lives an exemplary life. While in no way trying to dissuade such a person from the commendable practice of daily Communion, I'm just saying that the person whose life might be beaten and bruised by a failed marriage, and who has found love in another non-Sacramental union, might very well be even more in need of the strength that Holy Communion gives.

Additionally, I am personally not in the camp of those who see a divorce/remarriage situation as a "continuing sin", but rather the act of divorcing, or more particularly remarrying another person, in my view, should be seen as a static act, which can be forgiven, once and for all, by the Sacrament of Penance. Just my opinion, but I know I am not alone in holding that view.

Mercy --- always mercy!

Jdj said...

Fr. C makes some interesting points that probably reflect where the Holy Father currently sits with this issue and might help us understand not only him, but many around us suffering in silence with this issue. I, for one, know many.
I have also been pondering something A2 asked in another thread: "...What is our goal? Preaching to the choir or persuading others to join the choir?" (A2 always asks the hard questions, forcing one to think and rethink. I once heard a RC nun describe these moments as times of "disturbing grace".). This leads me to ponder the greater question: What is the mission of the Church? Well, of course we all know and agree upon the answer being 'to save souls'. Harder question: How should the Church accomplish that mission? THAT question I believe is precisely where all the disagreements occur, not only in our present time but in times past.

Anonymous said...

As a convert I would really like to see the annulment process streamlined for Protestants. I'm not married and I converted from Protestantism while I was in college, but trying to get my parents to convert has been a pain due to the annulment process. Both of my pre to are on their second marriage and I know it has been a struggle for all 4 ppl involved, parents and step parents. I'm not a cannon lawyer and I'm not overly familiar with annulments bc they don't directly affect me, but I think for Protestants it should be made a lot easier

Calvin of Hippo said...

Thought for the day: At what point does "mercy" become acquiescence or capitulation? Holy Scripture speaks of JUSTICE tempered with mercy. The Church, protestant and Catholic, has wallowed in indifferentism and universalism for a long time now...academic and liberal rationalism/existentialism long ago replacing Biblical theology and dogmatics in seminaries and grad schools everywhere, as the faithful and spiritually hungry are repeatedly offered stones instead of bread.

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous Calvin of Hippo said..."I wonder if the Pope will find any time in the near future to mention the salvation of souls in expectation of the return of Christ? I mean, I know he has been really busy greening the earth, ranting about global warming, condemning capitalism, beatifying the poor, and telling the US how to manage its economy...but, I was hoping he might at least mention THE MISSION AND CALLING OF THE CHURCH!!!!!"

Dear Calvin of Hippo, His Holiness Pope Francis has delivered daily addresses related to "the salvation of souls" and "THE MISSION AND CALLING OF THE CHURCH!!!!!"

He daily preaches to the Faithful and world Jesus Christ and the Good News. He preaches constantly our need to repent and flee Satan to save our souls.

You stated that Pope Francis is "really busy greening the earth, ranting about global warming..."

Did you read his Encyclical Laudato si? In Laudato si, Pope Francis included a section that exhorted Catholics to restore Sunday to its proper place in the lives of the Faithful.

He exhorted Catholics to restore Sunday to a day centered around the Eucharist. From there, he said that Catholics would learn to spend Sundays in contemplation of God.

Pope Francis noted also that (unnecessary) work is forbidden on Sundays. He said that Sunday is a day for the Eucharistic, contemplation of God, relaxation, absence of work, and holy festivity.

In Laudato si, as he had done many times, Pope Francis exhorted us to develop devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph.

Calvin of Hippo, have you not paid attention to Pope Fracis' Wednesday General Audiences? His General Audiences have been filled with teachings related to the "salvation of souls" and "THE MISSION AND CALLING OF THE CHURCH!!!!!"

For some recent examples of Pope Francis' teachings from General Audiences, addresses, and teachings from his Sunday Angelus addresses, please go to the following link:

http://www.news.va/en/source/vatican-va

Calvin of Hippo, that is just the tip of the iceberg in regard to the countless times that His Holiness Pope Francis has addressed the issues of "salvation of souls" and "THE MISSION AND CALLING OF THE CHURCH!!!!!"

People who believe that His Holiness Pope Francis has focused only on "greening the earth, ranting about global warming, condemning capitalism, beatifying the poor, and telling the US how to manage its economy..." are at fault for not having paid attention to the entire body of Pope Francis' teachings.

Again, that false understanding of His Holiness is on said folks, not Pope Francis.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Calvin of Hippo said...

Mark Thomas, blah, blah, blah (those are theological terms...meaning actions speak louder than words). Fact is, this Pope has sown confusion, doubt, and rumor. His inconsistency, his obviously Leftist political views, his perceived indifferentism, his hostility toward traditional Catholics, and his cavalier attitude toward the Mass (Dixie cups, beach balls, etc.) have alienated many Catholics and given protestants even more ammunition regarding where is the true Church. A Pope should have some awareness of the responsibilities of a shepherd and an understanding that jumping up and down in an already unsteady boat is not the wisest course. You may join the other sycophants at the foot of his wooden chair, doubtless carved by some Third World Leftist, Che worshipping, artisan just drooling to kiss his hammer and sickle Crucifix. Meanwhile, Luther and Calvin are laughing their butts off.

George said...


Anonymous Fr. C. said...

In response to Fr. Allen's latest post, in particular with regard to the divorced and remarried receiving the Eucharist, please permit me to respond first with a thought question: if the divorced and remarried are permitted access to the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick..."

Those persons in a irregular marriage are not permitted access to the Sacrament of Penance or the Eucharist. To the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick...yes.


From the Cathechism of the Catholic church

2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, "a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death."

2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery: If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another's husband to herself.

2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.

the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a letter to the world's bishops on October 14, 1994 said,

7. The mistaken conviction of a divorced-and-remarried person that he may receive holy communion normally presupposes that personal conscience is considered in the final analysis to be able, on the basis of one's own convictions, to come to a decision about the existence or absence of a previous marriage and the value of the new union. However, such a position is inadmissible. Marriage, in fact, both because it is the image of the spousal relationship between Christ and his church as well as the fundamental core and an important factor in the life of civil society, is essentially a public reality. [/library/curia/cdfdivor.txt]

Fr. C. said...

This comment is specifically addressed to Calvin of Hippo, where he writes: "At what point does "mercy" become acquiescence or capitulation?"

I will first answer your question with another, but similar question: at what point does "justice" become cold, hard legalism for its own sake (I might add, the very legalism which Jesus condemned whenever he faced it in the scribes and the Pharisees)?

For far too long, many in the Church focused on what was "missing" rather than what was "present". In other words, focused on what was "wrong" rather than what was "right".

In the Gospels, whenever Jesus encountered a sinner, his focus was always on showing forth the mercy of God, restoring the person to wholeness. However, whenever he faced the hypocrisy of the Phariseeic sort, we usually find Jesus responding with strong language: "blind guides", "white-washed tombs", "woe to you hypocrites", etc.

I think whenever we find ourselves at a crossroads of how to gauge a situation, we ought to first look to the Gospels and to how Jesus handled similar situations. Even speaking as a Canon Lawyer, the first book I turn to is, and should be, Sacred Scripture, not the Code of Canon Law. For the Code of Canon Law is a guide; Scripture is the Word of God.

DJR said...

Fr. C said: Additionally, I am personally not in the camp of those who see a divorce/remarriage situation as a "continuing sin", but rather the act of divorcing, or more particularly remarrying another person, in my view, should be seen as a static act, which can be forgiven, once and for all, by the Sacrament of Penance. Just my opinion, but I know I am not alone in holding that view.

It may be an opinion shared by others, but it is not an opinion shared by the Catholic Church.

The opinion of the Catholic Church, and therefore of God, has been expressed in Sacred Scripture through the words of Saint Paul and Our Lord Himself.

In addition, the issue was taken up by Saint Pope John Paul II, who reflected the teaching of the Catholic Church in Familiaris Consortio. Specifically, para. 84.

"However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they 'take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.'"

Catholics are bound by the above statement, and no authority on earth, even a subsequent pope, can alter the Church's practice or belief in this matter.

The pope has no authority whatsoever to change this. If he attempts to do so, he should be ignored.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The validity of a Protestant marriage does not come from a decree made by the Pope or the Catholic Church, nor does it arise from whether it is referred to as one of seven Sacraments. The promise is the essential thing.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald, I wish please to follow up on Calvin of Hippo's question/statement as to when His Holiness Pope Francis "will find any time in the near future to mention the salvation of souls in expectation of the return of Christ? I mean, I know he has been really busy greening the earth, ranting about global warming, condemning capitalism, beatifying the poor, and telling the US how to manage its economy...but, I was hoping he might at least mention THE MISSION AND CALLING OF THE CHURCH!!!!!"

Calvin of Hippo, in regard to the salvation of souls, you may wish to avail yourself to the following hard-hitting homily from Pope Francis:

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/09/29/pope_at_santa_marta_the_angels_defend_us/1107495

In the homily in question, Pope Francis warned that Satan exists and is determined to lead us into hell.

In turn, Pope Francis exhorted us to pray to the Angels...to turn to them for protection from Satan...to embrace the Church's teachings and prayers in regard to Angels.

Pope Francis, in accord with the Church's teachings, assured us that we will grow closer to Jesus Christ via devotion to Angels.

Pope Francis concluded his somber sermon by exhorting Catholic to pray the venerable prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel.

The link that I posted above will avail you to just one example among the countless times that Pope Francis was not "busy greening the earth, ranting about global warming, condemning capitalism...and telling the US how to manage its economy..."

Calvin of Hippo, if you go to the Vatican's Web site, you will find that His Holiness Pope Francis has time and again addressed such vital topics as the "salvation of souls" as well as "THE MISSION AND CALLING OF THE CHURCH!!!!!"

Pax.

Mark Thomas

George said...

Father C.
"Additionally, I am personally not in the camp of those who see a divorce/remarriage situation as a "continuing sin", but rather the act of divorcing, or more particularly remarrying another person, in my view, should be seen as a static act, which can be forgiven, once and for all, by the Sacrament of Penance. Just my opinion, but I know I am not alone in holding that view."

That sounds a lot like the Eastern Orthodox position. It certainly runs counter to the
Roman Catholic church position on this matter as it currently stands. I can see how there could be changes in the annulment procedure but I don't see how requiring a
Decree of Nullity can be done away with.

bvs said...

Thanks Mark for your response. I wish to comment and that in so many ways my heart is very heavy regarding this pope.

I find him thoroughly confusing. Sometimes he says such odd , even absurd things, (let me know if you would like a list) Then he writes what seem to be very faith filled and sound thoughts. I never know whether he is comming or going.

So I try not to judge him, but only his actions and on this he often worries...He has removed orthodox bishops who have flourishing vocations in their dioceses,and allowed others to remain even when they publically and directly cotradict the magisterium.

And he has put priests into powerful positions, who have openly advocated
for inclusion of the practice of homosexuality into the life of the Church. (Please let me know if u wish me to cite whom; I imagine the readers here know to whom I refer)

This I find harmful to the Church and I wonder just what on earth he is trying to do?

Kind regards












for




Calvin of Hippo said...

Ultramontanism, anyone?

Mark Thomas said...

Calvin of Hippo said..."Thought for the day: At what point does "mercy" become acquiescence or capitulation? Holy Scripture speaks of JUSTICE tempered with mercy."

That is easy. As Pope Francis said last Monday, "The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father."

Pope Francis, as a loyal son of the Church, preaches God's justice and mercy. As far back as his "who am I to judge" comment, Pope Francis has preached that a person must recognize that he or she has committed a sin(s).

From there, Pope Francis said that we must seek God with a sincere heart. The contrite person then confesses his or her sin(s), performs penance, then strives to live a holy life (go and sin no more).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1846 "The Gospel is the revelation in Jesus Christ of God's mercy to sinners. The angel announced to Joseph: "You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

#1847 "To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

It is very simple. The Church teaches the Truth in and out of season. Should we reject the Truth, the Church calls us to repentance. In turn, the person who repents and reforms his life in concert with the Church's teachings will receive God's mercy.

Neither Pope Francis nor the Church has lessened our obligation before God to seek and adhere to Truth and holiness.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Fr. C. said...

To George,

You state: "Those persons in a irregular marriage are not permitted access to the Sacrament of Penance or the Eucharist. To the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick...yes."

You are in error.

Any (and all) Catholics who have received their First Penance are able to receive the Sacrament of Penance. In Canon 991 it states: "Every member of the Christian faithful is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another rite."

Since divorced/remarried persons are indeed "members" of the Church, and Pope Francis has made clear are NOT excommunicated, they can, and do, receive the Sacrament of Penance validly.

Again, my point was that since they can validly receive the Sacraments of Penance and Anointing, why not the Eucharist?


Let's also keep in mind that the Orthodox Church, which the Catholic Church affirms as having all valid Sacraments, and with which we are hoping for a renewal of the bond of Communion, will bless a second marriage. While they do not call it a Sacramental Marriage, the very fact that they will bless such a union and not deny the couple in such a union from receiving Holy Communion, I think makes a great contribution to the discussion.

If the Orthodox Church has long ago found a way for people in such situations to remain connected to the vine of the Eucharist, is there any real reason that the Catholic Church cannot do the same while still be faithful to the Gospel? My response would be that there is no substantial reason why we cannot - in fact, I think the Catholic Church can and should adopt such a pastoral solution or something similar to it.

Mark Thomas said...

bvs said..."I find him thoroughly confusing. Sometimes he says such odd , even absurd things, (let me know if you would like a list)."

His Holiness Pope Francis has issued some statements, such as the "breed like rabbits" statement (he apologized for that misunderstanding), that he had to walk-back.

There isn't any question that his "spontaneous" comments have sometimes resulted in controversies that Father Lombardi has been forced to "clarify."

Father McDonald- permitting, please list some of Pope Francis' statements that have confused you. Perhaps Father McDonald, and/or some of us, can work to try better understand the Pope's statements in question.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

bvs said..."He has removed orthodox bishops...and allowed others to remain even when they publically and directly cotradict the magisterium. And he has put priests into powerful positions, who have openly advocated for inclusion of the practice of homosexuality into the life of the Church. (Please let me know if you wish me to cite whom;...)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Father McDonald-permitting, I would like to please read that list. Thank you.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Fr. C. said...

DJR said: "Catholics are bound by the above statement, and no authority on earth, even a subsequent pope, can alter the Church's practice or belief in this matter.

The pope has no authority whatsoever to change this. If he attempts to do so, he should be ignored."

This makes no sense either from logic or from past papal practice.

Popes can, and HAVE, changed the edicts and pronouncements of their predecessors!

While it is true that no pope has the authority to "change" Scripture, the Holy Father is the authentic interpreter of Scripture and the Vicar of Christ on Earth. Pope Francis, therefore, has every right to change the laws enacted by Pope John Paul II and any other pope. We will see the proof of that in about 13 hours when his two Motu Proprii will be revealed and his changes to the Church's laws regarding annulment will be published and promulgated.

If you are a true Catholic, you don't get to pick which "Holy Father" you choose to follow. A true Catholic accepts the teachings of each Pope as he reigns and follows those teachings unless and until a subsequent pope changes them.

That's how it is, like it or not.

Calvin of Hippo) said...

Ah, so, at what point does "interpretation" become change? Rudolph Bultmann, Paul Tillich, Hans Kung, and Teilhard all have "interpreted" Scripture. Like what they came up with? A loose or liberal interpretation of Scripture can lead to a de facto change. (see "pastoral practice").

Calvin of Hippo) said...

Speaking of your idol, Pope Francis, I just read an article saying that Pope Francis is attracting many "cultural Catholics"...that is, people who are not "religiously Catholic," but culturally Catholic who may come back to the Church because they see Francis as trying to find a "middle way." For instance, 66% of these people think it is just fine for kids to be raised by same sex families. So, is this the Church you want...a middle-way Church? Now, you can apologize for Francis all you like, but this is the perception he is creating and he has to know this. I do read about a "straight and narrow" in Holy Scripture, but I must have missed that "middle-way" part.

George said...

To George,

You state: "Those persons in a irregular marriage are not permitted access to the Sacrament of Penance or the Eucharist. To the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick...yes."

Father C:

You state:
"You are in error.
Since divorced/remarried persons are indeed 'members'of the Church, and Pope Francis has made clear are NOT excommunicated, they can, and do, receive the Sacrament of Penance validly."

Perhaps I should have been more specific in what I posted above.If a Catholic
who has been in a previous marriage divorces his or her spouse and subsequently
enters into another marriage without the granting of a Declaration of Nullity, then that person is living in a continual state of adultery. Confession would only be realistically available to that person if the two spouses in the marriage were living as brother and sister. In that case it would but that was not what I was referring to. This is current Church teaching. This is why Annulment Tribunals are necessary.
If your opinion is it should be otherwise,fine. That is only your opinion.

George said...



Father C:

"Keep in mind that from the beginning, Christ did not impose "state of grace" as a requirement for receiving Holy Communion (or else he would have personally excluded Judas at the Last Supper - which he did not!) and also keep in mind Pope Francis' statement in his Exhortation 'Evangelii Gaudium': "The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."

The Holy Father was using the phrase " not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak" to make a point about those who struggle with sin but are making a sincere effort to overcome their sinfulness. I don't see how that applies to those who are living in another marriage without first obtaining an annulment for a first marriage, and therefor are living in a continual state of adultery. As far as Christ excluding Judas at the last Supper, I'm not sure what definitively can be said about that. Scripture warns us about profaning the Body and Blood of Christ by receiving unworthily. God allowed the events of that time to play out as they did in the way thay did for a purpose. At that point Judas still had the option of changing his mind about betraying Jesus (although it would have put him in a difficult position with those who expected him to deliver Jesus to them) We know from scripture that Judas' life did come to a tragic end.

As far as your rwply to DJR:

The Holy Father cannot change doctrine or dogma or proclaim anything that contradicts what is in Scripture. He cannot ordain women to the priesthood, for instance. He can change those things that are matters of discipline however.

Fr. C. said...

Calvin said: "Rudolph Bultmann, Paul Tillich, Hans Kung, and Teilhard all have "interpreted" Scripture."

Ah, yes, but none of them were the Pope. None of them are authentic interpreters of Scripture. As Vicar of Christ, the Holy Father, who Catholics believe is chosen by the Holy Spirit himself, has the authority to interpret Scripture AND create/change/abrogate the laws by which the Church is governed.

Anonymous said...

The Pope should change his plans and rush to the Austria/Italy border to bless the Muslim refugees...poor things.

Fr. C. said...

George said: "If a Catholic who has been in a previous marriage divorces his or her spouse and subsequently enters into another marriage without the granting of a Declaration of Nullity, then that person is living in a continual state of adultery."

You see, George, that is where there is disagreement. Is it a "continual state of adultery" or was it a static "act" of adultery? You will find, no doubt, Catholic theologians on both sides of this question. And it is this question which, I hope, will be clarified by the Holy Father sometime in the near future. As I have stated, I am in the camp that believes it was a "static act of adultery" not a "continual state of adultery". But I am not the Pope, of course, and I look to his authoritative interpretation if he chooses to make one.

Don't get me wrong - I believe in Annulment Tribunals! However, sometimes a person, for whatever reason, is unable to provide witnesses which, if present, could provide testimony that would verify that something essential was missing from the beginning of the marriage, which makes the putative marriage therefore invalid.

But here is the concern: should justice only be available to those who have enough evidence to "prove" their cases? What about those cases where witnesses who could provide testimony have died or are unable to be located? Do you see why this is such a huge pastoral problem?

Fr. C. said...

Calvin said: "Speaking of your idol, Pope Francis, I just read an article saying that Pope Francis is attracting many "cultural Catholics"..."

Calvin, it is not a question of the current Pope being "my idol"!

My loyalty and obsequium to Pope Francis is exactly the same as I had for Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II, John Paul I, Pope Paul VI, John XXIII, etc.

My loyalty is to the Holy Father - whoever he is! Because he is Christ's representative on Earth. Do you realize the significance of that fact? For me, therefore, for one to go against ANY Pope who is reigning would be equivalent to going against Christ himself!

George said...


Father C:

"... that is where there is disagreement. Is it a "continual state of adultery" or was it a static "act" of adultery? You will find, no doubt, Catholic theologians on both sides of this question."

Where theologians are are on this question is of only passing interest to me. Where the Church is on the matter is what is important. The Church's teaching at present is that it is a continual act of adultery. The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage comes out of the words of Christ in Scripture. The process of annulment can be changed. The teachings of Christ cannot be changed.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous at 7:49 p.m.:

So, we (and the refugees) continue to reap the whirlwind.

Fr. C. said...

George said:
"The Holy Father cannot change doctrine or dogma or proclaim anything that contradicts what is in Scripture. He cannot ordain women to the priesthood, for instance. He can change those things that are matters of discipline however."

As I said above, the Holy Father is not authorized to "change" Scripture, however he is the authority to interpret the meaning of Scripture.

As far as ordaining women to the priesthood, of course the Holy Father can allow that! And to those who use the lame argument that "Christ did not call women to discipleship and therefore the Pope is powerless to allow women to be ordained", I say this: why only focus on gender? Let's take this a bit further (yes, even into the absurd): Christ did not call Irish men to the priesthood. Or Italian Men. Or Polish men. He called Galilean Jews. So one who approaches this only from the perspective of exclusion could make the argument that only Jewish men from Galilee can be called to the priesthood! Yes, a ridiculous conclusion. But when you look at things from an exclusionary angle, where do you stop?

Looked at another way, since they were living in a strongly patriarchal system under Roman Law (where women and children were considered the property of their husbands/fathers) its amazing that the human authors of Scripture even mention the women who accompanied Jesus at all! Are you willing to state categorically that none of these women were disciples? I think a strong argument can be made that Mary Magdalene was a disciple!

Again, this comes down to the question of interpretation of Scripture. And who did I mention is the highest authority to interpret Scripture? The Pope!

So to say emphatically that no Pope could ever permit women to be ordained priests is incorrect. He has the authority. And if he comes to the conclusion that Scripture does not forbid it, then it's only a question of whether or not he chooses to exercise his authority and permit women's ordination.

Calvin of Hippo) said...

So, how are you on the Borgias? Interpretation is interpretation no matter who is doing it...and, a Pope can fail or speak heretically. It will be interesting to see where all this goes. My money is not on the Church, as we know it, winning the war against secularism, modernism, and progressivism. Europe is already pretty much lost, and the Church in this country is not very far behind. I wonder where the Holy Spirit will take up residence as the true Church after this debacle is over...

Calvin of Hippo said...

So, Fr. C is a progressive. That makes it impossible to take him seriously other than as a threat to the Church.

Calvin of Hippo said...

Oh, and here we go with the women thing again. There is no evidence that Mary Magdalene was a disciple except that cooked up by liberal interpreters of Scripture. Oh, let's beat our breasts also about the horrible old patriarchal society...some urologist somewhere is making a fortune on castrations of males in the Church heirarchy, and I suppose neurosurgeons are doing just as well removing spines.

Anonymous said...

So if the pope declares that the proper interpretation of "sin" is "grace"--so Jesus really meant, for instance, "he who is without grace cast the first stone"--then we just roll with that?

Anonymous said...

Mark Thomas, sorry, but I think that the Pope knows exactly what he is saying and doing. Most of what he says can be taken in many different ways, like some of the Vatican II documents which, as Cardinal Kasper puts it, are deliberately ambiguous and can be construed in different ways. I admire your tenacity in trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but others of us have long given up on that idea.

As regards freeing up annulments, I think it would be better for Pope Francis to issue some instructions on the seriousness of marriage and that many are entering in to the Sacrament of Marriage far too lightly, and how seriously do they take their vows anyway. Some are having more than one annulment. Some are married for 30 plus years and suddenly decide their marriage should never have taken place and apply for an annulment - thus becoming free to take up with a younger model and still be able to receive communion.

I believe this whole procedure is making a mockery of the Sacrament of Marriage. It is making the Church's teaching on the indissolvability of marriage seem utterly ridiculous as well.

No doubt Francis is getting in now as he knows he doesn't have the numbers in the synod to pass into law what he has always wanted and that is acceptance of the divorced and remarried at the Communion Rail.


I am sorry but if Pope Francis frees up annulments to the extent that we just have annulments on demand then he will have turned the Church into something that can no longer be taken seriously and it will then take another papacy to bring the Church back from the path onto which she has been diverted.

Jan

George said...


Father C:

The Holy Father is limited in what he can do. The male only priesthood has its foundation in Holy Scripture.

"And who did I mention is the highest authority to interpret Scripture? The Pope!"

He is limited. The Holy Father cannot change doctrine or dogma or proclaim anything that contradicts what is in Scripture.

"'So to say emphatically that no Pope could ever permit women to be ordained priests is incorrect. He has the authority. And if he comes to the conclusion that Scripture does not forbid it, then it's only a question of whether or not he chooses to exercise his authority and permit women's ordination.'"

What kind of Catholic are you to say such a thing? A correct reading of Scripture forbids it.

Pope John Paul II declared in 1994 that the church has no authority to ordain women, a position which was confirmed a year later by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI. At the time, Cardinal Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Why? Because the male only priesthood is foundational.

Women cannot fulfill a basic function of the priesthood, "standing in the place of Jesus".

Anonymous said...

Fr C, no, Pope Francis cannot allow the ordination of women. As Pope Francis said himself the door to that is closed. It was made a dogma of the Church by St John Paul II The Great.

Jan

Jusadbellum said...

Every ancient religion in the Roman world had priestesses. It would not have been at all a culturally difficult thing for the early Church to ordain women as priestesses.

But Jesus chose only men.

Now, the Catholic doctrine starts with Jesus' choice. Theologians only later came up with reasons why this makes sense but the choice of Jesus can't be set aside anymore than we can set aside water for baptism or bread and wine for the Eucharist.

As for the ridiculousness about only Galilean Jews.... the earliest generation understood that Gentile converts could be ordained. Thus we get Titus and Timothy.

Really the modern feminist and male castrati "theologians" (yes, quotes) are breathtakingly ill educated on this subject.

1) we all know ancient culture had priestesses: cult of Isis, Mithras, Vestal Virgins, Barbarian religions.... it was entirely common. In the Roman world women had property rights and held power over men. They weren't half as bad as modern feminists claim they were.

2) beyond Jesus' words, we have the testimony of the first centuries of Christians who throughout the first 300 years did face heresies promoting all manner of things from temple prostitution to ordaining women and they rejected them as heretics. So we've been to this rodeo before. To claim it was never ever looked into until modern man came along is to basically admit to not knowing much about the early Church. They were no less intelligent than we are today. Their society as as sophisticated as ours in social terms and cosmopolitan mixes of cultures and influences.

3) thus when both scripture and the earliest tradition reinforces the idea of an all male ordained clergy and countless saints and mystics and Marian apparitions all reinforce this as holy, modern era feminists have nothing to base their argument on except "but I wanna and if you don't let me, I'm gonna be mad!".

Tough luck. Reality doesn't care that some moderns' 'feelz' are hurt.

Being ordained is not as important as being holy.... countless millions know of Mother Theresa but no one knows who the cardinal of India was. Those who seek women ordination seek power for powers sake, not holiness for Christ's sake.

DJR said...

Fr. C. said...
DJR said: "Catholics are bound by the above statement, and no authority on earth, even a subsequent pope, can alter the Church's practice or belief in this matter.

The pope has no authority whatsoever to change this. If he attempts to do so, he should be ignored."

This makes no sense either from logic or from past papal practice.

Popes can, and HAVE, changed the edicts and pronouncements of their predecessors!

While it is true that no pope has the authority to "change" Scripture, the Holy Father is the authentic interpreter of Scripture and the Vicar of Christ on Earth. Pope Francis, therefore, has every right to change the laws enacted by Pope John Paul II and any other pope. We will see the proof of that in about 13 hours when his two Motu Proprii will be revealed and his changes to the Church's laws regarding annulment will be published and promulgated.

If you are a true Catholic, you don't get to pick which "Holy Father" you choose to follow. A true Catholic accepts the teachings of each Pope as he reigns and follows those teachings unless and until a subsequent pope changes them.

That's how it is, like it or not.


That is NOT the teaching of the Catholic Church. Coming from a priest, it is outrageous.

The rules regarding the streamlining of annulments have nothing to do with whether divorced and "remarried" Catholics can receive Holy Communion. They can't. It's a sacrilege.

The beef here is with Saint Paul and Our Lord. Pope Francis cannot change the Church's teaching in that regard.

That's number 1.

Number 2. The idea that a pope has to be listened to merely because he is pope is absurd. Pope John XXII publicly taught heresy. He was resisted. Those who resisted were correct; the pope was in error.

At least two of Pope Formosus' successors condemned him as an antipope. Their successors reversed those decrees. Those two popes were wrong; those who resisted were right.

A pope cannot make true that which is untrue. It's beyond his power. Just like no pope can ordain a woman as a priest. He "hath not the power."

End of story.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The fatal flaw of 1960's and 70's rupture theology is that It doesn't believe that Jesus continues to guide the Church through the Magisterium. It simple sees the Church as a human organization and Jesus as a static dead hero. Fr. C might be like Fr. Cummings in this regard but I don't know.

As for women priestesses and the ensuing iconoclasm of defined dogma and doctrine that would occur if the pope committed to this error, I think it would place any pope in the anti-pope category. Papal infallibility and authority is quite limited by the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium. Pope Sy. JPII stated the obvious when he said pope's have no authority to permit the opening of Holy Orders to woman as it is an infallible part of the Deposit of Faith in the Ordinary Magisterium. Just as a pope could not declare the Church to be just a human organization.

Anonymous said...

"As far as ordaining women to the priesthood, of course the Holy Father can allow that! And to those who use the lame argument that "Christ did not call women to discipleship and therefore the Pope is powerless to allow women to be ordained", I say this: why only focus on gender?........"

That statement is heresy. I guess the "C" stands for clericalism because that is what all your arrogant statements say about you "Father". Newsflash concerning the authority of the pope which you have said you believe in and obey regardless of who is sitting on the chair of Peter. The pope possesses infallibility, when specifically stated and used concerning Faith and morals. Pope St. John Paul II invoked papal infallibility when he declared that females cannot be ordained to the priesthood. And he stated specifically so that there is no confusion about this. And the most humblest pope everrrrrrr publicly stated that the door is closed on that issue precisely because it was settled by John Paul II.

Father Clericalism you have no right to publicly teach anything contrary to the Faith. You have absolutely no authority about pretty much anything. You merely represent your bishop. That's all. You can't exercise any authority without his permission. You cannot licitly offer Mass (which you have no authority to "add, remove or change anything on your own authority"), you cannot absolve people from sin, nor can you officiate at weddings or minister in anyway without the permission of the bishop. You Father are to do what you are told by the Church by your bishop. I suggest you either adhere, as Vatican II demanded, your intellect and will to that of the Church or you leave. I know it's an easy life and living off the poor while pontificating your own personal agenda gives you a feeling of superiority but man up. Either be a Catholic priest or get off the gravy train, support yourself with money you earned and then do what you want to do. If not you are merely a parrosite who feels entitled to spew heresy because you know at this moment in time Holy Mother Church is sick and can't/ won't fight back. What kind of person takes advantage of a loving Mother the way you are. You are a disgrace and a place is already prepared for what you justly deserve. What did Christ say about those in authority who lead people astray.....something about a millstone tied around their neck. Of course he said this in a merciful way.

Anonymous said...

Fr C, just for clarification for you, if you are indeed a priest you have fallen woefully behind on Church teaching on the ordination of women:

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS OF JOHN PAUL II

Even that great liberal blog the National Catholic (Schismatic) Reporter states: "With regards to the ordination of women, the church has spoken and says no. Pope John Paul [II] said so with a formula that was definitive. That door is closed." He was referring to Pope John Paul's 1994 document, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis."

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/pope-francis-and-womens-ordination

Jan

Anonymous said...

Fr. C is another excellent example of the subterfuge going on within the Church everywhere. Unless these people are weeded out and expelled, the Church will continue toward her absorption by culture and secularism. Silencing them is not an option because they will not shut up. Elizabeth tried to silence Mary for years, and Calvin tried patiently (for a while) to silence Servetus. You cannot shut these people up.

Fr. C. said...

Wow -- just wow!
I guess I stumbled onto the wrong website.
I am gathering from all the latest vitriol that the typical commenter here is a Pre-Vatican II "anti-Novus Ordo" type.
If that is the case, then there is little, if any, room for discussion, so this will be my last post here.

There is an old saying: "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time...and it annoys the pig."
So that's it. I wish you all well and may God bless you.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thanks Fr. C for resurrecting (although perhaps you are stuck) the 1970's liberal arrogance. Back then to be called pre-Vatican II was similar to white racists using the "N" word. At least you have grown a bit in your condensension, by simply calling the orthodox and faithful pigs. God help us!

Flavius Hesychius said...

typical commenter here is a Pre-Vatican II "anti-Novus Ordo" type

Not me. If anything, this entire discussion, including your comments, has given me even more reason to distrust the Papacy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, C...don't let the thurible hit you in the butt on the way out!

Anonymous said...

Hey, let's don't be so hasty. Pope Francis can always interpret "I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women" to mean " I declare that the Church has authority to confer priestly ordination on women."

Anonymous said...

Wow -- just wow, Fr C, it seems to me that while purporting to uphold the papacy you don't let a little thing like dogma stand in your way of the ordination of women and, typical of the liberal who has no answer to truth, so not a leg to stand on, you just descend to insulting the faithful and the orthodox, as Fr McDonald points out, which places you firmly in the camp of the unfaithful and the unorthodox. I am sure everyone on this blog will remember you in their prayers as you obviously need them.

Jan

Mark Thomas said...

Jan, September 7, 2015 at 10:45 PM..."Mark Thomas, sorry, but I think that the Pope knows exactly what he is saying and doing. Most of what he says can be taken in many different ways, like some of the Vatican II documents which, as Cardinal Kasper puts it, are deliberately ambiguous and can be construed in different ways. I admire your tenacity in trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but others of us have long given up on that idea."

Jan, I wouldn't say that "most" of Pope Francis' statements may be taken in different ways. However, I agree with you that Pope Francis "knows exactly what he is saying and doing"...except that some of his off-the-cuff remarks have required "clarifications" from Father Lombardi.

Even a person who communicates well with people may be prone to verbal gaffs when speaking extemporaneously.

His Holiness Pope Francis has sometimes issued baffling statements. However, I again disagree that "most" of Pope Francis' statements may be taken in different ways.

Thank you.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Calvin of Hippo said...

Mark Thomas is again playing a great game of "defend the Pope" Twister. He is going to need a chiropractor very badly, however.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Defending the pooe is not a game for Catholics but required for our orthodoxy!

Jusadbellum said...

St. Athanasius didn't "defend the Pope" but neither did he attack him or ask why the Pope wasn't doing more fighting. Instead he just kept defending the deposit of the faith against Arians no matter who or where they were.

I think attacking Pope Francis' actions or omissions, words or meanings are essentially distractions and can become easy crutches, easy 'outs' to the harder but more essential task of defending the faith (regardless of whether he can help with more clarity etc.).

If the Pope is more or less holy, more or less intelligent or more or less capable of clarity of teaching, it doesn't absolve me of doing my best to do my duty....

Sure, it helps if the top pastor is a saint, intelligent, and a great speaker.... but if he's none of the above, he's still Pope and I'm still a disciple and the Lord will judge me not on how accurate I am in accusing the Pope but in how effective I've been in bearing witness to the truth as His disciple.

Calvin of Hippo said...

It looks like a game to me...quite an athletic event...RACING to clarify, JUMPING to defend the indefensible, DODGING the obvious, BLOCKING criticism, STRETCHING meanings, BENDING over backwards to make sense of nonsense, LEAPING over logic, and RUNNING from the truth...all while the rest of us are hurling. I will not make the obvious comment regarding your interesting misspelling of "pope."

Flavius Hesychius said...

Defending the pooe is not a game for Catholics but required for our orthodoxy!

Indeed?

Calvin of Hippo said...

LOL!

George said...

Jusadbellum:
"The idea that a pope has to be listened to merely because he is pope is absurd. Pope John XXII publicly taught heresy. He was resisted. Those who resisted were correct; the pope was in error."

What you say about Pope John XXII is not correct. He did preach in some of his sermons that that those who died in the faith did not see the presence of God until the Last Judgment. He eventually changed his position.
He is not considered a heretic because the doctrine for which he had a contrary opinion had not been formally defined at the time of his papacy. His successor did formally define as part of Church teaching in the the encyclical Benedictus Deus, Beyond that, any pope who teaches anything contrary to what that Church has formally defined, is no longer pope, but is for all intents and purposes, an anti-pope.

bvs said...

Okay I shall pull that list (re bishops and priests) together in the next few days for you.

And statements as well.

Cheers

Blossom

Anonymous 2 said...

Father C (if you are still reading):

On this Blog if you say the “wrong thing,” some commenter-townsfolk make it pretty clear that you should get the hell out of Dodge. That doesn’t mean you have to go, though. Only Sheriff McDonald can make you leave Dodge. =)

Calvin of Hippo said...

Anon 2, your post reminds me of the old Gunsmoke shows, from which we could learn much about dealing with crime. Matt Dillon approaches a bad guy and says:
"Wilson, I want you out of town by sun-up."
Wilson replies: "Well, Marshall, what if I don't leave?"
Dillon says, "Then, I'll kill you." And, when he does not leave, Matt Dillon kills him. Ah, the good old days.

bvs said...

Jusadbellum,

I thought your comments were very well put.After all in the end we are all answerable to Our Lord for our own lives.

The challenge with less orthodox prelates is that we may get so caught up in our anxiety over the harm/and potential harm they cause/may cause and rightly so, that we lose site of Jesus'promise to safeguard HIS holy church,and more importantly, for myself at least, lose site of my own challenges in living out the truth of my calling as a child of God, trying to listen to Him and do His will in the life that He was kind enough to give me.

This, so that not only I may reach heaven, but also by my life may call out to others to come to Jesus too.

bvs said...

I wonder if Fr C is a real priest. I sincerely hope not. In case, though, please every one, let's consecrate him to Our Lady and ask that he may become a holy and loving priest.

He is in dire need of charity.

Cheers

Anonymous 2 said...

Ah yes, Calvin:

The Wild West approach to law enforcement—What a great idea! I should have anticipated such a response from you. Is it your Gene's I wonder. =)


Calvin of Hippo said...

Well, Anon 2, there has to be a happy medium, but we have gone too far from Matt Dillon and a no nonsense approach to crime.

Flavius Hesychius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flavius Hesychius said...

Whoops, wrong thread.