Thursday, March 20, 2014


The National Catholic Register, which deserves it name, had a brief interview with Cardinal O'Malley. You can read the full interview by pressing here.

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.


Anonymous said...

"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."

{Not being a priest) I don't understand a priest doing without episcopal guidance something that on its face appears contrary to Catholic doctrine and policy (as generally understood by well-informed Catholics).

John Nolan said...

A loose canon or a loose cannon? or possibly both?

Carol H. said...

Yup, that's exactly what you've been saying!

Wishing you well on your surgery tomorrow. If you need something to make you smile, you might want to check out:

It is the only live eagle cam in Georgia, and it has great night vision.

Cameron said...

But isn't it true that--at least in the United States--annulments are already extremely common and very easy to get in the first place?

Rood Screen said...


I our diocese, the chancery instructs priests NOT to recommend this option to troubled couples.

George said...

If a person, who knowing Church teaching, gets a divorce and then remarries(without securing an annulment) then an understandable assessment would be that the person's faith is tenuous at best. Of course "knowing Church teaching" might in itself be considered a tenuous assumption given the state of the faith today among so many. One does expect that the person before marrying again has sought the advice of a priest or someone knowledgable in the faith, but even if the person didn't, ignorance of Church law would not negate the penalty . Even so, when such occurs, it presents a catechetical opportunity to instruct children or other adults not to remarry without an annulment or there will be consequences to face just like there is with anything else that is forbidden. Still, I don't see how one can object to every effort being made to resolve these situations as long as Church teaching is not compromised.

Pater Ignotus said...

Carol H. - Too Funny! I was checking the Berry eagle cam site just before I popped in here!