Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Michael Voris Daily Rome Report 10-18 - Video



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Interview With Cardinal Raymond Burke: Full Transcript

By Ellie Hall & J. Lester Feder

BuzzFeed News reporter J. Lester Feder spoke with Cardinal Raymond Burke Friday morning via Skype to discuss the Extraordinary Synod on the Family and address rumors that he was being removed as the head of the Vatican’s highest court of canon law.

Former Archbishop of St. Louis cardinal Raymond Leo Burke attends Palm Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square on April 13, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Getty Images / Franco Origlia

Cardinal Burke: Hello, this is Cardinal Burke.

BuzzFeed News: Apologies, it seems we got disconnected. I was just asking if it’s okay if I record our conversation.

CB: Yes, it’s fine. That’s fine.

BFN: I know you don’t have a lot of time, so why don’t we just dive in. I’ve seen your comments suggesting that [the Extraordinary Synod on the Family] was being manipulated. Can you say a little bit more about that, and who is doing the manipulating?

CB: Since the presentation of Cardinal Kasper in February to the extraordinary consistory of cardinals, there’s been a consistent repetition of [Kasper’s] position that is trying to weaken the church’s teaching and practice with regard to the indissolubility of marriage. This has just been consistent, casting the synod — which was to be on the family, directed in a positive way on family life — suggesting that the main purpose of the synod would be to permit those who are in irregular unions to receive the sacraments of penance and holy communion, which is not possible. If someone is bound to a prior marriage which has not been declared null, and is living as husband or wife with someone else. That’s a public state of sin and therefore the person cannot receive holy communion or go to the sacrament of penance until the matter is resolved.

But that’s been — all along this keeps coming back, and I see more clearly than ever that that’s how the synod is. And certainly the media has picked up on this — very much so.

BFN: To the question of how that’s being done, presumably the pope was the one who asked Cardinal Kasper to frame the synod. Are you saying that [the pope] is the one who is manipulating these proceedings?

CB: The pope has never said openly what his position is on the matter and people conjecture that because of the fact that he asked Cardinal Kasper — who was well known to have these views for many, many years — to speak to the cardinals and has permitted Cardinal Kasper to publish his presentation in five different languages and to travel around advancing his position on the matter, and then even recently to publicly claim that he’s speaking for the pope and there’s no correction of this.
I can’t speak for the pope and I can’t say what his position is on this, but the lack of clarity about the matter has certainly done a lot of harm.

BFN: Would it be inappropriate for the pope to do that? To structure the conversation in such a way that it is consistent with his thinking?

CB: According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no it wouldn’t be correct.

BFN: I did a story a while back reporting on a conversation that sources relayed to me between an LGBT activist and Cardinal Müller. In that conversation, the activist apparently asked Müller about the possibility of the church possibly accepting some forms of civil unions, based on some of the comments that the pope had made and some of the positions he was understood to have taken while he was the president of the bishops conference of Argentina. Müller reportedly responded that [that decision] wasn’t up to the pope, it was up to “us,” referring to the curia. In that thinking about how these kinds of church teachings are made, can you explain to an outsider what the relationship is between this kind of conversation and the pope’s personal thinking?

 Former archbishop of St. Louis cardinal Raymond Burke leaves the Synod Hall at the end of a session of the Synod on the themes of family on October 13, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican. Getty Images / Franco Origlia

CB: Well I suppose the simplest way to put it is that all of us who serve the church are at the service of the truth: the truth that Christ teaches us in the church. And the pope more than anyone else, as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth. And so the cardinal is quite correct that the pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other truth of the faith. On the contrary, his work is to teach these truths and to insist on the discipline which reflects the truths in practice.

BFN: It sounds like there’s a tension, what we’re seeing play out in this [synod]. It sounds like you’re saying there are some people who deliberately want to change teaching. Like the people who are supportive of some of the positions that were articulated in the Relatio are saying that they’re trying to balance the pastoral need to find space for people who are living outside what the church teaches is the appropriate lifestyle, to find a way pastorally to incorporate them into the community and to bring them more in line.

You’ve used very strong words about homosexuality; in a recent interview you say again that homosexual acts are always wrong and evil. Is there any middle ground, any way to make space for LGBT people inside the church while also adhering to church teaching?

CB: Well the church doesn’t exclude anyone who’s of good will, even if the person is suffering from same-sex attraction or even acting on that attraction. But at the same time out of her love for the person who’s involved in sinful acts, she calls the person to conversion, in a loving way, but obviously, like a father or mother in a family, in a firm way for the person’s own good.

There never can be in the Catholic Church a difference between doctrine and practice. In other words, you can’t have a doctrine that teaches one thing and a practice which does something differently. If people don’t accept the church’s teaching on these matters than they’re not thinking with the church and they need to examine themselves on that and correct their thinking or leave the church if they absolutely can’t accept what the church teaches. They’re certainly not free to change the teaching of the church to suit their own ideas.

BFN: But as I read the Relatio — and again I’m reading this as a layperson — it seems like what they’re saying is [trying to establish] a welcoming tone. While not changing the teaching, they’re also trying to not make the primary point of contact be a fight over these lifestyle choices. While holding up that the ideal remains matrimony, they’re not going to be pushed out and harassed by virtue of not being in that arrangement.

CB: The point is that for the church, moral teaching is never a matter of ideals. They’re understood to be real commands that we’re meant to put into practice. All of us are sinners and we have to undergo a daily conversion to live according to the moral truth, but it remains for us always compelling. It’s not just an ideal that we hold out there, that, “It would be nice if it were this way, but I can’t do it.” No, we’re called to conform ourselves to those truths.

That’s the difficulty with the Relatio, which is not well expressed, and does not have a good foundation neither in the sacred scriptures nor in the church’s perennial teachings, and also uses language which can be very confusing.

One of the confusions is that it confuses the person with the sinful acts. In other words, it tries to say that if the church teaches that these acts are sinful that somehow they are turning on the people and driving them away from the church. Well, if the individuals involved are sincere and want to live the truth of moral law, the church is always ready to help. Even if someone sins repeatedly, the church always stands ready to help them begin again. But the truth of the moral law remains and it is compelling. It’s for now, it’s for me, it’s not something out there, some ideal out there that would be nice to realize but it doesn’t compel me.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke leads a Holy Mass in the chapel of the Vatican Governorate to mark the opening of the Judicial Year of the Tribunal of Vatican City at the Vatican, January 11, 2014. REUTERS / STEFANO RELLANDINI

BFN: I should ask you about the reports that you’re being removed from the Signatura. What message is that sending? Do you think you are being removed in part because of how outspoken you have been on these issues?

Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that i’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen.
BFN: Have you been told that you will be transferred?

CB: Yes.

BFN: You’re obviously a very well respected person. That must be disappointing.

CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it. On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…

BFN: And that is as the chancellor to the order of Malta, is that right?

CB: It’s called the patron of the sovereign military order of Malta, that’s right.

BFN: So where are we now? As I understand it, the final draft of the Relatio is expected later today and it will be voted on tomorrow, is that right?

CB: It’s scheduled to be read to us tomorrow morning and then there’s to be discussion and the final vote is tomorrow afternoon.

BFN: I’m curious about the revisions that happened yesterday in the English version of the [Relatio] and none of the others. I don’t know if you can shed any light on that…

CB: I only know the revisions that were suggested by the small group to which I belonged, I haven’t seen the other ones, they were all delivered yesterday and were studied yesterday afternoon and today for the revision of the text. From the reports which were published, the summary reports, I believe that there was a rather thorough revision.

BFN: On this final stretch, you have very well respected doctrinal experts like Cardinal Wuerl on [the Relatio] writing committee. Do you have confidence in them going forward?

CB: I trust that they will produce a worthy document. I must say I was shocked by what I heard on Monday morning, which was presented by a very reputable cardinal, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Budapest. So you can imagine I’m a little shaken by that, my trust is a little bit shaken, but I am hoping that we won’t have a repeat of that.

BFN: All right, sir, I very much appreciate you making the time, I know you haven’t spoken with a lot of secular outlets, so I am really honored that you’d be willing to do that for us.

CB: You’re welcome. Goodbye, and God bless you.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Burke: Synod designed to “weaken the church’s teaching and practice” with apparent blessing of Pope Francis


Video: Michael Voris Discusses the Breaking News

Update:  Interview With Cardinal Raymond Burke: Full Transcript

By J. Lester Feder

(BuzzFeed) A top cardinal told BuzzFeed News on Friday that the worldwide meeting of church leaders coming to a close in Rome seemed to have been designed to “weaken the church’s teaching and practice” with the apparent blessing of Pope Francis.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American who heads the Vatican’s highest court of canon law, made the remarks in a phone interview from the Vatican, where a two-week Extraordinary Synod on the Family will conclude this weekend. An interim report of the discussions released on Monday, called the Relatio, produced a widespread backlash among conservative bishops who said it suggested a radical change to the church’s teaching on questions like divorce and homosexuality, and Burke has been among the most publicly critical of the bishops picked by Pope Francis to lead the discussion.
If Pope Francis had selected certain cardinals to steer the meeting to advance his personal views on matters like divorce and the treatment of LGBT people, Burke said, he would not be observing his mandate as the leader of the Catholic Church.

“According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no, it wouldn’t be correct,” Burke said, saying the pope had “done a lot of harm” by not stating “openly what his position is.” Burke said the Pope had given the impression that he endorses some of the most controversial parts of the Relatio, especially on questions of divorce, because of a German cardinal who gave an important speech suggesting a path to allowing people who had divorced and remarried to receive communion, Cardinal Walter Kasper, to open the synod’s discussion.

“The pope, more than anyone else as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth,” Burke said. “The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”

Burke has publicly clashed with the pope since Francis took office in 2013, and he has come to represent the sidelining of culture warriors elevated by Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict and as the top doctrinal official under Pope John Paul II. Burke, who caused controversy while bishop of St. Louis by saying Catholics who voted for politicians supportive of abortion rights should not receive communion, went on Catholic television in 2013 to rebut remarks Pope Francis made to an interviewer that the church had become “obsessed” with abortion and sexuality to the exclusion of other issues, saying, “We can never talk enough about that as long as in our society innocent and defenseless human life is being attacked in the most savage way,” Burke said. While Francis famously responded to a question about homosexuality in 2013 by asking, “Who am I to judge?” Burke described homosexual “acts” as “always and everywhere wrong [and] evil” during an interview last week.

In the interview with BuzzFeed News, Burke confirmed publicly for the first time the rumors that he had been told Francis intended to demote him from the church’s chief guardian of canon law to a minor post as patron to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

“I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it,” Burke said, explaining that he hadn’t yet received a formal notice of transfer. “On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust, by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important.”

When the pope first took office, his pivot away from an emphasis on questions of sexuality were more a matter of personal tone rather than changes in church policy or personnel. There were rumors that he was trying to oust the man chosen by Pope Benedict to head the church’s office responsible for doctrine, Gerhard Müller, but last winter he instead elevated him from archbishop to cardinal. When word that Burke was on his way out began circulating last month, it signaled that Francis would take major steps to reshape the church. It coincided with the selection of a new archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, whom Catholic progressives celebrated for positions like breaking with the American church hierarchy when it withheld its support for President Obama’s health reform law over questions of abortion and contraception.

Internal discontent among conservatives inside church leadership began to simmer over in the weeks leading up to the synod. Just before it began, Burke, Müller, and other senior cardinals published a book in several languages attacking the ideas laid out by Cardinal Walter Kasper on allowing those who had divorced and remarried to receive communion in a speech heartily praised by Pope Francis. It broke into open revolt at the midpoint of the synod, following publication of a document presented as a summary of discussions but that conservatives said misrepresented the debate by including passages on “welcoming homosexual persons” and discussing some of Kasper’s proposal on divorce. The backlash appeared to have been especially strong from the English-speaking world, which includes a large number of African and American bishops; in an apparent attempt to mollify anglophone conservatives, the Vatican released a new translation of the report that changed the phrase “welcoming homosexual persons” to “providing for homosexual persons” and made other small changes, while leaving the versions in all other languages unchanged.

The report is now being revised with feedback from small-group discussions held this week, and a final version is scheduled to be voted on on Saturday. Burke said he hoped that the committee writing the new report will produce a “worthy document,” but said his “trust is a little bit shaken” by the language in the interim draft he said lacks “a good foundation either in the sacred scriptures or in the church’s perennial teachings.”

But there seems to be little middle ground between Pope Francis’ worldview and Burke’s. Francis was president of the Argentinian bishops conference when that country passed a marriage equality bill in 2010 and reportedly tried to convince his colleagues to support a civil union proposal instead.

He lost the internal battle and gave voice to the hard-line consensus that the law was “sent by the devil.” The fight over the bill left the church appearing out of step with the beliefs of many in Argentina, a country where 76% identify as Catholic but only 38.2% went to church in 2005, per the most recent data available from the Association of Religious Data Archives. While Francis has shown no sign he supports overhauling the church’s teachings that homosexuality is sinful, he seems to have taken from this experience a desire to downplay conflicts over sexuality in order to broaden the church’s message.

But, Burke said, the church must always call a “person who’s involved in sinful acts … to conversion in a loving way, but obviously, like a father or mother in a family, in a firm way for the person’s own good.” There cannot be “a difference between doctrine and practice” on questions like homosexuality or anything else, Burke said.

“The church doesn’t exclude anyone who’s of goodwill even if the person is suffering from same-sex attraction or even acting on that attraction,” said Burke. “If people don’t accept the church’s teaching on these matters then they’re not thinking with the church and they need to examine themselves on that and correct their thinking or leave the church if they absolutely can’t accept. They’re certainly not free to change the teaching of the church to suit their own ideas.”

At the request of several readers, BuzzFeed News has printed a transcript of the section of the interview wherein Cardinal Burke talks about leaving the Signatura.

BuzzFeed News: I should ask you about the reports that you’re being removed from the Signatura. What message is that sending? Do you think you are being removed in part because of how outspoken you have been on these issues?
Cardinal Burke: The difficulty — I know about all the reports, obviously. I’ve not received an official transfer yet. Obviously, these matters depend on official acts. I mean, I can be told that I’m going to be transferred to a new position but until I have a letter of transfer in my hand it’s difficult for me to speak about it. I’m not free to comment on why I think this may be going to happen.
BFN: Have you been told that you will be transferred?
CB: Yes.
BFN: You’re obviously a very well-respected person. That must be disappointing.
CB: Well, I have to say, the area in which I work is an area for which I’m prepared and I’ve tried to give very good service. I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it.
On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust that by accepting this assignment, I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important. And even though I would have liked to have continued to work in the Apostolic Signatura, I’ll give myself to whatever is the new work that I’m assigned to…
BFN: And that is as the chancellor to the Order of Malta, is that right?
CB: It’s called the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, that’s right.

update

Cardinal Raymond Burke is being removed from the position as the chief of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. An earlier version of this post mischaracterized that position in one instance.

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Update:  Interview With Cardinal Raymond Burke: Full Transcript

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Revolution on the Way - Synod Coverage



UPDATE:  Blindsided: Press received document before synod fathers

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Cardinal Burke says statement from Pope Francis defending Catholic teaching is ‘long overdue’


By Patrick B. Craine

(LifeSiteNews.com) In a candid interview Monday, Cardinal Raymond Burke voiced the concerns of many of his brothers in the Synod hall and lay Catholic activists throughout the world that the public presentation of the Synod has been manipulated by the organizers in the General Secretariat.

He strongly criticized yesterday’s Relatio post disceptationem, or “report after the debate,” which the Catholic lay group Voice of the Family had called a “betrayal,” saying it proposes views that "faithful shepherds ... cannot accept," and betrays an approach that is "not of the Church." He called on Pope Francis to issue a statement defending Catholic teaching.

In my judgment, such a statement is long overdue,” he told Catholic World Report’s Carl Olsen.

“The debate on these questions has been going forward now for almost nine months, especially in the secular media but also through the speeches and interviews of Cardinal Walter Kasper and others who support his position.”

“The faithful and their good shepherds are looking to the Vicar of Christ for the confirmation of the Catholic faith and practice regarding marriage which is the first cell of the life of the Church,” he added.

The relatio, he said, proposes views that many Synod fathers “cannot accept,” and that they “as faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept.”

The document, among its most controversial propositions, asks whether “accepting and valuing [homosexuals’] sexual orientation” could align with Catholic doctrine; proposes allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a “case-by-case basis”; and says pastors should emphasize the “positive aspects” of lifestyles the Church considers gravely sinful, including civil remarriage after divorce and premarital cohabitation.

“Clearly, the response to the document in the discussion which immediately followed its presentation manifested that a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable,” Burke told Olsen.

“The document lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium. In a matter on which the Church has a very rich and clear teaching, it gives the impression of inventing a totally new, what one Synod Father called ‘revolutionary’, teaching on marriage and the family. It invokes repeatedly and in a confused manner principles which are not defined, for example, the law of graduality.”

Burke lamented that the bishops’ interventions are not published, while the General Secretariat chose to publish the controversial relatio, which was intended as a merely provisional summary of the first week that is under review by the fathers this week.

“All of the information regarding the Synod is controlled by the General Secretariat of the Synod which clearly has favored from the beginning the positions expressed in the Relatio post disceptationem of yesterday morning,” he said.

“While the individual interventions of the Synod Fathers are not published, yesterday’s Relatio, which is merely a discussion document, was published immediately and, I am told, even broadcast live. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to see the approach at work, which is certainly not of the Church.”

While critics of Burke's public interventions in the Synod debates have portrayed him as representing a fringe, he was elected by his brother bishops to moderate one of the three English-speaking small groups discussing the relatio this week.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

The annulment argument: a quick quide to the two sides


By Dr. Edward Peters

(In the Light of the Law) 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 (ie, Book VII of the 1983 Code and Dignitas connubii) 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. Not even the oft-reviled Canon 1095 (the “psychological” canon upon which most annulments around the world are based) can be written off as a mere legislative novelty for it articulates (as best positive law can) jurisprudence developed by the Roman Rota itself over the last 60 or 70 years.

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 noted below) 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. More about that call, below.

First, though, it must be acknowledged that two aspects of the current annulment process are not required by natural law to achieve justice, namely... (continued)


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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Meet the Christian Leaders Who Are Suing for Gay Marriage as a Religious Right

By Solvej Schou

(Takepart) Rev. Nancy Ellett Allison has joyfully officiated same-sex marriages in her corner of the conservative South since 2006.

“It is just a delight to be able to help these couples celebrate their lives together and work with them to craft their vows,” said Allison, her bright voice laced with a twang.

What Allison, the senior pastor at Holy Covenant United Church of Christ in Charlotte, N.C., has been doing is considered a misdemeanor crime under state law, punishable by up to 120 days in jail. Not only are gay marriages and domestic unions illegal in the state, but it’s considered criminal for clergy to officiate religious vows between couples who have not yet obtained a valid marriage license.

This week, though, the progressive United Church of Christ fought back, filing the first federal lawsuit to say gay marriage bans are a violation of religious rights. It’s an unprecedented move—experts say it’s the first such lawsuit ever in the United States.

The church joined with plaintiffs that include Allison, other UCC ministers, and six same-sex couples to file a lawsuit Monday against North Carolina state and county officials challenging the constitutionality of the state’s anti-gay marriage laws as violating the church’s free exercise of religion. In 2012, voters approved a ballot measure to ban gay marriage, imposing a legal definition of marriage as an act that can occur only between a man and a woman, and making it part of the state’s constitution.

The UCC’s lawsuit seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against all laws that would make it a crime to perform religious rites that sanctify the union of same-sex couples.

“Not until we entered this lawsuit was I aware that it was illegal to perform a same-gender marriage ceremony without a marriage license. That was one of the shocking things I learned,” said Allison, who noted that Charlotte, like other major North Carolina cities, is more open-minded than rural areas, and that the state voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 (though Republican Mitt Romney won it in 2012).... (continued)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pope Francis 'phones divorced woman' to say she can receive Communion. This is potentially a huge story


By Damian Thompson

(The Telegraph) Pope Francis has phoned a divorced and remarried Catholic woman in Argentina to tell her that she could "safely receive Communion", according to an extraordinary report in La Stampa.

The woman's husband, writing on Facebook, claims that the Pope – introducing himself as "Father Bergoglio" – spoke to his wife, who'd been divorced before marrying him and told her that men or women who were divorced and received Communion weren't doing anything wrong. He apparently added that this matter is under discussion at the Vatican. (Quick health warning: given the complexity of this subject, we need much more clarity on what Francis reportedly said. I find it hard to believe that he would make such an unqualified statement...) - continued..

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Why are SSPX Masses valid, but not marriages or absolutions?


By Father John Zuhlsdorf

(WDTPRS)  ....The priests of the SSPX are validly ordained.  They celebrate Mass illicitly but validly.  In normal situations they do not validly absolve, because they lack faculties to absolve (because faculties are necessary – in addition to valid ordination – to absolve validly).  They cannot act as proper witnesses to marriages, because they are not recognized as such by the Church.  A proper witness is require by the Church for the form of marriage.

How to sort this out?  Let’s try it this way.

Not all sacraments are juridic acts, and not all juridic acts are sacraments but, as in the classic Venn Diagram, some sacraments are juridic acts.

A juridic act (canons 124-128) is a human act by which a person, capable in law, observing the requisite formalities, manifests his intention to bring about a certain juridic effect.

For example, baptism is both a juridic act, and a sacrament. A juridic effect is intended (incorporation into the Church).  Formalities are observed. The person, capable in law, manifests his intention to baptize (he uses the proper matter and form). The Church, in her clemency and her desire that no one be denied baptism, extends jurisdiction to confer baptism to “any person who has the requisite intention” (can. 861§2). So, while bishops, priests, and deacons are the ordinary ministers of baptism, anyone – even an unbaptized person – is capable in law of baptizing validly.

Confirmation, Marriage, Penance, and Holy Orders are the other sacraments which are simultaneously juridic acts. Reception of these sacraments changes a person’s juridic status in the Church.  The Church is more restrictive about who can administer these four sacraments. Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion/Eucharist are not juridic acts. Reception of these sacraments does not change a person’s juridic status in the Church.

Absolution of sins after Confession is a juridic act. The priest, the confessor, acts in persona Christi and judges the penitent.  Remember that the confessional has the aspect of a tribunal.  The confessor/judge absolves and lifts the sin from the penitent.  Confessors also at times lift censures.  As a juridic act, it can only be done by someone capable in law. The Church has restricted this, not because the Church wants to make penance less available to people, but rather in order to ensure that the faithful are getting the best possible pastoral care and that they remain within the fold of the Church. Thus, the Church gives faculties, permission, jurisdiction, to act in this way, to use his priestly abilities in a performing a sacramental act which is also a juridical act.

With marriage, there’s an added wrinkle. The ministers of the sacrament of marriage are the parties who get married. The spouses are the ministers of the sacrament of matrimony. Therefore, for a valid marriage to be effected, they are required to be “capable in law”. For example, a couple of thirteen year-olds are not capable of marriage. Someone already married is not capable of marriage. Other capabilities are more relational.  For example, Sempronius may be capable of marriage, but he is not capable of marrying his sister, Caia.  Neither is Sempronius capable of marrying Titus). For Catholics, an additional burden must be met. For a Catholic to marry validly, he or she must marry before an authorized witness, usually a bishop, priest, or deacon.

The priest or deacon or bishop who officiates at a Catholic wedding is there, necessarily, as the Church’s official witness to ensure that the proper form is followed, etc.  The Church tightly restricts the ability of clergy to officiate at weddings. Priests who have the ordinary faculty, the jurisdiction, the permission from the Church, to witness marriages, are limited to doing so within the territory of the parish where they are the pastor, the parish priest. If they go outside their territory, they need the express permission of the pastor in whose territory they are witnessing a marriage. If they don’t have that permission, the marriage would be invalid because it would lack one of the essential requirements for marriage. The pastor of the parish (or the bishop, the vicar general, or an episcopal vicar with jurisdiction in the area) can delegate to another priest the jurisdiction, the faculty, to witness the marriage. He should do so in writing. If the delegation cannot be proven, the marriage might well be invalid!... (continued)


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

When the State Tries to be Master Over Nature

By Father George Rutler

Connecting with people you'd like to have known is a nice hobby, and I can claim to be just three handshakes from Abraham Lincoln and only five from George Washington. Recently at the opera, I put several people three handshakes from Puccini. Alas, an employee in a sporting goods store near Grand Central was unmoved when I put him four handshakes from Mendelssohn. Just two handshakes from the Alice of Wonderland, I spent many hours in the rooms she knew when her father was dean of the college where I studied and where Lewis Carroll wrote the stories for her. Alice Liddell, later Mrs. Reginald Hargreaves, died in 1934 at the age of 82, shortly after she visited New York to be honored by Columbia University.

In Through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty boasts: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words means so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that's all.”

When the State tries to be master over nature, behavior becomes disordered. The results of the disastrous legalization of the destruction of unborn children prove that, and now it is happening again in attempts to “redefine” marriage. So far, eleven countries have done it, as well as nine of our own states, along with the nation’s capital. Hundreds of thousands have publicly protested the attempt of France’s Socialist president to play “master.” It should be obvious to all except the dense and the willfully ignorant, that the next step will be to attack the Church through civil penalties for refusing to accept the authority of the State to invert the natural order, of which the State is only a steward.

Pope Benedict XVI has said: “. . . if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. [Rabbi] Bernheim [the Chief Rabbi of France] shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of right, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied, and ultimately man, too, is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.”

At the wedding in Cana, Christ's mother said, “Whatever my son says to do, do it.” We are free not to do what he says, and to play Humpty Dumpty with nature, but when the social order has a great fall, all the politicians will not be able to put it back together again.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Question of the Day: Prenuptial Agreements?


From Our Sunday Visitor:

Prenuptial Agreements?

Q. Sometimes when couples marry they sign a prenuptial agreement. What is the Catholic Church’s official position on prenuptial agreements?

W.M., via e-mail

A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D.:

The Church has no official position on prenuptial agreements. However, the Church teaches that marriage is indissoluble, which means the couple is married “until death do us part.” If a prenuptial agreement signals that the spouses do not regard marriage as indissoluble, that is a bad sign, and potentially grounds for declaration of nullity. Marriage is forever.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Marriage and Family: All You Need is Love


By Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Is annulment just a Catholic Divorce? This article explains the unpopular Roman Catholic position on marital intimacy, divorce, remarriage, and the meaning of a decree of nullity.

(The Crossroads Initiative) The Beatles wrote a song that was the sensation of 1967, “All you need is love.” This the same point made a few years earlier by an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church.

Gadium et Spes 24, Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, says this: God is Trinity, a communion of persons who pour themselves out in love to one another from all eternity. If we human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, then we are clearly designed for love. In fact, we really can’t find ourselves without giving ourselves in love sincerely and completely.

That’s also the central point of this Sunday’s readings. Genesis 2 shows Adam in paradise, surrounded by splendor and comfort, but nevertheless unfulfilled. God creates the animals as companions. He can enjoy their company and be their loving master. But he cannot have communion, true fellowship, with them.

So God fashions woman from his own flesh. When he wakes up and sees her, he is thrilled. In every way, she is a perfect fit–in body, soul, and spirit. She complements and completes him. But she is not created as a commodity for his use, much less a disposable one to be used and discarded. The love that makes us like God is a communion that is the fruit not of taking, but of giving. And it is not about partial giving, but giving of one’s entire self.

Now one of the characteristics of human beings is that we have a future. Total self-giving means giving ourselves not only in the present moment, but giving our entire future as well. For this reason, the relationship of authentic marriage founded on true love, has to be “till death do us part.” This is why Jesus, in this Sunday’s gospel, is so uncompromising on this point, and why the Catholic Church to this day maintains the Lord’s unpopular position against divorce and remarriage.

Ah, but what about that “Catholic Divorce” known as annulment? A decree of nullity is not “Catholic divorce.” Divorce means the splitting apart of those who have become one body and one spirit. But what makes a man and woman one flesh and one spirit is not a ceremony presided over by judge or priest. It is the sincere gift of self on the part of both parties that is free, total, exclusive, permanent, and open to a further act of self-giving love called parenthood. A decree of nullity means that, after an extensive investigation by Church authorities, it has been discovered that despite the ceremony, something essential was lacking in the gift of self of one or both of the spouses and therefore the bond was not forged.

It could be that one or the other of the spouses did not intend this union to be “till death do us part,” but rather “till it becomes inconvenient.” Or it could also be because one or the other never intended to accept children lovingly from God and planned from the outset to use every means to thwart such fruitfulness. Such an arrangement is not marriage, in the biblical and Catholic meaning of the term, despite what society thinks.

But here’s another question–if we are made for love, and Adam was incomplete until he found fulfillment in marriage, then what does that say about those who never marry? Are they doomed to unhappiness and a life that is not fully human?

Far from it. The Lord Jesus was the perfect man and, Da Vinci Code fantasy aside, was never married. He poured himself out in suffering love “till death do us part.”

Many follow in his footsteps in consecrated celibacy. Others follow in his footsteps in a more hidden way, without canonical vows, but quietly and tirelessly giving of themselves to family, friends, patients, clients, and those in need who come to them.

The Beatles were right. Love is all you need. But, though God created marital intimacy and called it good, the essence of love is not romance but rather self-giving.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Building Permits for Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage

From The Volokh Conspiracy:
The Chicago Tribune reports:
[Chicago Alderman] Proco “Joe” Moreno announced this week that he will block Chick-fil-A’s effort to build its second Chicago store … following company President Dan Cathy’s remarks last week that he was “guilty as charged” for supporting the biblical definition of marriage as between a man and woman….
The alderman has the ideological support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” the mayor said in a statement when asked about Moreno’s decision. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”
Moreno is relying on a rarely violated Chicago tradition known as aldermanic privilege, which dictates that City Council members defer to the opinion of the ward alderman on local issues. Last year Moreno wielded that weapon to block plans for a Wal-Mart in his ward, saying he had issues with the property owner and that Wal-Mart was not “a perfect fit for the area.” …
The alderman, serving his first full term, dismissed any First Amendment concerns.
“You have the right to say what you want to say, but zoning is not a right,” he said, adding that he also had concerns about traffic in the area….
In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino reportedly took a similar view:
Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston … after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”
But denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation. Even when it comes to government contracting — where the government is choosing how to spend government money — the government generally may not discriminate based on the contractor’s speech, see Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996). It is even clearer that the government may not make decisions about how people will be allowed to use their own property based on the speaker’s past speech.

And this is so even if there is no statutory right to a particular kind of building permit (and I don’t know what the rule is under Illinois law). Even if the government may deny permits to people based on various reasons, it may not deny permits to people based on their exercise of his First Amendment rights. It doesn’t matter if the applicant expresses speech that doesn’t share the government officials’ values, or even the values of the majority of local citizens. It doesn’t matter if the applicant’s speech is seen as “disrespect[ful]” of certain groups. The First Amendment generally protects people’s rights to express such views without worrying that the government will deny them business permits as a result. That’s basic First Amendment law — but Alderman Moreno, Mayor Menino, and, apparently, Mayor Emanuel (if his statement is quoted in context), seem to either not know or not care about the law... (continued)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Here's How Much Money Chick-fil-A Gives To Anti-Gay Groups


From Jim Edwards at Business Insider:

Chick-fil-A gave $2 million to seven anti-gay groups in 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, according to Equality Matters' analysis of its charitable giving.

Chick-fil-A gave the Marriage & Family Foundation $1.1 million and another half million dollars went to the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes, according to the report. Here's the list:
  • Marriage & Family Foundation: $1,188,380
  • Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
  • National Christian Foundation: $247,500
  • New Mexico Christian Foundation: $54,000 
  • Exodus International: $1,000
  • Family Research Council: $1,000
  • Georgia Family Council: $2,500
Chick-fil-A made its donations through WinShape, its non-profit giving arm. You can examine the IRS 990 disclosure of WinShape here.

Among Chick-fil-A's payments was $1,000 to Exodus, a group that until recently claimed it can "cure" people of homosexuality.

The chicken chain's policies have led to protests at 10 universities from people who don't want its restaurants on their campus. Most recently it lost a bid for a vendor spot at Northeastern University. Some students at New York University want their location closed.

The company gave $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2009, also.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Patrick Madrid's Advice to Catholic Parents: Don’t Let Your Kids Date Non-Catholics

By Patrick Madrid

I know, this is hardly revolutionary or unique advice, but I was recently asked about this issue by a young Catholic man who called my “Open Line” radio show (heard every Thursday at 3:00 p.m. ET). He had been dating a devoutly Presbyterian girl, and her father didn’t like it one bit that the guy was Catholic.

I think my response to his “what do I do now?” question may have surprised him. (It apparently surprised and even dismayed a few of my listeners, judging from some of the e-mails that came in after that show.)
My basic premise, which I advert to in this audio segment is that, more often than not, mixed marriages (i.e., when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic) are a recipe for serious problems down the road in that marriage.

My advice to Catholic parents is, teach your children well the importance of finding a devoutly Catholic spouse. Eventually, if you haven’t taught them this maxim and they, as a result, do not act on it, you will very likely see problems springing up in your extended family due to your sons and daughters being, in a certain sense, unequally yoked with non-Catholics. Word to the wise.



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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mitt Romney loses temper at campaign stop in Chicago when questioned about his role in same-sex "marriage" in Mass.

From Mass Resistance:

Presidential candidate responded to embarrassing question at meeting.

On Tuesday, March 6 , Sandy Rios, talk-show host of WYLL in Chicago (AM 1160) attended a meeting with Mitt Romney, attended by about a dozen people. The meeting was very cordial and calm until she asked her question to Gov. Romney.

Sandy asked a question about Romney's actions after the same-sex "marriage" ruling by the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court (which were reported in an Associated Press article and are well documented). She asked why Romney had the marriage certificates printed up with "Partner A and Partner B" instead of "husband and wife", even though there was no mandate (from the Legislature or even the courts) for him to take that action.
Romney got angry and tried to deny it.
Hear the audio broadcast from WYLL radio in Chicago, March 9, as Sandy Rios explains what happened.
Read the Associated Press report from April 25, 2004, which describes what the Romney Administration did.
As Sandy Rios recounted the incident to MassResistance:
Simply put, the exchange went like this:

“Governor Romney, you just mentioned the detrimental effects of children being raised by same-sex partners…no one at this table knows better than you or the people of Massachusetts the effects of legalizing homosexual marriage on children.  You are familiar, sir, with the issue of David Parker, whose appeal was defeated just last week.  The courts declared that parents have no right to have any say in the content of public school curriculum or to opt their children out of its teaching.  Consequently, children as young as kindergarten are being exposed to graphic homosexual information and lifestyles.
"Many people who oppose this in Massachusetts thought you were their champion. They were extremely disappointed when you ordered city officials to begin performing same-sex ceremonies and that marriage certificates be reworded to state “partners” rather than “husband” and “wife” before it was ever passed into by law as mandated to the legislative branch, not the executive, by the Supreme Judicial Court. In all due respect, sir, why did you do that?”

At that point Romney lost his temper. He said it wasn’t true and in so many words that I was lying. He asked if I was an attorney and I said “no, sir, I am not.” “I am a graduate of Harvard Law School.” He stated. One of the men in the room remarked “maybe that’s the problem.” He continued coming after me…would not stop when interrupted by an aid. His last words were “what candidate is a champion of marriage more than I?”

The meeting prior to that had been extremely cordial…the questions about matters of taxation and business and healthcare. He was completely surprised by my challenge and his response was troubling to many of us.

Another sad chapter in this sad story of Gov. Romney trying to run away from his past actions..

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Monday, January 9, 2012

"What will happen to Catholics and others . . . ?"

By Robert George

(Mirror of Justice) One of my superstar former students, writing about his experience at one of our nation's premier law schools, sent me a note after reading my MOJ post on marriage, religious liberty, and the "grand bargain."  Here is the text, with names removed to protect the innocent:

I had a first-hand experience with this reality in law school. One of my constitutional law professors taught the section of our course relating to same-sex marriage under the "inevitability" banner. I met with him in office hours later to talk to him about something else, but I brought up a question that I have been wrestling with: if the SSM advocates are right and opposition to SSM becomes analogous to racism in our society, what will happen to Catholics and others whose views on SSM cannot and will not change? Are they to be excluded from public office, political and judicial appointments, or places of trust and responsibility within private institutions (e.g., law firm partnerships)? I posed the question to him because I was curious to hear his response, since he is generally a kind and reasonable person who seemed open to other viewpoints.

His response was very disappointing, and it shook my confidence in him. He responded to me by saying something along the lines of: "Well, they [Catholics and others] will either have to change their views or be treated in the same way that white supremacists and the segregationist Senators were treated. They were excluded from the judiciary entirely for decades because of the South's views on race."

He evinced no sympathy for the traditional marriage position or those who hold it. They were to be relegated to the ash heap of history. He said all of this to me knowing full well (because I had foolishly just told him) that I was a Catholic who opposed SSM.


Is anyone prepared to say that the view expressed by the professor is merely a fringe opinion in the contemporary academy?  Is anyone prepared to say that it is the view of only a small minority, or a minority at all, in what University of Virginia sociologist Jonathan Haidt calls the liberal tribal-moral community of contemporary academia?.... (continued)