It has been announced that two letter Motu Proprio are expected from Pope Francis tomorrow, each on the intended reformation of the annulment process. From Rorate Caeli:
The Vatican today announced that a press conference will be held at noon tomorrow for the presentation of two Apostolic Letters of Pope Francis, given motu proprio: Mitis iudex Dominus Iesus and Mitis et Misericors Iesus. These concern the reform of the canonical process for the causes of declaration of nullity of marriage (commonly called “annulment”) respectively for the (Latin-Rite) Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
The extremely short notice given for the press conference (only 24 hours) is highly unusual, as is the speed with which this reform has been accomplished — less than a year! The Commission for the reform of the canonical process for declarations of nullity of marriage was announced only on September 20, 2014.
It is feared by not a few that the reforms will amount to a major simplification of the process and a greater ease in the granting of annulments, as already explained by Don Pio Pace in an essay on “Catholic Divorce” published by this blog in November last year.***
Merely to illustrate how much things have changed in just three years: in 2012 the Vatican also had a project to reform some aspects of the canonical process for declarations of nullity. The major difference is that this project had as its aim to tighten, or make stricter, the grounds for granting these declarations — not make these easier to obtain. (Rorate posted about this in May 2012.) One of the driving forces behind this “Ratzingerian” version of annulment reform was Cardinal Burke, whose removal from the Apostolic Signatura in November 2014 was, at the very least, highly convenient for the partisans of annulment simplification.
Second, be on the lookout for other signal gestures. Last year, 20 couples from the diocese of Rome were married by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica in mid-September – including those who already had children or were cohabitating. As the Catholic News Service report on the ceremony stated at the time:
While cohabitation is not in itself a canonical impediment to marriage, it is contrary to the church’s teaching on marriage and sexual love. The church urges that pastoral ministers help couples preparing for marriage by showing them the witness of Christian family life in such a way as they may regularize their situation before their wedding ceremony.
But while it was impossible to ascertain whether there was anything technically wrong in what was taking place, the emphasis being placed on the irregular state of these couples broadcast a message to both the Church and the world that this would be the theme of the upcoming Synod – expect the unexpected. The point was driven home by the unusual nature of the event – it was the first such public wedding ceremony by a pope in over a decade.
This year, my money is on the World Meeting of Families as the event to watch for signals on what is to come in October, though there will no doubt be more surprises.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.
Et dixit Iesus ad me: Quod facis, fac citius.
Pero, Jorge, ¿no nos dijiste que el latino ya no era válido en el Vaticano?
Yonni, soy Papa; ¡puedo hacer todo el lío que quiero!
It’s funny. So much of what comes from Francis is vague, wiggly, ambiguous and preserving of deniability that this sort of thing does come as sort of a shock. We’ll see in a few hours…
I wonder if the Canon Law of 1917 declared people living together/fornicating before marriage as an impediment? Bet you a buck it was. How can people actively defying Our Lord really know what they are doing when entering into a Sacramental marriage with Him?
“‘It has not escaped me how an abbreviated judgment might put at risk the principle of indissolubility of marriage,’ the pope continues. ‘Indeed, for this I wanted that in this process the judge would be composed of the bishop, that in the strength of his pastoral office is, with Peter, the best guarantee of Catholic unity in the faith and discipline.'”
Dangerous? Let’s do it anyway!
What happened to your blog? I checked today, and it says private 🙁
I’ll email you. Don’t worry, it’s just a strategic silence. 😉
Oh ok 🙂 I did receive the linkedin invites about a week ago. But I don’t have an account so I couldn’t accept.
This Pope is a desaster for the Catholic Church. Francis says to Christ-step aside Jesus I’m the Messiah, the Church needs ME.
Let’s face and let’s get real Kasper and all liberal bishops have won the catholic divorce is fixed now. The Pope who should be the rock and the defender of the faith is now the a major threat for the Catholic faith. Pope Francis is much more worse than all Borgias and Renaissance Popes combined and more dangerous than Luther. Popes in the past may have been be rotten to the core but no Pope dared to question the Catholic faith like Pope Francis does. The conservative Catholics went too far with their Papolatrie where obeying the Pope was more important than obeying Christ: Now they are paying the bill. The liberals got their way and the conservative are left out in the cold. The weakness, passivity, blind obedience to the Pope and lack of fight spirit of the conservative faithful Catholics are damaging the faith too. Conservative Catholics can whine and complain till they turn blue in the face if they don’t resist this Pope the Catholic faith will crumble in a heartbeat. Don’t blame the Holy Spirit when bishops only listen to the Spirit of the world.