Thursday, September 10, 2015

Annulments and more


  • Pope Francis's change to the annulment procedure. Fr. Zuhlsdorf points out that the church doesn't nullify marriages ("Catholic divorce"); it determines there never was a marriage. Anyway, this is a non-story; educated Catholics know the church can and does change rules (such as how many tribunals review an annulment case), not teachings. Some speculate it's a political maneuver to defend the faith at the Synod on the Family next month by taking this issue out of the conversation; possible. Whether the Pope should have simplified the procedure, whether the church loses face, is a legitimate discussion. But again, at heart, a non-story. The teachings are unbreakable.
  • While I'd love it if Raymond Burke were Pope, you have to watch out for/not get sucked into stories about "conservative revolts at the Vatican," even though you can and should criticize the Pope; both you and he are subject to the faith so both have the job of defending it. But those stories smack of the media-academia-government (MAG, establishment) game of "survey says," as if the church were the same as secular politics, with everything up for a vote and change like a Protestant denomination. (Funny: MAG wishes the church were the Anglican Church, yet it doesn't go to the Anglican Church.) Usually it takes the form of polling self-described Catholics on the street and treating their uninformed opinions (gotten from Protestant/secular society) like a papal or conciliar definition of doctrine.
  • Somebody else noticed that Pope Francis is a Peronist. Never mind the swipes at the church. What it comes down to, why Perón (a man of the left even though he was military) failed, is what Margaret Thatcher wonderfully articulated later: eventually you run out of other people's money.
  • Cheers for Nadia Bolz-Weber. But just one or maybe two cheers, not three. She leaves out much of what Christianity has to say. There is a limit to how radical she and her church can be. God wants to do more than forgive you. He wants to change you. A fundamental difference between Catholicism and Protestantism, including the conservative Lutheranism little to do with her.
  • The word “belief” is not the appropriate word for marriage. Marriage is a fact, not a “belief.” To imply that it is a “belief” means, in modern context, that it has no grounding in reality. It is improper to call marriage a “belief.” MAG is trying to train you to believe there is no truth other than what it tells you; only "beliefs." Catholicism is about reason, seeing objective reality, things as they really are.
  • Even if the worst speculations about the church are true, that Pope Francis is a heretic and/or the German bishops are starting a schism, where else is there to go? Eastern Orthodoxy, which blesses divorce-and-remarriage and contraception, and says "Byzantium is the church"; idolatry? No way. (I'd love it if American Catholicism were Byzantine but that rite has a limited shelf life here.) Evangelicalism, whose logical conclusion is "No middleman between me and Jesus? Fine, I won't go to church"? The mainline is obviously MAG's puppet, not worth taking seriously. There's the SSPX and, at "Defcon 1," MAG, Communist-like, or ISIS persecution, going underground like many Ukrainian Catholics did last century.
  • The Muslim refugees pushing their way into Europe may well be a Trojan horse. Not mostly women and children (whose only foreign policy is "don't hurt me" as one decent person wrote) but young men of military age. The U.S. government may well have created the problem. Solution: let's leave each other alone, including staying out of each other's countries (so they'd go home) and our no longer supporting Israel.
  • Five types of Russian-Americans. A priest once told me that none of the Russian immigrations get along: the real tsarist Russians thought the World War II refugees were Sovietized, which the refugees in turn thought of the post-Soviet immigrants. I've had the honor of meeting a real tsarist Russian (or Russian-identifying Ukrainian), Serge Koolish, in his 100s.
  • Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning British monarch; 63 years. I like her, but:


    Fist bump!

    The British establishment knows what God, the Catholic faith, and the church are (what the names of their old churches and colleges mean) and says, "I will not serve." Creepy self-awareness. (Some smart observers: Americans on the other hand think they're Christian but they're not.)

12 comments:

  1. "Not mostly women and children... but young men of military age."

    European multiculturalism is going to explode before the century is out, both figuratively and literally. Once the Washington-dominated de facto puppet regimes running the place lose their grip on power, Europe will look like it did in 1919- with crazed, xenophobic paramilitary organizations blasting away at each other in the streets of major cities. The Charlie Hebdo attacks and Breivik's murders are just the first tremors of the coming earthquake. Merkel and her ilk apparently want to pour more gasoline on the wood-pile before someone sets a match to it. Are they insane, or just criminally stupid?

    In any case, Europe won't become Eurabia- before the dust settles, desperate refugees will be climbing onto leaky boats in the opposite direction, fleeing the death squads hunting them down in Munich and Budapest. I sometimes think that's really what Satan wants out of this whole mess- to ensure that Europeans can only save their countries at the cost of their immortal souls.

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  2. Consistent with current practice and the Pope's new reforms, the Church could issue a posthumous annulment to Henry VIII on the grounds he was too young, under duress, and carrying out his dead father's will rather than his own when he married Catherine of Aragon. Perhaps such an act of goodwill would move Parliament to repeal the first Act of Supremacy. It would also be good timing since there is no Holy Roman Emperor currently holding the Pope under house arrest.

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    1. Actually, even under the old annulment practice, Henry should have been granted an annulment.

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    2. This is an amazing comment; one might do worse than to read Henry Ansgar Kelly's *The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII* (1976) to inform oneself about the canonical issues in the matter. The only argument that Henry allowed his advocates to make was that the marriage of a man to his deceased brother's widow was against divine law and that no pope had the capacity to dispense so as to allow such a marriage. This was an argument that was a total non starter in Rome, since popes had been dispensing so as to allow such marriages for a long time by 1503.

      The idea that Henry was " too young, under duress, and carrying out his dead father's will rather than his own when he married Catherine of Aragon" is simply absurd: he was eighteen when he married Catherine, and he insisted that he freely chose to marry her, three months after he became king. It was his deceased father Henry VII that, for reasons unknown, seemed reluctant to allow the marriage to take place, even though he (and Ferdinand of Aragon) had procured the papal dispensation to permit it.

      "Perhaps such an act of goodwill would move Parliament to repeal the first Act of Supremacy." Perhaps - had it not been repealed already in 1554.

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    3. The canon lawyers would next determine whether executing a wife or two carries the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae. Since it is the Year of Mercy, perhaps Henry, Defender of the Faith, could be rehabilitated.

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    4. A rapid descent from the merely erroneous to the truly ridiculous.

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    5. But Dr Tighe, this completely ignores that the universities had declared in support of Henry, this included not only Oxford and Cambridge, who might have been expected to support the King, but also Bologna, in the Papal States, as well as Paris, Toulouse, Padua, Ferrara, Pavia as well: all declaring that the King was right and that the Pope, Julius in 1503, could not set aside so fundamental a Scriptural law that forbid a man to marry his brother's wife.

      Of course the fact that the Pope, Clement VII, had been imprisoned by Catherine's nephew, Charles V, had much to do with the Pope's refusal to grant the annulment tied the Pope's hand more than anything else...that alone is a canonical mess that no one would perhaps wish to revisit today. Just because the Popes did indeed grant some very odd dispensations for royality to marry relatives does not make it them right or moral.

      Henry's sister, Margaret, had been granted an annulment by the very same Pope Clement on very flimsy issues indeed only a few years previously.

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    6. I don't know what your expertise you have in Reformation history, Mr. Tighe, but I have literally spent minutes scanning the Henry VIII entry on Wikipedia earlier this week.

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    7. De Tighe, I think that Jacopo was using humour. Actually his posting on the Year of Mercy and dear old Henry was quite funny.

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    8. "but I have literally spent minutes scanning the Henry VIII entry on Wikipedia earlier this week"

      Who can argue with an argument based on such exhaustive labors?

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  3. "The canon lawyers would next determine whether executing a wife or two carries the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae. Since it is the Year of Mercy, perhaps Henry, Defender of the Faith, could be rehabilitated": one does need to be careful here, the many, many marriages of Emperor Charlemagne most certainly would not bare close scrutiny!

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  4. the church doesn't nullify marriages ("Catholic divorce"); it determines there never was a marriage

    Indeed... :-)

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