Saturday, September 26, 2015

The New Annulment Norms and the American Experience

Fr. Mark A. Pilon, "The New Annulment Norms and the American Experience" (The Catholic Thing, September 16, 2015), writes:
Today, the United States is the abortion capital of the world, and the American Church is the annulment capital. The Church can say all she wants that an annulment is not a divorce, which is obviously true in terms of Catholic doctrine, but the general population, including a huge percentage of Catholics, has simply come to see the annulment process as Catholic divorce. An Anglican friend of mine used to chide me in the 1970s, “we Anglicans call it divorce and you Catholics call it annulment, but in the end it amounts to the same thing in the way it affects people’s lives.”

... Pope Francis surely has the best intentions, but he has quite clearly rejected the careful and prudential decision made by his predecessor, who gave us the 1983 Code. And it seems he thinks that the experimental American norms were just fine and should be extended to the whole Catholic world. But is he ready for the same results that followed in the United States? If he really thinks that fast tracking the annulment process is simply going to help the poor and won’t result in undermining the permanency of marriage in general, all I can say is I hope he’s right. But the experience of the American Church is not reassuring.
I have friends asking "At what point does all of this stretch the bounds of credibility to the snapping point?" I'm not sure how to answer that question for them. Any ideas?

[Hat tip to JM]


Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

As usual, Zippy is correct here..

but because Our Hierarchy never even seems to entertain these sensible ideas reveals the VAST majority of the Hierarchy no longer possess or profess the Faith once delivered and that observation is simply based on watching what they do in praxis and not what they claim to believe.

Hrodgar said...

Credibility of what?

If they're talking about the credibility of the process and judges who assess the validity of marriages, we may already be there. I don't recall canon lawyers ever having infallibility on any subject, or that we were ever guaranteed infallibility in matters of discipline or policy from anybody.

If they're talking about the credibility of the Church itself, or of her Doctrine, particularly regarding the Sacraments? Not that I'm not sympathetic to the doubts, but the answer is never. "Nail your foot to the floor in front of your favorite pew and die there" is the way a certain bear I know puts it.