At the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) Jesuit Thomas Reese is going out to the edge of the cliff:
Simplified annulment process coming from synod
This is part of the “lemmings to the cliff” dynamic being stirred by the Synod of the Media.
If you follow news about the Synod (“opinion” pieces), doesn’t it seem that many assume automatically that dumbing down the process for review of marriage cases simply has to be done or OMG!! the sky is going quite simply to fall? We can’t be a Church of “mercy” unless we jettison all – or at least a lot – of this legalistic mumbojumbo and finally become the compassionate Church we have never ever been!
It’s a foregone conclusion.
If, however, the Synod of the Synod recommends a streamlined annulment process to the Pope, it remains to be seen what that would look like. How to do that without undermining also the Church’s teaching on marriage?
Paul VI, in his 1966 Apostolic Constitution on Fast and Abstinence Paenitemini didn’t fundamentally change the Church’s teaching on fasting, abstinence, doing penance, etc. He changed the laws concerning the practice of those things which the Church teaches we must do.
The result today is – and I don’t think I am exaggerating – that hardly any Catholics practice any meaningful fasting, abstinence, penance or mortifications of any kind.
Thus there has been lost to all of us, the Church as a whole, tremendous, incalculably valuable spiritual benefits.
Let’s now talk about changing juridical practice concerning marriage cases and declarations of nullity.
That won’t change what people believe?
When changes were made to Holy Mass in the 60’s (and with illicit experimentation and abuses far into the 70’s and 80’s) many people had the impression that, “If Mass can change, anything can change… including doctrine!”
Decades of bad translations and Communion in the hand, while standing… they haven’t affected people’s belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, have they?
All manner of expectations are being raised by the eager, oh so eager, Synod of the Media.
I’ve been quizzing canonists I trust for their opinions on what could be done that wouldn’t make the serious discernment process, aimed at arriving at truth and justice, into a something that unintentionally signals that the Church’s practice is a sham and that doctrine can change. More on that another time.
Meanwhile, if American diocesan tribunals are a model that some (of the most eager for CHANGE) think should be followed (precisely because they were though to be annulment mills), then why did His Holiness not appoint a single American to the commission charged with overhauling the process?