Viva Las Vegas! The Impious Dreams Of Annulment On Demand
From some sides (and not only from the usual suspects, like Kasper) comes the idea to “delegate” the issue of annulment to the bishop. This is a frontal attack on marriage, and one is surprised that even a cardinal like Scola, whom one would have said more sound than to express such ideas, would even be an accomplice in launching these ballons d’essai.
I am not a canonist, but I am a sincere and devout Catholic. Qualities which, it is clearer every day, most of our Cardinals simply lack, and in the most grievous way. Let us see, then, what a devout Catholic (one who fears the Lord because he believes in his existence, loves Christ and His Church, and is aware of the importance of the Sacraments) must think of these ideas.
1. One does not need to be a genius to know that many dioceses in the West are the Catholic equivalent of Dresden after the carpet bombings. Whatever is entrusted to the bishop is going to become a pig’s breakfast, period. If one does not understand this simple concept, I question his intelligence.
2. But the proposal is much worse: it is a “streamlined”, in the sense of “non juridical”, in the sense of “no tribunal and process”- exercise. It is annulment for the “asking” and the “feeling”, with the fig leave of the bishop’s “quality guarantee”. This is simply atrocious. This would have devastating consequence not only on the Sacrament itself, which must be our first worry; but on the perception of both the institution and sacrament of marriage, and the rule concerning marriage annulment.
Titius lives in Diocese A. Diocese A is run by a fairly strict bishop, and annulments are fairly rare. His wife ran away with Sam, the Harley-Davidson driver with a penchant for alcohol and fights, but whom his wife found so excitingly wild. Titius bears his cross with patience, and Christian resignation. I do not know if he lives like a monk (I never ask such details; I am not his confessor, after all…), but a public scandal like an open mistress, or a concubine – and yes: Titius knows even a civilly remarried woman is still a concubine – is not in the cards.
His colleague, Gaius (yes, yes! That one! The one who left his wife, bought a sports car and sleeps with Vanessa, the buxom PA of the HR Department!) has now moved together with Vanessa in a sleek apartment in the city centre. He has a very liberal bishop. Annulments are, in his diocese, pretty much given for the asking. Gaius doesn’t really care for an annulment in the first place (hey, “Gad is luv!”), but Vanessa is a cafeteria Catholic of the “who am I to judge” sort and with a stricter mother. As such, she does not want to “feel judged”. A Catholic marriage will it, therefore, have to be. So romantic. Forevah and evah! Her girlfriends will envy her so much!
Give it ten years, and the sacrament of marriage will be made a mockery fit for kindergarten jokes. .
And we know that The Most Astonishing Hypocrite In Church History (TMAHIC) would not be stingy with appointment a’ la Cupich, and his new little wolves would eat the Sacrament for breakfast. How can people who go around saying “who am I to judge” be given the task to judge of the validity of a marriage, be it the bishop concerning the marriage of the sheep, of the sheep concerning their own marriage? Who are they to judge? And therefore, who are they to decide?
The cancer would spread. One praxis here, another ten miles away; but most of them, very bad. Worlds apart, divided by diocese boundaries, but with very frequent abuses. Sacraments that are taken or not taken seriously – and generally aren’t – according to where a parish happens to be situated. Countless like Gaius and Vanessa queuing every Sunday to receive communion, in line together with countless like Titius above.
If this does not destroy at the very root the public perception of marriage as a sacred vow and lifelong commitment made in front of Christ, I do not know what could.
Yes, the Remnant would continue to be faithful. But a vast number of Catholics would still, whatever lie they have told to themselves, eat and drink their own damnation, with the bishop’s smiling approval. Thinking, perhaps, that if Christ allows the wolves to take over the Sacrament they should not be punished for eating of the wolves’ prey. Fools.
It is madness to think that Jesus said: “what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder, unless the bishop is ‘merciful’ “.
Marriage is marriage. Things are things. Truths are truths. Jesus won’t be fooled by Kasper or Scola, and Kasper and Scola are first-class fools if they think they can exempt the faithful from the observance of Jesus’ rules. This is the reason why the canonical process is often long and tedious, or costly; and the reason why easy annulments are, already today, seen as a great danger for both the sacrament and the social institution. But today, the complexity of the process is in place to defend the sacredness of the sacrament. Tomorrow, the banality of the non-juridical process could utter destroy the perception of its sacredness.
I am, also, angry whenever I hear that people complain that the actual canonical process is long.
*You are married, for Pete’s sake*. It’s not that you have the right to already “feel” that you are free from your marital bond, and think you have the right to be impatient for the slowness with which the tribunal fedexes the papers to you.
*Until the annulment comes You are married, period*. You are not “perhaps” married; you are not married “but I do not think I am really married, you know”; you are not married “only when the tribunal refuses the annulment”; you are not “really married to my new wife”.
What you “feel” counts zero. Your “new life” counts zero. Your “new family” isn’t one.
On the contrary: you are married to that other woman (oh yes! The one who isn’t as attractive as Vanessa! and if must be, even the one who ran away with the Harley-Davidson driver!). Your new life is a sacrilege and an open defiance to God. Your children are *born out of wedlock*. Your assumed wife is a concubine. Your family is formed by you and the wife you married.
This is harsh, you say. Life itself is very harsh. It’s a vale of tears. A training camp for heaven. No one ever promised a paradise on earth. Angry? Complain with Adam and Eve! And yourself!
Life is harsh, by the way, for everyone: married and single, rich and poor, ugly and beautiful, intelligent and stupid. Each one has his own cross to bear, and many bear crosses that are not of their choosing. The woman who left you, at least is the one you decided to marry. The husband who drinks, at least he is the one you chose to spend your life with. Cross as it undoubtedly is, it is a cross of one’s own choosing. The marital bed is always a bed of one’s own making, and this is another simple fact of life that simply does not enter the mind of the Kasper of this world, and is never mentioned in the newspapers. But our mothers and grandmothers knew it very well, our fathers and grandfathers had no doubts about it.
I think this proposal is purest madness. The equivalent of making a lottery for annulments, or a self-check counter. It will cause countless desecrations, and it will completely demolish the very idea of lifelong commitment among all but the most solidly instructed, or unusually pious.
I am not a canonist, but I can’t imagine Jesus’ rules are at any Cardinal’s disposal. if you ask me, no Cardinal can dispose of them, and therefore no Gaius or Vanessa can think they can with impunity avail themselves of the special “Kasper” or “Scola rule”. If it were so, then nothing in Catholicism would have any right to existence. Confessions could be made via smartphone app via pastoral decision of the bishop. Communion could be extended to cats and dogs, if their owner say “amen” for them with the right disposition. Communion could, in fact, be extended to people just coming from a drunken orgy; because hey, if one seeks the lord and has good will, who are we to judge? The perversion of Catholicism via pastoral decision of an extraordinary synod would have no limits.
What is happening is authentically diabolical. And even if it were not to become reality this year or next year, taboos are being broken every day, and an atmosphere of lio spread all over the West.
Let’s hope that the Lord rids us of TMAHICH soon, one way of the other. Let’s pray for it.
This Pope is a Catholic nightmare.