Skip to comments.Pope says “no” to hasty, bureaucratic judgements on marriage annulments
Posted on 11/09/2013 3:08:36 AM PST by markomalley
If a Defender of the Bond wants to serve well, he cannot limit himself to a hasty reading of the acts or to bureaucratic and generic answers, Francis said in his Audience with the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church. In his address he spoke about the important function of the Defender of the Bond in the marriage annulment process, urging him to "harmonize the provisions of Canon law with the concrete situations of the Church and society.
The Defender of the Bonds faithful fulfilment of his task does not mean taking over the ecclesiastical judges duties. His task is simply to present the case, the Pope said. His task is to present all proof, exceptions, complaints and appeals are presented in respect of the truth and in defence of the marital bond.
When the Defender of the Bond presents an appeal to the Roman Rota against a decision he deems detrimental to the truth of a bond, he does not abuse his office by carrying out tasks that belong to the judge; rather, the thorough work carried out by the Defender of the Bond helps the judge perform his job.
In his address to members of the Apostolic Signatura, he recognised the work it did to ensure the correct administration of justice in the Church. Your job is to promote the work of the ecclesiastical Tribunals that are called to adequately respond to faithful who turn to the Churchs justice system to obtain just decision.
Finally, the Pope addressed those whose ministry is dedicated to ecclesiastical justice. They act on behalf of the Church and they are part of the Church, Francis underlined. So it is important to maintain the link between the evangelical action of the Church and the Churchs administration of justice. Service to justice is a commitment of apostolic life: it requires to be exercised with ones gaze fixed upon the icon of the Good Shepherd, who bends himself toward the lost and wounded sheep.
I can't comment because I don't know the facts on this particular case, but it would be a serious misunderstandng to suppose that an annulment means that a wife was a whore and the children were bastards.
Neither "whore" nor "bastards" nor any synonym nor any words to that effect are any part of Canon Law. If a man begets a baby, under any circumstances, Canon Law terms that his "natural child," if a woman bears a baby, no matter what the circumstances, Canon Law similarly terms that her "natural child."
Not only that, but the reasons for a finding of nullity are not published, out of respect for people's privacy (although one of the parties may choose to disclose them.) For all anyone knows, there could have been a finding of grave defect on the part of the hisband which resulted in his vows being invalid (e.g. because of deception, mental incapacity or fraud on his part).
Or there could have some other issue entirely, such as consanguinity, or inadvertent bigamy --- somebody presumed their previous, long-time-missing spouse was dead, but he/she turned up living under a different name on Tijuana --- or one party or the other being not baptized. (I'm not saying that's the case, but those are examples of reasons which would not impute any fault on the part of the wife.)
A while ago, some FReepers were all upset about a Catholic biggie getting an annulment, with the gossip centering on the supposition that he had paid off a Tribunal to get him off from his vows.
Later, the guys' ex-wife published a tells-all memoir in which she claimed that he had totally deceived her from Day One about his commitment to an exclusive, monogamous and lifeling marriage.
So his vows were found to be null because of having been fraudulently made.
FReepers started chiming in "Yeah, he's a ^$%$$ liar,"etc. etc, basically vindicating the Tribunal, which said his vows were rubbish.
Not so. I had a married couple as RCIA students (adults wanting to enter the Catholic Church) who both had previous marriages. They've been married (civilly) for 10 years. When they sought to enter the Church, they had to resolve their situation by seeking annulment from their previous attempted marriages. It took awhile, but they did it. The entered the Church last Easter. And they just had their marriage to each other--- their present, and only real marriage ---"covalidated" in a short, simple 10-min. ceremony with our pastor at a weekday morning Mass. It was sweet.
On the other hand, if the previous marriages were judged valid, they can't canonically be married to each other. It is bigamy to be married to a second person while your first spouse is still living.
Fears-in-advance because a pope "might" do something wrong --- preemptive fear in anticipation of evidence --- may possibly involve rash judgment. I think such judgments should be prayed over with discretion, not aired in public to all and sundry.
You just made a public judgement above. How about practicing what you preach?
Since when is expressing a fear a judgement?
What is an “attempted marriage”? I always thought that was something like the groom getting run off the altar by an angry dad with a shotgun.
Not ten years later, when the couple has had 5 kids.
I made a judgment about judgments (actions). Anybody's judgments. I didn't make a judgment about you, ebb tide.
One not only may, but ofttimes must, make sound moral judgments about actions. This is quite different from a personal accusation against a particular individual, especially when the facts are unknown..
Please re-read to note the phrase, "may possibly involve."
If I were to say, "I fear Jones may be about to start sodomizing his nephew," in public and without evidence, I am judging by insinuation. This is wrong in proportion to the wrongness of the act being discussed. If the act would be a trivial fault, the insinuation is a trivial fault. If the act would be a venial sin, the insinuation is a venial sin. If the act would be a mortal sin, the insinuation is a mortal sin --- assuming the usual conditions (adequate knowledge and intention.)
I am just reminding you. I assume we all know this.
“Attempted marriage” is the canonical term for a previous marriage which turns out to be invalid.
That's an interesting phrase. All of my fears are of the future; not the past.
In this case, no substantiating grounds, or reasonable inferences from evidence, were offered.
“....it appears this first marriage wasnt Catholic anyway?, so its practically automatically annuled.”
No, it’s not, if the first marriage was in a church, any church. “In the eyes of the (Roman Catholic) Church,” a Baptist/Episcopal/Jewish/whatever marriage is valid, and no civil divorce is recognized.
I ran into that when I planned to marry someone who’d been married in the Episcopal Church and who’d gone thru a civil divorce. “In the eyes of the (Roman Catholic) Church,” he was still married. The Catholic priest could not officiate at our wedding.
You’re correct, sorry for not being clear. An Annulment is required, but is relatively easy.
Frankly, it comes off as quibbling. I regard the woman who split up a marriage as a home wrecker. An immoral woman. Cold-blooded and selfish. And she seems to have hitched the church to her particular wagon--be the accessory to a divorce, yet the innocent party as she appears before the altar with her newly-annuled, newly-Catholic "husband."
He took one set of vows before God, and he had children of his body. Now, because a Catholic woman wants things to be neat and pretty for her "sacrament," the true wife gets completely dissed by the church. Her children, too. That's what any onlooker would conclude.
Frankly, it's a heckuva way to deal with divorce and the church.
I wouldn't for a moment exclude the possibility that the declaration of nulliy may have been in error. Canonical judges make errors sometimes. Sometimes people lie to Truibunals. All of this sort of thing is excruciatingly commonplace in the breakup of a marriage, whether the whole agony of it is dragged through civil or ecclesiastical courts, or both.
However it is no reflection on the Church if people are dissing this man's original wife, and his children. The Chrch did not do that. The Church published no record of moral judgment against this woman, and said no disparaging word about the children.
This whole "she was called a whore, and her children bastards" thing is attributable to stupid or hateful onlookers. It has nothing --- nothing --- to do with the deliberations of the Tribunal.
The Church respeted her and her husband enough to treat their nuptial relationship seriously and try to evaluate the soundness of their vows on the basis of their own testimony ()hers as well as his.) She woud have had a canonical advocate: these things are not railroaded through on the insistence of one party only.
And a Declaration of Nullity does not mean their whole life together was a nullity. It just means that their vows involved some defect with the result that their marriage was not canonically whole from the start.
It is relly unjust to blame the Church for the damage done by slanderous gossip, by rash judgment, by ignorant and vicious tongues.
Some people dig their way to hell with their mouths.
Thank-you for taking the time to link me to a generic Google search!
If only Pope Clement VII had such access to it, he would have never excommunicated Henry VIII; nor would there be an Anglican church.
If this "Catholic biggie" was Ted Kennedy, for example, he was able to get his first marriage annulled because HE was the one who entered into it with no intention of being faithful to his wife. HE was the one who petitioned for the annulment so he could marry his Catholic girlfriend and it was granted to him over the objections of his first wife and with four children being the product of that "null" marriage which was performed in a Catholic Church BY a Catholic priest. What example is being given here where a serial adulterer can get his church to do just about anything he wants even when it is HIM that is the wrongdoer??? Whatever reputation the Roman Catholic Church has gotten over these annulments - and it's been ongoing for centuries, it fully deserves.
Jesus confronted divorce without metaphor and wishful thinking in the gospels, and the bottom line was, God allowed divorce in the OT because humans were so fallen, and had such "hard hearts." Jesus said remarriage after divorce is adultery. To deal with divorce is one thing, to engage in such fatuous conceits is quite another.
Gossip? The divorce happened, did it not? Children are born of a man and a woman joined together, did it not? The present adulterous man is now traveling the world, trying to "buy" babies to give his wife, who is infertile--the illusion that she is
as good as the True Wife. And in the clear common sense of Jesus Christ, the Church is disobedient to his Word. Not that we don't have to face the harshness of divorce in every congregation, but to add these layers of hocus pocus, is, I contend, cruel. I'm hoping Francis will deal with the histrionics and come back to plain sense. The temptation to escape reality is truly the temptation to escape conscience.
This True Family continues, I contend, to have a righteous issue against a church that puts them away for the convenience of an immoral woman. The Church should be ashamed of this.