Pastoral suggestions for the upcoming Extraordinary Synod
June 26, 2014 § 60 Comments
New Sherwood brings us up to speed on plans for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. I figured since it is obvious that the Vatican is reading here, and has possibly gotten the message that the proposed Kasperite exception is actually viciously cruel to everyone, I’d add in my two cents on two other pastoral questions. The first question is what adjustments should be made to the annulment process in the light of current conditions. The second is what other pastoral matters need to be urgently addressed.
To the first question, I propose that annulments based on matters of ‘internal forum’ be immediately dismissed – and the marriages in question be considered presumptively valid – unless there is compelling, objective, third-party evidence of defective consent at the time of the wedding. The loose way things are run now makes material adulterers out of some unknown number of poor souls based on intrinsically faulty, question-begging appeals to subjective memories people think they might have of thoughts they may once have thunk. This is terribly cruel, from a pastoral point of view.
To the second question, I propose that if it really is true that so many marriages are invalid, there ought to be a full-court press to educate the public about the truth of Sacramental Christian marriage (it is after all not complicated: it is something a ten year old can understand); and in conjunction with this there should be widespread promotion of convalidation in order to repair the sacramental irregularity of all of these putatively invalid marriages. If that many people really are in invalid marriages, they need to be told as much and given the sacramental means to do the right thing.