Alas, I could not remember it--it had something to do with....hmmm....I forget. But I did managed to reset the password thanks to upgrades by Google. And here I am.
I know that no one is reading, but I do find it useful to write from time to time, even to an imaginary audience, just to get a thought processed and out of my mind. And so, this has been on my mind due to local circumstances.
In order to validly marry, in ordinary circumstances, a Catholic but have vows witnessed by a priest who's been granted faculties by the local ordinary, the bishop.
No ordinary faculties, no marriage? Or so they say? That's the biggest issue I hear with those challenging marriages witnessed by independent or other non-canonically-deputized, non-chancery-stamped priests in reliance on ecclesia supplet in the current crisis of the Church?
But let's look at the other side. Can you say the converse: "ordinary faculties=valid marriage?"
Of course not.
One must ask if priests who do have regular faculties are capable of witnessing a valid marriage in any case. What are the odds that YOUR marriage will be upheld if put before a tribunal?
Let's see the annulment scores for Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, for a period even before Papa Jorge "improved" the annulment process:
- For 2011: 198 marriages annulled, 4 upheld: a 2% validity rate.
- For 2012: 193 marriages annulled, 3 upheld, a 2% validity rate.
- For 2013: 225 marriages annulled, 7 upheld, a 3% validity rate.
- For 2014: 186 marriages annulled, 0 upheld, a 0% validity rate.
Yet, old Archbishop Joe and his Kansas tribunal have found more valid marriages than Bishops Finn and Johnston in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on the Missouri side:
- For 2011: 107 marriages annulled, 0 upheld: a 0% validity rate.
- For 2012: 68 marriages annulled, 0 upheld: a 0% validity rate.
- For 2013: 77 marriages annulled, 0 upheld, a 0% validity rate.
- For 2014: 72 marriages annulled, 0 upheld, a 0% validity rate.
Kudos to http://marysadvocates.org/ for making at least some of the data available. It would be nice to have more recent stats (after implementation of the Bergoglian..cough...reforms). But if publication of those stats isn't now discontinued, they are only available by feeding the beast...i.e., by putting money into the hands of the Canon Law Society of America for a copy of their proceedings.
So yes, I'm aware that some of those annulments in the two Kansas City dioceses are probably for marriages contracted in other dioceses, but really, the vast majority must be local. I'm also aware that "happy" marriages don't come before the tribunal, so the odds may perhaps be somewhat in favor of a finding of nullity. It's not an unfiltered sample. And finally, if someone with an obvious "loser" case comes up against an honest priest, they'll probably be told "don't bother filing...either honestly embrace celibacy or honestly embrace sin."
Did I just say "Perhaps somewhat it favor of a finding of nullity?" Perhaps it wouldn't surprise me if 50%, or 60%, or...heck...even 70% of annulment cases were justified. Alas, that's the case in some dioceses...let's see...Mobile AL, Nashville TN, Phoenix AZ, Paterson NJ.
But 100% annulments, or darned near it, YEAR after YEAR? If that ain't a sham, I don't know what is. How on earth can someone in good conscience feel free to marry based on the finding of such kangaroo courts?
Well, I guess, conscience is the key for those participating in the scam. Such is our age of malformed conscience.
But those who do engage in the sham....they've chosen to. What about the rest of us?
- Given that annulments are about as hard to get as chigger bites on a Kansas summer evening, how does someone of genuine faith and a well-formed conscience--someone who DOES have a legitimate basis for an annulment--proceed through the kangaroo courts and look to their judgment with moral certainty? The illegitimate use of the tribunal sullies the legitimate use as well. I'm guilty of this myself--when I hear someone is "re"married after an annulment, my presumption is one of doubt. Not [always] doubt of the individual's good faith, but doubt about the process. I know that's not fair to the individual. But it can't be helped.
- How does someone of genuine faith and a well-formed conscience who thinks he IS validly married know that is in fact the case? It seems that even before Papa Jorge's relaxation of the supposedly difficult (cough) process, getting an annulment was an annoyance but a fait accompli around here. Doesn't the record cast a shadow of moral doubt over all our marriages? Are we all living in sin?
Just reflecting and wondering. And I'm well aware of the logical gaps in this thinking, which is why I pose these as questions rather than answers.