Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pope warns lawyers and tribunals against "adapting truth" when it comes to annulments (series)

Under Roman Catholic canon law, a marriage can be declared null and void for a variety of reasons, including impotence, a previous marriage, or a lack of psychological maturity at the time of the union.

In short, if there is no physical reason to declare the marriage null and void—they can come up with a mental one.

Of course, the pope tells the tribunal, in no uncertain terms, that they cannot do this, they cannot make a mockery of the truth in order to get an annulment for the man or woman who wants it. Nevertheless, he's obviously fighting an up hill battle. Local tribunals grant annulments in 97 percent of the cases in the United States.

In a recent meeting with the Roman Rota, the pope indicated he had more than a passing feeling this high number of annulments had a lot to do with false pastoral claims. In other words, pastors, that is priests, willing to lie or stretch the truth in the name of "charity."

“It is necessary to take account of the tendency - widespread and well-rooted though not always obvious - to contrast justice with charity, almost as if the one excluded the other,” said the Pope.

"Some people maintain that pastoral charity justifies any measures taken towards the declaration of nullity of the marriage bond. ... Truth itself ... would thus tend to be seen in a functional perspective, adapting itself to the different requirements that arise in each case.”

In other words “adapting truth” to get what the “plaintiff” wants is not supposed to be an option, according to the pope, and it cannot be if tribunal members are to exercise the justice that is their essential work—no matter how easy it is to give someone what they want instead of what is right.

As the pope puts it, this latter virtue (justice) “becomes more important when injustice seems the easiest path to follow, in as much as it involves giving in to the desires and expectations of the parties involved, or to the conditioning of the social environment.”

More in the next blog…

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pope fights easy “Catholic divorces” --annulments (series)

97 percent of U.S. annulments are granted--about 60,000 a year--accounting for 60 percent of all annulments worldwide

What a wonderful coincidence, or was it a coincidence?! Just a few weeks ago, the pope decided to offer some very specific directives to avoid the rampant problem of the unfair granting of annulments by local boards known as tribunals (I'll start to review some of the pope’s words, after some brief comments).

My wife is seeking such an annulment of our marriage, asking a tribunal to declare our 19-year marriage null and void—as if it never existed. I have repeatedly asked her, to no avail, to consider reconciliation.

Some may believe that the pope and I disagree on everything--no, no. Just a few very important things. But this is not one of them. I'm all for the pope’s stand against easy annulments.

Annulments come real easy in the U.S. with more than 97 percent of the annulments in the U.S. (about 60,000 annually) being granted. The U.S. accounts for 60 percent of all annulments worldwide (about 100,000 annually)! In other words, the local tribunals hand them out like candy--that's why they're often called "Catholic divorces"

On the other hand, while they won't "publicly" disagree with their pope, I'm pretty sure most of his instructions will be ignored by his fellow Roman Catholics on the tribunal in Tulsa and they'll give my wife an annulment anyway, so she can continue in her sin--foolin' around with other guys.

Nevertheless, it is good to know the pope has identified and is hoping to correct some very specific problems--and he may have had the Tulsa bunch in mind, when he spoke to the highest tribunal on marriage--the Roman Rota.

For the next few blogs, we’ll look at what the pope says, so we can compare it to the decision of the Tulsa tribunal when it happens.

According to the pope, priests and tribunals who think they can justify what they want by insisting it’s "the charitable thing to do" are mistaken, they can’t bend the truth in the name of charity:

"Some people maintain that pastoral charity justifies any measures taken towards the declaration of nullity of the marriage bond. ... Truth itself ... would thus tend to be seen in a functional perspective, adapting itself to the different requirements that arise in each case".

More on the next blog…

Monday, February 22, 2010

We interupt the intended post for a message from God...(series)

This just happened to be in today's reading in the Book of Common Prayer, accident?

Jeremiah 3:19

Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord. A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God. Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quoth the raven: "Nevermore" A Look at Catholic divorces "annulments" (series)

She told me in no uncertain terms that she divorced me because she was a feminist who did not believe that the man should be the head of the household. My eldest son heard the whole thing. She told me that she would never return to me because she wanted to do what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it and that that was her God-given right as a woman.

I remember asking her when she ever didn't get her way while we were married for those 19 years? She didn't have an answer. She did remind me that soon after she filed for divorce, I had given her a tape from an evangelist who had several scripture verses against divorce--she reminded me that she still didn't believe those verses were correct. Which verses? Oh, no big deal, just statements from Christ himself like:

He (Jesus) said to them, "whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." (Mark 1:11-12)

That's pretty clear, don't you think. She doesn't believe what Christ says? Does she believe in Christ anymore?

Of course, "doing what she wants to do" these days includes dating and I'm the only one to tell her that the church, her church has a problem with her dating anyone until she gets an annulment. And to think, I'm not even Roman Catholic any more.

By the way, where's all her Roman Catholic friends who are supposed to be helping keep her on the straight and narrow away from wolves--both the married and non-married kind? More on that down the road.

In addition, while she certainly made the decision to divorce me nine years ago, how much was she influenced to do so by the type of brain-altering medication she was on? The type she's still on. Will she ever be her "old" self again? She certainly doesn't seem to want to be. But who would if you knew that in order to return your ability to have emotions again, you had to endure horrible withdrawal pains that she and thousands of others were never warned about when they were put on the medication?

There is help--Harvard specialist Joseph Glenmullen has a step by step procedure that smart physicians could follow to help their patients get off this medication and get a new start. I tried to give her Glenmullen's latest book--she gave it back immediately. She loves her "emotionally blunted" life and doesn't want Joe or me messing it up.

In the meantime, there’s thousand of couples out there who will tell you that drugs like she is taking helps ruin marriages (see the forum item about marriages ruined—most of them tell stories identical to me and my wife).

The drug companies are ignoring these stories because they don’t want lawsuits. The serotonin gets flowing in the brain at abnormal levels, the woman or man suddenly “falls out of love” with their spouse, gets a quick divorce and starts seeking others. Sadly those on the drug often find that when they get off of it their feelings for their original spouse return…but by then it is often too late the other spouse has “moved on.”

I have repeatedly asked my wife to consider reconciliation and/or counseling with me, write me, e-mail me, join me for lunch or talk on the phone. She has refused every offer. (Instead, a "Catholic divorce" or "annulment" is on the way.)

The same is true for my attempt to get her help for her medication. I certainly believe her actions back then were tied to this medication that continues to manipulate her. If she is the least bit late in taking it day to day, she gets horrible headaches and various other side effects. She's completely under its control. Well, she can’t say I didn’t try to help.

More to come...