sep 242014

Kirkerettseksperten Edward Peters skriver om Tribunalenes arbeid nå som bispesynoden om ekteskapet nærmer seg (selv om denne synoden ikke må få lov til å handle bare om skilsmisse og gjengifte, ifølge pave Frans og flere andre), og han skriver i et innlegg han kaller “The annulment argument: a quick guide to the two sides.

There are basically two groups agitating for annulment reform, one saying that there are too many annulments, the other saying that there are too few. Let me suggest that (a) the first group is mistaken if it thinks the annulment problem lies in the annulment process and (b) the second group seeks not so much reform of the annulment process as its effective abolishment.

The first group (those holding that there are too many annulments), can scarcely suggest any procedural reforms (short of requiring tribunals to stamp DENIED on every annulment petition) for nothing about current canon and special law makes declaring marriage nullity easy. Under current ecclesiastical law, nullity must be proven, on specific grounds, based on sworn declarations and testimony, over the arguments of an independent officer, and confirmed on appeal. There are, that I can see, no gaps in the process through which marriage cases may slip quietly but wrongly into nullity. …

No, the objections of the first group to the number of annulments being declared is, I suggest, not to the annulment process but to the people running that process. Tribunal officers are, it is alleged, too naive, too heterodox, or just too lazy to reach sound decisions on nullity petitions; they treat annulments as tickets to a second chance at happiness owed to people who care enough to fill out the forms. How exactly members of this first group can reach their conclusion without extended experience in tribunal work and without adverting to the cascade of evidence that five decades of social collapse in the West and a concomitant collapse of catechetical and canonical work in the Church is wreaking exactly the disastrous effects on real people trying to enter real marriages that the Church has always warned about, escapes me. Nevertheless that is essentially their claim: the process needs no major reform, processors do.

Neither can the second group (those holding that there are too few annulments) credibly point to specific reforms of the annulment process for (with two exceptions …) every phase of the current annulment process is required by natural law to serve the ends of justice (and, as Pope St. John Paul II repeatedly reminded us, the annulment process is about justice—not mercy, not charity, not warm fuzzy feelings, but justice); to eliminate any of these steps would be to gut the unavoidably juridic nature of the annulment process. Natural law requires that presumptions (here, of validity) be overturned only for specific reasons (here, grounds) demonstrated by objective information (here, declarations and testimony) weighed by independent minds (here, judges) subject to review by superiors (here, appeal). Remove any of these steps and, whatever ‘process’ one is left with, it’s not a legal one. Thus I say, push proponents of the second school to be clear, and what most of them must admit seeking is the “de-juridicization” of the annulment process. It’s their right, of course, to make such a proposal, but one should not confuse calls tantamount to elimination of a process with calls for reform of a process. …. LES VIDERE HER.

Peters skriver i et annet innlegg på sin blogg om én av kardinalene som argumenterer mot kardinal Kaspers synspunkter, likevel ikke kan følges i alt han foreslår:

Cdl. Angelo Scola of Milan (not a canon lawyer but appreciative of the connection between canon law and doctrine) is the latest high-ranking churchman to come out solidly against what Sandro Magister calls the Kasper-Bergoglio proposal in regard to Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Toward the end of his essay, however, Scola offers a ‘fourth suggestion’ for dealing with the annulment problem, namely, a non-judicial canonical process wherein bishops will decide on marriage nullity petitions. Scola’s idea, I suggest, underscores the point that the annulment process does not lend itself to easy reformation. …

At biskopene skal overta annulleringsprosessen, og at dette ikke lenger skal være en juridisk prosess, syns Peters er en svært dårlig idé. LES HANS ARGUMENTER HER.

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