Rocco whispered that something big is afoot in Rome and tomorrow at local noon there a presser will trot out two new documents that address the Catholic situation of declarations of nullity. And presumably, related issues.
While the conservative side of the Church is leaking like a sieve these days, this initiative has been fairly well kept under wraps. I suppose people would think the synod would address these issues. And no doubt, the rigorists on the front porch will lament that this pope does things other popes did. Only without their consent or complaint.
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.
I still don’t get the “fear” about showing mercy to divorced and remarried Catholics. Canon Law has stood common sense on its head in particular ways when it is easier to forgive the murder of an undesired spouse than it is to marry a second without going through the motions.
Murderers are not automatically excommunicated, even when it is done en masse through warfare, terrorism, or corporate corruption. Killing people seems a lot more scary than, say, an abandoned spouse getting a second opportunity for the blessed life of marriage and family.
Catholic doctrine on murder doesn’t change when killers are forgiven, or even released from prison. To the casual Catholic eye, murder is forever. When it’s personal, it is never forgotten, and forgiven only through grace, cooperation, or personal heroism. Why don’t we demand victims be resuscitated before pardoning a murderer? That’s how most people see the justice of things.
How people see things, however their sense of fairness has developed–for good or for ill–is the basis on which they will see the Church and its actions. Such actions may be perceived at odds with the world’s view. Some might view them as contrary to Christ and to the Gospel. These views may be clouded. Or they might be more clear than what the law provides. It will be interesting to see what the rollout of tomorrow’s legislation will reveal.