Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Trusting Tribunals" (OSV, 12/30/12)

The subtitle of Monsignor Campion's recent article stated: "Decisions of diocesan tribunals are based on facts and the Church's teaching on sacramental marriage" (Trusting Tribunals, OSV, 12/30/12).  Though he did not specifically say so, Monsignor seemed to be responding to perceptions that the dramatic increase in declarations of marital nullity (at least in the United States) has legitimized Catholic divorce and remarriage.  This is a perception which merits much more serious attention!

In his quarter century of annual addresses to the Roman Rota, Pope John Paul II evidenced growing dis-ease about possible misuse of marriage tribunals; this triggered the Vatican's 2005 Dignitas Connubii. In his own addresses to the Roman Rota, Pope Benedict XVI continued in the same vane:
  • "pastoral sensitivity must be directed to avoiding matrimonial nullity when the couple seeks to marry and to striving to help the spouses solve their possible problems and find the path to reconciliation" (1/28/06).
  • “the conviction that the pastoral good of the person in an irregular marital situation requires a sort of canonical regularization, independently of the validity or nullity of his/her marriage...has also spread in certain ecclesiastical milieus" [emphasis added] (1/27/07).
  • "The value of interventions of the Ecclesiastical Magisterium on matrimonial and juridical issues, including the Roman Pontiff's Discourses to the Roman Rota....authoritatively teach the essential aspects of the reality of marriage" (1/26/08).
  • "a problem that continues to be very real is visible to everyone....that of preserving the ecclesial community 'from the scandal of seeing in practice the value of Christian marriage being destroyed by the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity...on the pretext of some immaturity or psychic weakness.... real always an exception tothe natural principle of the capacity necessary" (1/29/09)
  • "some maintain that pastoral charity could justify every step towards declaring the nullity of the marriage bond in order to assist people who find themselves in irregular matrimonial situations. Truth itself, even if lip service be paid to it, tends thus to be viewed through a manipulative lens that would seek to adapt it, case by case, to the different requirements that emerge....Charity without justice is not charity, but a counterfeit" (1/28/10).
  • "The good that the Church and society as a whole expect from marriage and from the family founded upon marriage is so great as to call for full pastoral commitment to this particular area" (1/22/11).
  • "Christian maturity leads one to love the law ever more and want to understand it and to apply it faithfully.... These reflections acquire a special relevance in the area of laws regarding the constitutive act of Matrimony and its consummation, and the reception of Holy Orders, and of those [laws] pertaining to the respective Processes" (1/21/12).

Though Monsignor Campion's article seemed to have a "Don't worry - all is well" tone, the last two Holy Fathers appear to have evidenced deep concern about goings-on at tribunals.  I look forward to reading Pope Benedict XVI's 2013 address to the Roman Rota.

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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.

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
(from page 1 of the NY Sun, 3/22/04)

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12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

March for Life 2010