12.9.15

"Führerprinzip - senior Vatican officials have voiced discontent with the recent change in Church law on annulments, and an absence of consultation over the matter"

Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, 11/09/2015:
"Reports have emerged that a seven-page dossier, obtained by the German newspaper Die Zeit, is circulating around the curia in which senior Vatican officials have voiced discontent with the recent change in Church law on annulments, and an absence of consultation over the matter.

On Tuesday, the Pope made sweeping reforms to make the process of obtaining a declaration of nullity simpler, quicker and cheaper.

According to Die Zeit, the officials juridically “picked apart” the Pope’s motu proprio (papal decree) on annulment reform, accuse the Holy Father of giving up an important dogma, and assert that he has introduced de facto “Catholic divorce”.

Further concerns mentioned in the document are that, despite the gravity of the issue, no dicasteries, including apparently the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as bishops conferences, were consulted about the decision — a claim the Register has had confirmed by numerous sources. The dossier says usual legislative channels have been "undermined" as "none of the planned steps of a legislative procedure have been followed."

Critics say this goes against the Pope's calls for synodality and collegiality, and resembles an ecclesialized "Führerprinzip", ruling from the top down, by decree and without any consultation or any checks.

Instead, the papal commission that drafted the motu proprio had been ordered to keep silent throughout the drafting process, probably to avoid the reforms being thwarted by the CDF and others in the curia. But the report also alleges that even the commission did not see the final draft, and that an Italian cardinal along with two others "fiercely" tried to prevent the motu proprio being published before the synod but without success.

The Register has learned via other sources that this decision and others are effectively isolating the CDF and that the Pope is steadily making their work superfluous.

The report also voices concern that the motu proprio will lead to a flood of annulments and that from now on, couples would be able to simply exit their Catholic marriage without a problem.

“A number of monsignors who are officially in charge of directing the affairs of the Church at large, are beside themselves" and feel obligated to "speak up", according to Die Zeit. They are also concerned about the "extremely vague" language used in the motu proprio, especially the reasons for a speedy trial, such as “lack of faith” or other motives that are not clearly defined.

Although the need to streamline the annulments process gained a two-thirds consensus at last year’s synod, the report also points out that synod fathers loudly protested against the idea of a speedy process for determining the nullity of a marriage under the supervision of the local bishop. Now it is Church law, even before the synod could discuss it.

We hope to look into these claims in more detail in the near future..."

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