Skip to comments.The Synodís three paths for remarried divorcees
Posted on 10/11/2013 7:29:59 PM PDT by ebb tide
The Synod of bishops proposes a different pastoral approach to marriage: Less bureaucracy, speedier processes and above all, universal access to causes for the annulment of marriages
ANDREA TORNIELLI vatican city Shock declarations, such as the ones contained in the document issued by the Diocese of Freiburg which offers recommendations on communion for remarried divorcees end up complicating rather than facilitating reflection on the issue. Pope Francis intention is for this issue to be discussed at an Extraordinary Synod in October 2014. The Synod will be broken down into various sessions and could be followed by another meeting involving a larger group of bishops in 2015 who will take decisions regarding remarried divorcees. The problem is becoming increasingly felt as separations are becoming more and more frequent. Marriage and the family are becoming increasingly fragile in todays secularised society and Christians are not immune to this.
Unlike many other issues on the progressivist agenda (such as the abolition of obligatory priestly celibacy and the ordination of women priests), the issue of welcoming, accompanying, involving and administering the sacraments to couples in irregular situations affects a growing number of people. The remarried divorcee question is creating a silent schism.
Francis has spoken about this issue on many occasions and has given answers to specific questions. The last time he did this was last month in a closed-door meeting with the Roman clergy. Someone asked the Pope a question about annulled marriages and second marriages. Francis response was clear. He described an experience he had had in Buenos Aires, when the inter-diocesan ecclesiastical tribunal sometimes made the bureaucratic process faithful had to go through, needlessly complicated. The problem, Francis said, cannot be reduced merely to a matter of who can receive communion or not, because to pose the question in these terms does not enable an understanding of the real problem. ... It is a serious problem regarding the Church's responsibility towards families living in this situation.
Pope Francis approach, his insistence on mercy is taking a very clear direction: accompaniment. It aims to bring pastors closer to people living in such situations. One path which the Synod will explore further is a pastoral approach that will ensure that the many people who find themselves in what Catholic moral teaching terms irregular marital situations, do not feel excluded or rejected. I believe this is the time of mercy. This change of era, also so many problems of the Church such as the witness thats not good of some priests, also problems of corruption in the Church, also the problem of clericalism, to give an example have left so many wounds, so many wounds. And the Church is Mother: she must go to heal the wounds with mercy. But if the Lord does not tire of forgiving, we have no other choice than this: first of all, to cure the wounds. The Church is Mother and must go on this path of mercy. And find mercy for all, Francis said on the return flight from Brazil after the World Youth Day celebrations.
Pope Francis also indicated a second path which had already been traced by his predecessor. At his meeting with the Roman clergy, Francis said The Church must now do something to solve the problem of marriage annulment. Ratzinger had spoken about this many times before, showing a willingness and openness towards this issue that go completely against the image of the firm conservative many associate him with. At a meeting with the diocesan clergy of Italys Aosta region back in 2005, Benedict XVI had said: We all know that this is a particularly painful problem for people who live in situations in which they are excluded from Eucharistic Communion, and naturally for the priests who desire to help these people love the Church and love Christ. This is a problem.
None of us has a ready-made formula, - Ratzinger went on to say - also because situations always differ. I would say that those who were married in the Church for the sake of tradition but were not truly believers, and who later find themselves in a new and invalid marriage and subsequently convert, discover faith and feel excluded from the Sacrament, are in a particularly painful situation. This really is a cause of great suffering and when I was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I invited various Bishops' Conferences and experts to study this problem: a sacrament celebrated without faith. Whether, in fact, a moment of invalidity could be discovered here because the Sacrament was found to be lacking a fundamental dimension, I do not dare to say. I personally thought so, but from the discussions we had I realized that it is a highly-complex problem and ought to be studied further. But given these people's painful plight, it must be studied further.
Page 2 of 2 In reality, so many marriages were null because not celebrated in the faith. This tiny open window could make it a bit easier for a couple to have their marriage annulled. The general popular (and not without reason) belief is that causes for annulment are seen as the prerogative of kings, of the nobility, of VIPs, of those with lawyer friends and in general of those who are able to cough up large sums of money. Serious reform work that takes Ratzingers reflections into consideration (these are fully supported by Francis) and makes the annulment process simpler and more accessible would make it possible for so many people to participate in the sacraments again. Pope Francis had spelt this out to journalists on the return flight from Rio: Cardinal Quarracino, my predecessor, used to say that as far as he was concerned, half of all marriages are null. But why did he say this? Because people get married lacking maturity, they get married without realizing that it is a life-long commitment, they get married because society tells them they have to get married. And this is where the pastoral care of marriage also comes in. And then there is the legal problem of matrimonial nullity, this has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this. It is complex, the problem of the pastoral care of marriage.
Finally, there is a third path, which Francis only alluded to during the question and answer session on the flight from Rio to Rome: With reference to the issue of giving communion to persons in a second union (because those who are divorced can receive communion, there is no problem, but when they are in a second union, they cant ), I believe that we need to look at this within the larger context of the entire pastoral care of marriage. And so it is a problem. But also a parenthesis the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology of what they call oikonomia [economy, Ed.], and they give a second chance, they allow it. But I believe that this problem and here I close the parenthesis must be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage.
Pope Francis only mentioned the practices of the Orthodox Church briefly in brackets without going into detail about it Cardinal Roger Etchegaray had spoken about this more extensively during a Consistory. The Orthodox follow a certain theology of economy and philanthropy, permitting a second union under certain circumstances. Orthodoxy is not divorcist and sticks to Jesus words against the dissolution of a marriage, an act it sees as the unilateral and human dissolution of a divine bond. But although it rejects the dissolution of marriage the Orthodox Church is nevertheless prepared to tolerate second marriage as an economic (exemption) and philanthropic (love) measure, based on the one exception Christ himself makes in the Gospel of Matthew (19:9): I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
This applies to couplet whose marital bond was dissolved by the Church (not the State), on the basis of the power that the Church has to dissolve and bind. A second opportunity is also given in certain other cases: if adultery is persistently committed and when the marital bond becomes a lie. Only the innocent party is allowed to enter into a second marriage after their previous marriage has been dissolved. Unlike the first marriage, the second union is celebrated with a penitential rite which involves the recognition of failure and includes an absolution prayer.
There is theological justification in the Orthodox Churchs claim that second marriages are not a real sacrament but at most a sacramental symbol which allows newlyweds to consider their union as fully accepted by the Church community. The justification is that according to ancient tradition, the couple crowning step of the marriage ceremony is missed out in second marriages. The second marriage rite also applies to widows, so, in principle, the Orthodox Church only allows faithful to enter into one real sacramental marriage during their lifetime. This is not so in Catholic Church.
CWN - January 29, 2010
Granting easy access to marriage annulments is an offense against both justice and charity, said Pope Benedict XVI on January 29.
The Popes message has a particular resonance in the US, whose Catholic Church tribunals account for more than half of the worlds annulment decrees. Pope Benedict, like Pope John Paul II before him, has repeatedly argued for a more vigorous defense of the marital bond.
In an address to the Churchs highest tribunal for marriage cases, the Holy Father warned against the tendencywidespread and well-rooted though not always obviousto contrast justice with charity, almost as if the one excluded the other. He reminded the tribunals judges and advocated that the marriage laws of the Church are oriented toward the spiritual welfare of the individuals, and applying those laws properly is itself a work of charity. Ultimately, he reminded them, the Church's juridical activity has as its goal the salvation of souls.
Without truth charity slides into sentimentalism, the Pope told officials of the Roman Rota, at the opening of its judicial term. Love becomes an empty shell to be filled arbitrarily. This is the fatal risk of love in a culture without truth.
Pope Benedict acknowledged that a marriage tribunal comes under pressure to announce the nullity of a marriage, due to the desires and expectations of the parties involved, or to the conditioning of the social environment. But he argued strenuously against lowering the standards of canon law in order to achieve a declaration of nullity at any cost. He decried the use of pseudo-psychological theories that see any marital problems as evidence of nullity, observing that this approach has the deleterious effect of transforming all conjugal difficulties into a symptom of a failed union whose essential nucleus of justice-- the indissoluble bond-- is thus effectively denied.
The Pope went so far as to suggest that tribunals should do their best to save marriages intact whenever that is possible. In most American dioceses, couples are required to file for a civil divorce before submitting an annulment application. But the Pontiff suggest that effective efforts be made, whenever there seems to be hope of a successful outcome, to encourage the spouses to convalidate their marriage and restore conjugal cohabitation.
Recognizing that some Catholics who have divorced and remarried want to obtain annulments in order to resume their active membership in the Church, and regain access to the sacraments, the Pope expressed sympathy for their goals but cautioned against offering a false advantage. If the first marriage was valid, he reasoned, then the remarried couple is living an objectively immoral situation. Under those circumstances, he said, it is wrong for a tribunal to ease the way towards receiving the Sacraments, at the risk of causing people to live in objective contrast with the truth of their own individual state.
Vatican City -- In a speech to the judges and lawyers of the Roman Rota, the church's central appellate court, on January 29, 2005, Pope John Paul II emphasised that all those involved in ecclesiastical tribunals have the duty to conform to the truth about marriage as the Church teaches it.
He noted a concern in recent years regarding declaring failed marriages null and void for principally "pastoral" reasons. Many of these annulments have been granted out of feelings of "false compassion" and with little regard for objective truth.
Based on 2002 statistics, 56,000 requests for annulment went before local diocesan tribunals that year. Of the 46,000 granted, 31,000 came from North America, compared with 9,000 from Europe. This contrasts with numbers in the mere hundreds in the U.S.A. of the 1960s.
Concern caused by these numbers has prompted the Vatican to issue a revised handbook of rules for Church marriage tribunals. Entitled Dignitas Conubii (The dignity of marriage) and issued by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, the document gives instructions "aimed at ascertaining the truth" of whether a marriage actually existed.
Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Council, while emphasizing that the dignity of marriage must be defended "even if this requires going against the current", refused to commit himself on whether fewer annulments would be granted under the updated rules.
The previous tribunal guidelines date back to 1936. (FiLes from Zenit. Yahoo!news. Cath. Register)
That was Pope Benedict. Pope Francis has already trumped Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum. Who’s gonna stop him from trumping the Seventh Commandment?
Jesuit Gone Wild!
No kidding. Now I know why I had a pit in my stomach when I heard he was a Jesuit as they announced him as pope.