Sunday, September 18, 2011

Catherine of Aragon - a Patron Saint for Victims of Spousal Abandonment?

I've never been able to understand why pastors believe that it's "pastoral" to publicize annulment information evenings. If that's such a "pastoral" idea, why aren't comparable information sessions publicized about laicization for priests and/or dispensation from religious vows? Is there not a subtle disrespect for the Sacrament of Marriage at play? Are we not overlooking the very real plague of spousal abandonment?





  • "There is abundant research to affirm the dire consequences of divorce for children....As Catholics who believe in the sanctity and permanence of the marriage vow, we can understand why things go drastically wrong when that vow is breached....What we may not know is that most divorces are situations in which one person wants to end the marriage while the other is fighting to save it....

    "We must fight our tendency to look the other way in the name of discretion or a false sense of charity....As Catholics, we have moral obligations when we know someone who has abandoned his or her family in order to seek a divorce. We have a duty to stand in solidarity with the spouse who has been left behind, and with any children who might be involved....

    "The message to the abandoner must be this: 'What you have done is contrary to God's plan for you and your family. We are praying you will return home and seek the counseling needed to heal your marriage. Once you decide to return to your family, you will have our full support. Until then, please do not expect us to condone your action by pretending it hasn't happened'....

    "We need a renewed effort on the part of bishops and priests to recognize that spousal abandonment is a crisis in our Church. Church leaders need to acknowledge this -- and they need to encourage new, more effective responses in our parishes and chanceries....In a world that would have us believe that divorce is just an opportunity for a new start, the Church's message must be loud and clear: We will hold fast to our ancient teachings on marriage - for the sake of our souls, our families, and our civilization" (Hillary Towers, PhD, It is time for the Church to face up to the crisis of spousal abandonment, 3/4/01).






When Catholic lay people express concerns about the operation of marriage tribunals - particularly tribunals in the United States - they are invariably reassured that there is no reason for concern. Yet in Pope John Paul II's annual addresses to the Roman Rota, there is a discernable pattern of growing concern about the operation of tribunals, which led to 2005's Dignitas Connubii (The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Instruction to Be Observed by Diocesan & Interdiocesan Tribunals in Handling Causes of the Nullity of Marriage). This pattern continues to be evidenced in the annual addresses of Pope Benedict XVI to the Roman Rota (i.e., 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).



While the Catholic Press seemed to largely present the Holy Father's most recent address as a simple declaration of support for marriage preparation programs, his pointed critiques went largely unreported:





  • "....The post-conciliar discussion on canon law was centred on the relationship between law and pastoral care. The well-known assertion of the Venerable Servant of God, John Paul II, whose opinion was that 'it is not true that, to be more pastoral, the law should be less juridical' (cf. Address to the Roman Rota, 18 January 1990, n. 4), expresses the radical surmounting of an apparent antithesis....

    "It is necessary to make every effort to interrupt, as far as possible, the vicious circle that often exists between a predictable admission to marriage, without an adequate preparation and a serious examination of the prerequisites for its celebration, and a legal declaration sometimes equally facile but of a contrary nature, in which the marriage itself is considered null solely on the basis of the observation of its failure [emphases added]....

    "all this requires that the work of ecclesiastical tribunals transmit a univocal message on what is essential in marriage, in harmony with the Magisterium and with canon law and speaking unanimously. Given the need for the unity of jurisprudence, entrusted to the care of this Tribunal, the other ecclesiastical tribunals must conform to the rotal jurisprudence (cf. John Paul II, Address to the Roman Rota, 17 January 1998, n. 4). I recently insisted on the need to judge correctly causes relative to consensual incapacity (cf. Address to the Roman Rota, 29 January 2009) [My own translation - All you dioceses out there need to look to Rome & get with the program! Bravo Holy Father!]....

    "Unfortunately incorrect positions still endure, such as that of identifying the discretion of judgement required for the marriage (cf. CIC, can. 1095, n. 2) with the hoped for prudence in the decision to get married, thus confusing an issue of capacity with another which does not undermine the validity since it concerns the level of practical wisdom with which a decision is taken which is, in any case, truly matrimonial. The misunderstanding would be yet more serious were there a wish to assign an invalidating effect to rash decisions made in married life [Emphases added - Wow!]....

    "It is necessary to resist the temptation to transform the simple shortcomings of the spouses in their conjugal existence into defects of consent [Wow, again!]....

    "Real exclusion can occur in fact only when the ordination toward the good of the spouses is harmed (cf. ibid. can. 1055 § 1), excluded by a positive act of will. Cases in which there is failure to recognize the other as spouse or in which the essential ordering of the community of conjugal life to the good of the other is excluded are quite exceptional. The clarification of these hypotheses of exclusion of the bonum coniugum must be attentively assessed by the jurisprudence of the Roman Rota [Emphasis added. Bravo Holy Father!].... " (January 22, 2011)




Over the past few days, Lower Bucks County experienced a cultural event of profoundly greater significance than the visit of a former Monkee to Bensalem! The Neshaminy Theater had a showing of the Globe Theater Presents [Shakespeare's] Henry VII. Fascinatingly, author Joseph Pearce maintains that William Shakespeare was a clandestine Catholic, who used his writings to subtly proclaim the Truth. Without question, Shakespeare's play shows King Henry VIII to have been enslaved by his selfishness and lusts, while Queen Catherine of Aragon became history's most famous victim of spousal abandonment. The world and the Church were torn apart (and remain so) when Henry tried to coerce the Church into giving him an invalid annulment. On "K[C]atherine of Aragon: the Official Website for Her Cause," there is a position paper on



  • "the central figure of the English Reformation....[who] - for her nearly 36 years in England - embraced the power and comfort of prayer....After nearly twenty years of wedlock, Katharine sat there - stunned - listening to this man whom she adored tell her their marriage was sinful, asking her to go away while the matter was sorted out....She was fearless before men who easily could have done her harm....On 7 January 1536 at age 50 Katharine of Aragon - Queen of England - died. That same day she wrote her final letter to the man who had betrayed her, but whom she still loved. Even with its mild rebukes, it is a letter of love and forgiveness....

    "easily could she have accepted the title of Dowager Princess of Wales and lived a rich, royal life or retired to a convent. Yet she refused these things because had she not, she would have been untrue to herself, her child, her country, her heritage, her faith, and her God. She was the rightful queen....By taking this course, she trusted to the will of God whatever that course was or where it would take her....It is her cause and her faith that inspired every person who died at the hands of both Henry and later, Elizabeth, to go to their deaths bravely....

    "Katharine's defense of the sacrament of marriage is perhaps her tie and relevance to the modern world. In an age where the sanctity of marriage is all but disregarded, she stands - 475 years later - as the model defender of the sacrament of marriage....in the last moments of her life she held fast to her faith - forgiving the one person who had betrayed her above all others - yet whom she loved still. This is the essence of holiness - the essence of Jesus's message in the Gospels; the message of love and forgiveness."

The web site offers the opportunity to sign a petition in support of an initiation of Catherine's cause.

The Beatitudes from "Jesus of Nazareth"

 

Use of Emergency So-Called Contraceptives in Catholic Hospitals for Those Reporting Rape

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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

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